The Gnostic Church of L.V.X.

Selected Studies in Human Sexuality

Compiled from the research of Havelock Ellis
With limited comments on the Magickal Process

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


This work is a collection of collated notes taken from Havelock Ellis' Studies in the Psychology of Sex; a multi-volume set that is quite rare and difficult to obtain. I am fortunate to have found a copy at considerable expense. I was led to this purchase by the writings of Kenneth Grant who used it to validate some of his ideas; which in checking, I found to be validated. Further, there are a few limited comments that I've appended in parenthesis. But for the most part, these notes have simply been rearranged and reworded with a few direct quotes denoted in various places.

The significance of this work can be seen clearly in the study of the formula of ON in Thelemic Magick as well as in the development of the ideas of Dion Fortune's 'sexual polarity' ideas. And of course, it was from her ideas that Mr. Grant would develop his own expurgation of Thelemic Magick; supported by the scientific research of Dr. Ellis. So this article serves as a suitable supplement to my article 'Sexual Polarity' and it is hoped that it sheds more light on the subject for the serious student.

The Errogenic Zones

An erogenous zone is a region of skin or mucous membrane that evokes a pleasurably voluptuous and sensuous feeling of a special quality. These are the surrogates of the genital organs and play an important part in the art of love. They include the dermo-mucous covering of external genital organs, the mucous surface of the mouth and womb, the inner side of thighs and the inguino-crural & ilio-inguinal regions; especially the nipple. Others less constant are the anterior of the cervical region and the sides of the neck and the inner palmer region.

These centers when subjected to light and rapid excitations produce sensations and reflexes that bear on the nervous system rendering the genital function as to respond in an obligatory and instinctive manner. A woman in a hyper-aesthetic state can attain orgasm with even just a breath on the palm This state is attained by inducing the woman into a total somnambulistic mode of consciousness and then evoked by a person of the opposite sex or transferred by a magnet. (This seems due to the 'passive' nature of woman in sexual function and the generally accepted idea in the magickal community that her gender is superior in attaining such a state of consciousness. Cf. the astral records of the woman of the original Golden Dawn.)

Eight erogenous zones are separated into two sets of four. The first has hair and appeal to the sense of smell. These are the head, chin, armpits and pubes. The second have mucous surfaces. These are the mouth, nipples, genitals and anus. Secondary erogenous zones include the palm of the hand, sole of the foot, finger-tips, toes, knees, elbows, ears and sacral region.

Periodicity in the Sexual Cycle

Sexual functions are periodic. Rhythm is the perceptual alternation of expansion and contraction and is a quality of all biological and psychic activity. Menstruation operates in a continuous physiological wave in constant flux or reflux and has always been associated with lunar revolutions as the moon's changes are the most conspicuous and startling phenomena of nature. This cycle manifests in all of a woman's activities: metabolism, respiration, temperature and nervous & psychic tides.

Mittelschmerz being a condition of pain occurring about the middle of the inter-menstrual period that may be accompanied by a sanguineous discharge that can last for two to three days, is the usually latent tendency in some women for the 28-day (approx.) menstrual cycle to split further into two cycles with a latent climax occurring in the middle of the monthly cycle. The healthier woman is less conscious of her cyclic return. But the cycle may still be traced. And it represents in some women, the climax of sexual feeling and desire.

Men also present various signs of a menstrual cycle of 28 days in heir physiognomy. One of these signs is a monthly increase in body weight to the amount of one or two pounds followed by a critical discharge of urine and preceded by feelings of heaviness and lassitude; malaise and temper. Also, at this time, the complexion becomes dull, the breath stronger, digestion more laborious and ideas are formed with more difficulty. Monthly discharges of blood may also issue form the genitals or anus. And there are also heightened sexual feelings for the male, which may also fall into a fortnightly rhythm with even the possibility of a weekly rhythm. And for the male, this seems directly affected by the phases of the moon.

(It is interesting to note that as the g-force of the moon directly affects the water of the earth, so also it directly affects the water of the body; especially the blood into which endocrinal secretions are spilled.)

