Biography and Sexual Teachings of Havelock Ellis Part 1

About Victorian Era psychologist Havelock Ellis, biography and history of his sexual teachings.


HAVELOCK ELLIS (1859-1939), Great Britain

When Henry Havelock Ellis was born in 1859, Queen Victoria had been on the English throne for 22 years and would continue to reign for 42 more. As might be expected, Ellis was a child of the Victorian Age in many ways. Yet it can truly be said that he transcended it in his attitudes, though his personal sex life was poor until he was 60 years old.

When Ellis was a child, his father was at sea most of the time, so he grew up in a household of women which included not only his very moral and Christian mother but four sisters who never married.

Most of his childhood sexual experiences were trivial. At the age of seven, he was taught to masturbate by a boy his own age, but he was a poor pupil. About the same time, he was invited to feel the genitals of an adolescent boy; in adult life, Havelock recorded his impression of this event: "My feeling was simply one of reverent admiration for what seemed to my childish mind their magnitude."

Havelock's one obvious hang-up came from his mother. When he was 12, while he was walking with her in the London Zoological Gardens, she stood still, her legs apart, then walked on, leaving behind a pool of urine. "I did not mean you to see that," she said, yet she repeated the performance several times, actively involving Havelock as lookout. Throughout his life, Havelock received a sexual kick from watching women urinate.

Ellis started having wet dreams with the onset of puberty. He dreaded them, because he had been taught that they were symptoms of a disease--that such nocturnal emissions would increase in frequency and cause the death of the dreamer. At about the same time, he harbored a secret, entirely unconsummated love for his cousin Agnes, four years older than Ellis, whom he had known for only two weeks one summer. Talking later about his youth, he said, "Indeed, strange as it may appear to some, throughout the whole course of my school days until they ended at the age of 16, I cannot recall that I heard or saw anything that would have shocked an ordinarily modest schoolgirl."

After finishing school, Havelock went to Australia to become a schoolteacher. There he started his career as a sex researcher by keeping a meticulous log of his wet dreams (he found they did not increase in frequency with age as claimed). A flirtatious 11-year-old girl caused his first erection, he lived through another unrequited love (for a "pure," unattainable woman), and had his first orgasm (besides wet dreams) while reading a racy novel. At 20, he had a near-mystical experience, in which he recognized his goals in life--to be a doctor, essayist, and critic--goals that he followed to the letter.

You Are Here: Trivia-Library Home » People's Biography and Teachings or Education on Sex » Biography and Sexual Teachings of Havelock Ellis Part 1
« Biography and Sexual Teachings of Sigmund Freud Part 4Biography and Sexual Teachings of Havelock Ellis Part 2 »
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ - By printing, downloading, or using you agree to our full terms. Review the full terms at the following URL: /disclaimer.htm