Cynics have said that "love is of all feelings the most egoistic and
consequently is, when crossed, the least generous." That assumes
love is possessive and selfish. Genuine love as we understand it today
is the medium through which the fullest development of the per-
sonalities of a man and woman may take place. And it involves
a keen desire for the welfare of the loved person. There is nothing
egoistic about real love!
Here briefly are some conditions that are usually present before
love can develop:
The two persons have had experiences together that have caused
each to react favorably to the other.
They have each found present in the other qualities, standards and
ideals which they admire.
Their sexual feelings have been so favorably conditioned, without
their realizing it, that they find great pleasure just in being in each
Each one in some way fulfills some of the motives that are of im-
Is It Love or Infatuation?
portance to the other, such as desire for social approval or, with a man,
There are many people for whom it is utterly impossible to fall
in love. For a few this is due to physical inadequacy. But to most
it is a result of unfavorable conditioning that has made them
selfish or afraid of contact with the opposite sex. How does a per-
son get the ability to fall in love? From a physical standpoint cer-
tain hormones pour into the blood stream of a man or woman
past puberty that create sexual tension. But that only starts to ex-
plain the complexity of the love relationship.
Your ability to fall in love depends for the most part on your own
previous experience as far back as childhood. In the beginning,
for example, your mother met all your needs. Every time you cried
your mother rushed to you, to feed you, to give you a drink, to
change your diaper or to remove a pin that was sticking in you.
Gradually in your mind the mother becomes associated with every-
thing pleasant, with eating, the relief of thirst, the elimination of
pain. You probably became attached to her with a depth of love
and aflection that lasted for many years. Similarly your mother re-
ceived pleasure from hearing your coos when she gave you relief
from pain, she received the approval of your father for bearing you
and the admiring comments on you from the neighbors; and she
satisfied her motive of mastery by having something (you) under
her control. Her love deepened for you.
It has been observed in the South, where the nursemaids may
often spend more time with the child than the mother does that
the child becomes more favorably conditioned to the nursemaid
than to the mother. That illustrates that love is a learned process.
As you grew older and began playing with children you learned
to like those with whom playing was fun and you learned to dis-
like those where your association was marked only by dissatisfaction
Similarly if your early associations with those of the opposite
sex were all marked by unpleasantness and nervous tension you
How to Pic\ a Mate
tended to stick to those of your own sex; but if they were marked
with pleasure you turned more and more to the other sex.
Even the appearance of the girl that a young man likes is due tcf
pleasant associations with other persons who had one or more of
the characteristics that his girl has. It is not just accident that girls
are more likely to fall in love with boys who have characteristics
resembling their own fathers than they are with boys who don't.
Similarly a boy is more likely to fall in love with a girl who re-
sembles his own mother than with a girl who doesn't.
If your early life has been marked by strife in the home and
tension in your relation with people your own age, then you have
been poorly conditioned for the comradeship married love can
provide. And you probably will have the greatest difficulty finding
happiness in marriage.
But if your relationships with people have been relatively serene,
you will find it easy to learn to love someone of the opposite sex.
You will find that when you do certain things you receive approval
by way of happy smiles and rewards. Gradually you learn to put
your best foot forward. You and your date both are conditioned to
be on your best behavior and if you have many things in common
develop a deep friendship with each other.
Then, if the conditioning during the friendship is quite favorable,
your mutual feeling of appreciation and affection for each other
grows and finally ripens into love. There you have it.
In your love for each other you will both gradually become
sexually vibrant and you both will begin to feel a need for sexual
expression through each other. As this need becomes increasingly
strong, you both begin to think of engagement and marriage. Ideally
when your need for each other becomes so strong that it can no
longer be denied, you are married.
ARE YOU REALLY IN LOVE?
The first thing many counselors like to find out when people come
to them about the possibility of marrying is to find out whether they
are actually in love. Here are some questions which quickly disclose
whether a person is afflicted with the real thing or is just infatuated by
Is It Love or Infatuation?
good looks and sex appeal. Answer each question truthfully regardless
of what you thin\ the correct answer should be.
