Von Urban's "Sex, Perfection and Marital Happiness"

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"A Taste of Heaven"

onenessThis case history is excerpted from an old book entitled, Sex Perfection and Marital Happiness.[1] It was one of a series of patient experiences that convinced Freudian psychiatrist Rudolf Von Urban, MD that orgasm is not essential to sex happiness, and that the exchange of bio-electricity is more important. This case begins with the story of a woman who had been terrorized as a twelve-year old by her stepfather’s rape attempt. As a result, Mary was extremely frightened of contact with men. In her mid-twenties, a young doctor fell in love with her. Fred promised that if she would marry him, he would not try to make love with her. Here the excerpt begins:

After six weeks of unconsummated marriage Mary's love for Fred was no less passionate than his for her. It was then that they spent their first night together in one bed, naked body to naked body. Fred's was a superhuman task. … The best way to do this, he found, was to concentrate all his thoughts and feelings, all his awareness, on those parts of his body which touched Mary. They lay close together, entirely relaxed, delighting in this bodily contact. And then, after about half an hour, Fred told me, something indescribable began to flow in them, making them feel that every single cell of their skin was alive and joyful. This produced in Fred rapture and delight such as he had never before experienced. (This delight was reduced if both had not taken a bath before lying down together.) And Mary, he said, felt the same. He had the impression that all these million sources of delight merged into one and streamed to the skin of those parts of his body which were in contact with Mary. His body seemed to dissolve; space and time dropped away; and all thoughts disappeared, so consumed was he by a voluptuous rapture which he could find no words to describe. Mary's words for it were "superhuman," "divine." They both, he said, lost at that moment all fear of death. lovers cameoThis, they felt, must be a prevision of the afterlife; they were already on the bridge between the material world and the spiritual universe. They had tasted heaven. This ecstatic experience endured throughout the night. But, after seven hours, a feeling of suffocation set in. They had to separate immediately. If they attempted to ignore this feeling, they became antagonistic to each other. But if they took a shower, or a rubdown with a wet towel, they could go back to bed and re-enter their state of superhuman bliss without difficulty. …The next day they were both extremely happy and relaxed, full of life and energy, strangers to all forms of anxiety, pettiness or anger. In comparing the kind of satisfaction he had previously known in normal intercourse, with this new rapture experienced with Mary, Fred said that the difference was that between earthly and celestial love. Compared with the continuous, lasting and superhuman happiness induced by his new experience, the temporary delight, during spontaneous ejaculation, was hardly worth mentioning. Ten years passed. Mary changed from a self-centered, anti-social, cold-hearted girl to a woman, warm, thoughtful and kind. They were both as deeply devoted to each other as they had been at the beginning. That was the story of Mary and Fred: fantastic, but I have no reason to doubt a word of it. I have passed on to other couples what I learned from this one; and, when all the conditions have been fulfilled, the results have been the same. It is this body of experience which has convinced me that Platonic love is, more probably, something of this kind than a purely spiritual relationship, or even Karezza. The words in The Symposium seem to indicate that the "something they know not what," which the lovers are longing to obtain from each other, is that cover of French editionexchange of bioelectrical streams which enables their bodies to become entirely relaxed. That means that their sublime feeling is induced, to use prosaic words, by nothing other than their full liberation from tension. The more a person can relax another from the tension induced in him by his bio-electrical streams, the more is that person desired by the other and the more passionate is their mutual love. When I studied Indian philosophy I was never able to understand why Nirvana is regarded by the Hindu as so desirable. How can a state of Nothingness be the aim of Life? But the experience of Fred and Mary led me to see that the cessation of bodily tension can be so supreme an experience that no other pleasure on earth can be compared with it. That means that when the tension in our body ceases, we reach a state of relaxation so absolute that it is as if we were bodiless. This form of "nothingness" may easily seem akin to that happiness which Easterners call Nirvana. Since then a new chapter has been added to the story of Mary and Fred. Mary's maternal instinct awoke. She was now thirty-seven years old and had been married for fourteen years. …Then, for the first time in her life, Mary had normal intercourse with Fred. It was some time before they could learn to direct their streams to their sex organs. But, even though Fred at last secured a normal reaction, his potency was still weak and did not last long enough to bring Mary to full satisfaction. Deeply disappointed they wanted to return to the beautiful sex life they had enjoyed before. They tried, but could not. The gate to that paradise was closed. The delivered streams in their bodies now flowed automatically to the sex organs, instead of directly to each other. No amount of will power could stop them. Thus they repeated the story of Adam and Eve and their lost Paradise. When we read the third chapter of Genesis with this in mind, we find surprising, symbolical meanings....

Nevertheless, Dr. Von Urban continued to believe that progeny are a vital part of a couple's happiness (as he mentions elsewhere in his book). His case study, however, suggests that Mary and Fred would have been happier remaining in "Paradise." Compare their experience with this passage from a fascinating old esoteric book, Thinking and Destiny:[2]

Michelangelo's The FallThe story of original sin is not without basis; it is a fable which conceals some true traditions. One of these has to do with the procreation of the bodies of human beings....The naive story covers a history of disquieting results. The use of the procreative power was the "original sin." The result following the procreative act was to give to the human race the tendency to unlawful procreation; and this tendency was one of the means of bringing on ignorance and death in the world. The penalty of the original sin of [humans] is that they are now dominated by that which they originally refused to govern [the sexual urge]. When they could govern they would not; now that they would govern, they cannot. One proof of that ancient sin is present with every human in the sorrow that follows an act of mad desire which, even against his reason, he is driven to commit.... The origin of the story of original sin was when [man, as originally created] in his perfect body was in the Realm of Permanence. There, in the trial test for bringing its [male and female] into balanced union, it failed. Therefore it came into this world of birth and death, and it periodically re-exists in a man body or in a woman body.

Percival goes on to explain that before this fall into matter,

there were two bodies connected with each other by a magnetic tie, which served as a bridge connecting the two bodies. magnetic tieThe desire in the man body and the feeling in the woman body did not at first think and act as two, as being different and separated from each other. Each saw itself in the other, as though in a looking glass. They felt and acted as one, just as there is reciprocal action in one’s hands in whatever one does....By [exploiting sexual desire for their individual ends, however,] they severed the magnetic tie.

Apparently, Mary and Fred were able to re-establish this magnetic tie...until they broke it again.


  1. Sex, Perfection and Marital Happiness, by Rudolph Von Urban, MD, The Dial Press, NY (1949).
  2. Thinking and Destiny, by Harold Waldwin Percival, The Word Foundation, Inc. (1974 reprint), pp.59-60, p. 386.

Link to more excerpts from another Von Urban book Beyond Human Knowledge: A Consideration of the Unexplained in Man and Nature