In the previous five volumes of these Studies, I have dealt mainly with the sexual impulse in relation to its object, leaving out of account the external persons and the environmental influences which yet may powerfully affect that impulse and its gratification. We cannot afford, however, to pass unnoticed this relationship of the sexual impulse to third persons and to the community at large with all its anciently established traditions. We have to consider sex in relation to society.
In so doing, it will be possible to discuss more summarily than in preceding volumes the manifold and important problems that are presented to us. In considering the more special questions of sexual psychology we entered a neglected field and it was necessary to expend an analytic care and precision which at many points had never been expended before on these questions. But when we reach the relationships of sex to society we have for the most part no such neglect to encounter. The subject of every chapter in the present volume could easily form, and often has formed, the topic of a volume, and the literature of many of these subjects is already extremely voluminous. It must therefore be our main object here not to accumulate details but to place each subject by turn, as clearly and succinctly as may be, in relation to those fundamental principles of sexual psychology which—so far as the data at present admit—have been set forth in the preceding volumes.