Thus because this cycle exists in both men and women, we have a general law of vital energy. And in society at large, the sexual instinct generally increases in a bi-annual rhythm consisting of spring/early summer and autumn (August through October). These may be connected to the strain of early heat and early cold on the system; constituting a manifestation of physiological disturbance that resembles and parallels the atmospheric tension which causes the storms and winds that occur during the earth's autumnal and vernal phases in its own annual rhythm. Ultimately, we have a physiological response to cosmic influences. But in general, the annual curve brings the sexual impulse to a maximum in June and a minimum in December.

In the male, the nervous elements in the process tend to become most conspicuous and can over-ride the periodic cycle and its more primitive limitations. (This seems similar to the way that the menstrual process seems to over-ride the direct lunar periodicity in the woman's cycle.)

The Glandular Functions

"The chief parts in the drama of sex, alike on its psychic as on its physical sides, are thus supposed to be played by two mysterious protagonists, the hormones, or internal secretions, of the testes and of the ovary. Even the part played by the brain is now often regarded as chemical, the brain being considered to be the great chemical laboratory. There is a tendency, moreover, to extend the sexual sphere so as to admit the influence of internal secretions from other glands. The thymus, the adrenals, the thyroid, the pituitary, even the kidneys: it is possible that internal secretions from all these glands may combine to fill in the complete picture of sexuality in men and woman."

The germ cell of the female does not affect her psychology (cf. formula of ON). But both the sperm cell and the seminal fluid directly and indirectly relate to psychic phenomena (as per the 'bud-will' in the formula of ON). The sperm cell is formed in the glandular tissue of the testes, but the seminal fluid is formed from these same tissues in combination with the various glands that open into the urethra and the prostate; a purely sexual gland. The prostate secretions are responsible for the odor of the semen. It's fluid functions to arouse and maintain motility in the spermatozoa as it furnishes a thinner medium by which these cells can attain to their fullest vitality.

The ingestion of semen possesses valuable stimulant qualities and medical properties as well as functioning as a physiological aphrodisiac–a type of drug that has been cultivated in all parts of the world throughout human history. The ejaculated semen itself contains various substances, which may be separated from it, and possesses various qualities. "When held for some time in the mouth, it produces a warmth similar to spices which lasts for some time."

As a stimulant, semen affects woman both by way of fellatio and through absorption into the vagina by normal sexual congress. Semen and testicular extracts; especially spermin, can directly treat states of debility and senility; it directly affects metabolic processes–giving tone to the heart and other muscles and improving the metabolism of the tissues. The glandular secretions, when administered as drugs to other people are clearly quite valuable. But when naturally secreted into the bloodstream, are of immense importance in the development of the organism. It can stimulate and maintain the physical and mental character of the individual. The semen maintains the manhood of the male as the ova does the femininity of the woman.

The ovarian extract ovarin, can be used to treat anemia and troubles due to artificial menopause. It is possible that after menopause, an infinitesimal trace of ovarine may exist in order to preserve a woman's femininity; just not enough to produce ovulation and menstruation.

Secretions of the Genital Canal & Outlet in Woman

  1. Odoriferous glands of sebaceous origin and with them the prepuce of the clitoris–a sort of grand sebaceous follicle.
  2. The glands of Bartholin (involved in the ambrosia)
  3. Vaginal–which is opaque and albuminous and appears alkaline when secreted but becomes acidic under the decomposing influence of bacteria
  4. Mucous uttering secretion which is alkaline and being poured out during orgasm is believed to protect the sperm from the destruction of the now acidic vaginal secretion.

Technical Terms and Functions

Tumesence is a vascular congestion in the sexual organs that is an essential preliminary to sexual desire. In the woman, this may also be known as the pro-estrum or preliminary period of congestion with estrus being the period of desire. Estrus is the result of pro-estrum and occurs in conjunction with certain changes in the uterine tissue caused by detumescence and its stimulation or irritation of the genitals. Pro-estrum is indicated by a swollen and congested vulva and a general restlessness or uneasiness. Estrus is possible only after the changes due to pro-estrum have been gone through in that organ, and the excitement in there subsiding. The external organs gain a renewed stimulus when estrus takes place.

