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Krich, A. (1966). Love and Orgasm. By Alexander Lowen. New York: Tke Macmillan Company, Inc., 1965. 303 pp. Psychoanal. Rev., 53B(2):146-148.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Review, 53B(2):146-148

Love and Orgasm. By Alexander Lowen. New York: Tke Macmillan Company, Inc., 1965. 303 pp

Review by:
Aron Krich, Ph.D.

On the street, a well-bred gentleman arranges to walk briefly at the side of a strange woman. At the moment she becomes aware of his presence the man tips his hat and ejaculates. Another man exhausts himself and his partner in an endless coitus without ejaculation. Eventually he removes himself and culminates by masturbation. Sitting in her box at the opera a society woman is embarrassed to discover that her immersion in the Liebestod music has carried her through sexual climax. In the interest of science, a professional woman sets out to learn how many self-induced orgasms she can achieve. She later reports to the Kinsey researchers a figure well over one hundred and tells them, it could have been higher if the experiment had not been interrupted by the need to prepare lunch for her children returning from school. One woman achieves orgasm (Dr. Lowen would call it a “local” orgasm) by stroking her ear lobes. Another woman has never experienced orgasm despite attentions from her husband which deplete the resources of the Kama Sutra.

It is Dr. Lowen's endeavor to integrate behavioral events as disparate as these into the phenomenology of human love. Early on, he recognizes that he must deal not only with the implications of Freud's original view of love as “aim inhibited sexuality” but also the more challenging, ego-centered position of Theodor Reik—vulgarized by Lowen in a sentence or two—as “a dissociation of behavior into psychological and physical.” To understand that love and sex have different realms of being does not imply a lack of appreciation of the many emotional disturbances that come with a dissociation of sex from love. But as with many other issues which challenge his thesis, Dr. Lowen both dismisses and incorporates opposing views. Thus, “love is not sex”—that is, not from culture.

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