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October 1960

Phantom Orgasm in the Dreams of Paraplegic Men and Women

Author Affiliations

From The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(4):373-382. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710040043007

Introduction  Accidental experiments of sexual pathology assume special importance in analysis of the variables of human eroticism because, on ethical grounds, these variables cannot be freely manipulated in laboratory experiments. Paraplegia and its more extreme form, quadriplegia, are one example of an accidental sexual experiment.In the paraplegic patient genitopelvic and cerebrocognitional eroticism function independently of one another. Their independence is brought about by injury to the spinal cord, whereby the nerve fibers of the cord are completely severed. Descending messages from the brain are blocked at the point of injury, as are ascending messages to the brain traveling from bodily organs and up the cord to the point of injury.The lower half of the paraplegic body is totally paralyzed and anesthetic. In quadriplegia, the arms and shoulders are affected also, more or less severely, dependent on the height of the spinal lesion. Ordinary

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