The impulse of detumescence is that by which the tension of the sexual organs is spasmodically relieved.

The impulse of contrectation is the instinct to approach, touch, and kiss another person, usually of the opposite sex and is secondary to detumescence as the latter is directly traced back to the sexual glands. The former is connected with the rest of the sexual method of reproduction and the desire to procreate, which is a psychic development that occurs later in the maturation of the individual.

"Contrectation is indeed highly important, but it is important only in so far as it aids tumescence, and so may be subordinated to tumescence, exactly as it may be subordinated to detumescence. It is tumescence, which is the only essential part of the process."

Tumescence needs to be developed by the most elaborate and prolonged process as it is not normally constant. The most usual method is in some form of dance as the muscular movement of which dance is the highest and most complete expression, is a potent method of auto-intoxication. This form of violent exercise can result in an intoxication that resembles insanity. It's visible physical effects are heightened color, bright eyes, resolute air and walk that can lead us into a self-created dream world. It is thus, a powerful narcotic as well as a powerful stimulant.

Principal Stimuli

The bodily function of the gradual filling of the bladder, which precedes its evacuation, is analogous to the spontaneous, internal changes that lead to tumescence. External and internal or imaginative stimuli act at every stage, arousing or heightening the process of tumescence. These stimuli come through the four senses of touch, smell, hearing and sight. Touch is the most primitive and strongest but usually the last to enter into the process. Smell is of less importance, as it is less intimate and final than touch. Sight occupies an intermediate position but is the most important in human sexuality. Hearing is the most remote of these four senses but can be the first to make its influence felt.


Touch is the mother of all senses as it is the most diffused and fundamental amongst the four senses being considered as the other senses are derivative in nature. There is no complexity in it function because of it specialization of the various skin regions into distinct organs. The skin itself is tremendously resilient and impervious to moisture and drought, cold and heat, electrical chances, hostile bacteria, poisons and gases. "It is furthermore a kind of 'skin-heart', promoting the circulation by its own energy; it is the great heat-regulating organ of the body; it is an excretory organ only second to the kidneys, which descend from it, and finally it sill remains the seat of touch."

The skin is the most reliable source of our knowledge of the external world and an energy field that seems to affect psychic behavior. Touch sensations are the first of all sensory impression. A pleasurable sensitivity is a factor in a child's response to pressing the lips against the maternal nipple. Such sensations are not limited to evoking specifically sexual responses, though they provide the tactile basis on which sexual responses are aroused and developed. The tonic effect evoked by touching the skin by caressing it is an indication of the psychology of the caress. It is always the most sensitive parts of the body, which we seek to give or receive caresses. The kiss is engaged to provoke feelings more than it is an expression of feeling.

Massage practices are the chief stimulants in the resting of painful sensations. It provides both health in relaxing the nervous system and pleasure. The skin is the least aesthetic and intellectual of the senses. It's wide diffusion extended over the entire body, causes a massive vagueness due to the imprecise message it sends to the brain. Yet, it is really the most emotional of the senses. Tenderness (a milder degree of itching) is the alpha of affection between the sexes. And the Omega is in the sophisticated and exquisite combinations of tactile sensations found in the sexual embrace. The orgasm itself is founded upon a special sequence and intensification of tactile sensation.

Tickling is a mechanical development and autonomic process in the direction of the complex functioning of the skin that is a function of the higher psychic centers. It reaches the oldest most primitive layer of the psychic life of the soul. Laughter is its detumescence. Tickling sensations cause the body to curl up into the fetal position. Yet it is the most intellectual to the varieties of the sense of touch. This is indicated by the fact that one can not tickle oneself. This also comes out in the laughter caused by the gags of a comedian.

There are certain secondary sexual centers of the skin which involve the orifices of the body where the skin merges into mucous membrane and tactile sensibility becomes highly refined. These centers can produce a minimal or maximum degree of sexual excitation when touched by a member of the opposite sex. They invoke the same central sexual reflex in the nervous system as the primary sexual centers. Cunnilingus and fellatio are more than purely tactile activities as they involve other physical and psychic elements. Yet they are common incidents in the process of tumescence as they operate on the primary sexual centers. The kiss is secondary to cunnilingus and fellatio.

The nipple is an erectile organ with nerves and blood vessels which, when stimulated, becomes firm and protrudes as a result of muscular contraction. However, unlike the penis and clitoris, it has no erectile tissue and little capacity for vascular engorgement.


The body odors that develop at puberty are maintained through middle age and diminish in old age. The development of the olfactory organ (nose) and the sexual organs seems to work in association. It looks like there is a reflexive connection between them. Therefore, personal odor tends to play a large role in sexual attraction and repulsion. Specific odors of the sexual region have come to antipathy unless some degree of tumescence has been aroused. These odors no longer give us intellectual information about each other. However, they still have some appeal on an intimate, emotional and imaginative plane. Yet again, any appeal here is only after some degree of tumescence is already accomplished.

Aroma is a physical and chemical attribute of molecules that generate a vibratory frequency. Various aromas are typified as follows:

  1. Ethereal
  2. Aromatic
  3. Balsamic
  4. Ambrosiacal
  5. Alliaceous
  6. Empyreumatic
  7. Valerianaceous
  8. Narcotic
  9. Stenches

Olfactory images have the vagueness of touch and the richness of taste. The sensations created by this sense are of little practical use but as they mix with life's experiences; making them more precise than touch sensations as they attach themselves with emotional significance. Their anatomical seat is in the most ancient part of the brain. No other sense has so strong a power of suggestion and to call up ancient memories. No other sense can so easily change emotional color and tone with such a deep reverberation. Odors are powerful stimulants affecting the entire nervous system They can stimulate digestion and circulation along with the vasomotor system. They can cause an increase of blood in the brain and the heart and stimulate the whole system to greater activity; increasing visual acuity and generally heighten electrical excitability.

The body gives off several odors as follows and in combination:

  1. Skin odor – faint but generally agreeable and most easily detected immediately after washing
  2. Hair and scalp
  3. Breath
  4. Armpit
  5. Feet
  6. Perineal odor
  7. In men: preputial smegma
  8. In women: mons veneris, vulvar smegma, vaginal mucous and menstrual odor.

There are also special odors of the various secretions and excretions. There is a specific small of the excretia that indicates the establishment of puberty. Adolescence is marked by the gradual development of the odor of the skin as well with hair and pigment developing as a secondary effect. But the odor of the body is a secondary characteristic in the sexual response of the body. Yet some of these properties become exaggerated in sympathy with sexual and other emotional states. During sexual excitement, the male issues odors that come from the skin and the breath; separately or together. It can be perceptible from a distance of several feet; lingering for as much as several hours after coitus.

During menstruation, women give off an odor that is separate and distinct from the menses and is found also in the breath. Also, the odor of the armpits becomes more powerful. This is exuded about 24 hours before the onset of the menstrual flow. The odor of her skin also becomes peculiarly agreeable. The skin

of women also gives out a unique odor during sexual excitement and coitus that can last for up to two days after coitus. And the glands at the vulvar orifice (more than the odor of vaginal secretion) give out an odorous secretion that functions to attract the male and is a product of sexual periodicity.


The sense of rhythm and vibration is a fundamental quality of neuro-muscular tissue. The chief physiological functions like pulse and breath are rhythmical. Sound that this rhythmical can excite the rhythmical tendencies of these major organs; especially of the circulatory and breathing apparatus. Rhythm is far more primitive than any other element of sound. Perceptions of pitch and tonality occur later an the aesthetic refinement of this sense. As music affects vital processes, so it also affects secondary functions such as perspiration, tearing of the eyes and urination. The voice of the opposite sex can become perceptively enhanced under the influence of sexual emotion.


Beauty is the chief element in the sexual appeal of vision. Movement is an important secondary appeal. Thus dance combined with music and color aid in the appeal of beauty. Vision can of course then heighten tumescence. Both the man and the woman select each other for sexual communication by beauty. While for a man this is based on elements of visual beauty as per the of sexuality in a woman as it translates through cultural conventions. For a woman, it is based on a regard for strength and vigor. This is a tactile energy translated in visual terms.

"There is indeed a general tendency for the sexual function to take on a religious character and for the sexual organs to become sacred at a very early period in culture. Generation, the reproductive force in man, animals and plants, was realized by primitive man to be a fact of the first magnitude, and he symbolized it in the sexual organs of man and woman, which thus attained a solemnity which was entirely independent of the purposes of sexual allurement."

From Tumescence to Detumescence

The moment detumescence arrives; the will is no longer in control, but the fundamental and uncontrollable impulses of the organism proceeds unchecked. The process of tumescence is primarily nervous and psychic and with detumescence, it now becomes predominately vascular. Blood congestion also occurs throughout the skin and especially in the genitalia.

"With the onset of muscular action, which is mainly involuntary, even when it affects the voluntary muscles, detumescence proper begins to take place. Henceforward purposeful psychic action, except by an effort, is virtually abolished. The individual, as a separate person, tends to disappear. He has become one with another person, as nearly as one as the conditions of existence ever permit; he and she are now an instrument in the hands of a higher power–by whatever name we may choose to call that Power–which is using them for an end not themselves."

When the entrance to the vagina is exposed and extended, the heightened tumescence from sexual excitement can cause the secretions that moisten the vagina to ejaculate and be emitted in a jet stream.

(This is the ambrosia of some tantric practices).

The condition during coitus that leads to detumescence can be considered in two ways. The first is circulatory and respiratory and the second is motor. The first group is entirely dependent upon the involuntary motor process of detumescence. Tumescnece is accompanied by shallow and rapid respiration and sometimes, the respiration becomes arrested. This is also the same phenomena observed during intense mental concentration.

When the inspiration becomes arrested, the blood becomes venous, stimulating vasomotor centers, raising the blood pressure; especially in the erectile tissue. The blood pressure is then quite high at the point of detumescence and associated with this vascular activity of what is now a rapid heart rate, there is also a marked tendency to glandular activity; forming various secretions in abundance. Perspiration and odiferous secretions from the skin accompany increased salivation. Woman's four major vaginal secretions come into play during tumescence and in men, a minimal secretion of mucous appears in drops at the urethral orifice. It comes from the litter and couper glands which open into the urethra. The Alchemists knew this process as 'distillatio"; realizing that this secretion was different from the secretion of semen and indicating the mind was swelling on voluptuous images.

There is also an increase in urinal secretion as well as all other glands throughout the body. Yet the male erection prevents any evacuation of the bladder. But for woman, urination can accompany detumescence; especially if she already has a full bladder and is experiencing a high degree of sexual excitement.

Aphrodisiacal Drugs

  1. Cantharides – accidental result of it's action in causing inflammation of the genito-urinary passage
  2. Nux Vomica (with its alkaloid strychnia) – has a special action on the spinal chord by heightening the irritability of the spinal ejaculatory center.
  3. Alcohol – influences the peripheral nerve-endings and on the skin as well as the cerebral centers, by arousing desire and diminishing inhibition.
  4. Opium – stimulates the brain and the spinal chord as well as affecting the skin like alcohol.
  5. Canabis Indica – like opium, diminishes local sensitivity and delays orgasm; serving to prolong the sexual act.
  6. Bromide of Gold – a nervous and glandular stimulant–heightens sexual feeling
  7. Yohimbin – an alkaloid that treats impotence by increasing blood supply to the sexual organs.

In summation, the information contained here is quite scientific in nature and corroborates a lot of tantric practices in the east that have been perceived as appalling by westerners for centuries. It is this puritanical legacy that has upheld conventional taboos in the west that serves as the primary reason for secrecy in the societies of the Western Mystery Tradition. Therefore it is hoped that by presenting this information in the manner above, that one will choose to think rationally and to defy any negative emotional reflex; whether or not one chooses to engage in any experimentation based on the work.

Love is the law, love under will.