1. Do you have a great number of things that you like to
do together? Yes No
2. Do you have a feeling of pride when you compare your
friend to any other you have known? Yes No
3. Do you feel you need to apologize for certain things
about him? Yes No
4. Do you suffer from a feeling of unrest when away from
him or her? Yes No
5. Have you a strong desire to please him or her and are
you quite glad to give way on your own preferences? Yes No
6. Do you have any difficulty carrying on a conversation
with each other? Yes No
7. Even when you quarrel do you still enjoy being to-
gether? Yes No
8. Do you actually want to marry this person? Yes No
9. Would you be afraid to trust him or her in the presence
of another attractive person of your own sex for an
evening? Yes No
10. Does he or she have the qualities you would like to
have in your children? Yes No
11. Do your friends and associates mostly admire this per-
son and think he, or she, would be a good match for
you? Yes No
12. Do you ever wonder if he, or she, is faithful? Yes No
13. Do your parents think you are in love? (They are very
discerning ^bout such things.) Yes No
14. Have you started planning, at least in your own mind,
what kind of wedding, children, and home you will
have? Yes No
15. Are you conscious of being jealous of him, or her? Yes No
How to Pic\ a Mate
16. Is this person attractive to you not only in appearance
but in the way he talks, acts and thinks? Yes No
17. Do you approve generally of each other's friends? Yes No
18. Do you wonder if he, or she, is being sincere in what
he tells you? Yes No
19. Do you have a wealth of things to discuss and do to-
gether? Yes No
20. When outside trouble develops for one of you does the
crisis tend to pull you together rather than apart? Yes No
21. Are there many things on which you disagree? Yes No
22. Do you find that in thinking of the future it is always
in terms of two rather than of yourself alone? Yes No
23. Can you imagine how he or she will appear at 40 and
still feel as deeply attached to him as before ? Yes No
24. Do you have serious doubts about your love for him? Yes No
If you have a perfect score you answered every third question (3, 6,
9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24) with No and all the others with Yes. Did you
have twenty or more "correct" answers? If so, we would judge you to
be solidly in love. If you did not, you should be skeptical until you
receive further proof.
Growing Up Sexually
YOUR ability to undertake marriage successfully has already been
determined in large part before you even start. It has been de-
termined by experiences you have had with sex generally and with
the opposite sex particularly. Possibly you are already seriously
handicapped by repressions and fears on the subject.
To ignore or fear sex is no more sensible than to ignore any
of the other emotions you possess. Sexual desire is a natural desire.
Without it your personality would become impoverished. Without
it there would be few marriages. Without it there would be few
children and few homes. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of or be
You can have love without sex and sex without love but neither
alone is very satisfying or enriching. For example many men are
capable of sexual activity with women for whom they could find
no pleasure in social associations. Were it not for this fact there
would be no prostitution. Likewise it is true there are many wives
who love their husbands and engage in sexual activity with them,
but without feeling any sexual urge whatsoever and without feel-
ing any physical satisfaction.
The ideal arrangement, however, is that in which the two people
have genuine love and affection for each other and at the same
time have strong sex desire for each other and find sexual satisfac-
tion in each other.
A very large proportion of the fears, repressions and anxieties
that people suffer from involve sex one way or another. Many of
these repressions are revealed in such things as frigidity and im-
How to Pic^ a Mate
potence. The individual who is ashamed and afraid of sex will be
repressed in married life unless the attitude is corrected, and will
find it difficult to adjust to marriage. When such persons are mar-
ried the feelings of shame or guilt about sex may prevent sexual
satisfaction. This lack of satisfaction, and the tension that goes with
it, may produce nervousness, aches and pains and even nervous
Many married people, particularly wives, suffer from repression.
While sexual maladjustment is not the only cause of unhappiness
in marriage it does play a significant part. It is estimated that one-
fifth of all married people turn to masturbation as one of the ways
to reduce the sexual tensions not satisfied through intimate relation-
ships with the mate.
How do these so-called repressions develop? Where do we learn
Our sex experiences whether good or bad started when we were
babies. We reacted in a very favorable way to the fondling, caressing
and other skin stimulation of our mothers. Love and affection
came to be associated in our minds with fondling and stroking.
Sometimes as the baby grows older the parent lavishes too much
affection on the child because the mother is hungry for affection
which is not forthcoming from her husband. This excessive love-
conditioning may cause the child to become intensely attached to
the mother and makes it difficult for the child to break away as
it grows up. Not only this, but in addition the excessive fondling
and favorable attention may cause the child to have an excessive
desire for sympathy and social approval. Ergo, we have a "spoiled
child." This spoiled child grows up feeling very sorry for himself
and insecure when he is not receiving sympathy. In marriage, he
or she becomes quite possessive because he or she wants to be the
constant center of attention.
But to get back to when you were a growing child. Many of the
feelings of guilt, shame or fear that people suffer from concerning
sex begin then.
Perhaps the child is detected in the act of exploring his sex organs.
Growing Up Sexually
It is probably normal curiosity but the parents punish him so
severely that the child feels exceedingly guilty about it.
Perhaps the child hears a four-letter Anglo-Saxon word. Proud
of this new acquisition he comes home and uses it with his parents.
The parents are dumfounded, show their intense disapproval, and
may wash the child's mouth out with soap.
Or perhaps the child asks how babies are made and the parent
may rebuff the child or act so mysterious that the child concludes
he has done something for which he should be ashamed.
On the other hand, if as a child you had a confidential relation-
ship with your parents and found that when you took such problems
to them they would try to give you answers you could comprehend
you developed a normal, healthy attitude toward sex. Repression
usually occurs only when something happens to us for which we
feel ashamed or guilty or fearful.
It would seem to us that no child should be permitted to reach
the age of five or six without knowing where babies come from.
It furthermore seems to us that no child should reach the age of
ten without knowing what produces or causes babies.
Now we come to the period that affected you most profoundly
in your sexual development, puberty. Can you remember how your
life and body were changed from the time you were twelve to
fourteen? that is, when you were first endowed with sexual ca-
pacity. Whether you were a boy or girl, your sex glands (gonads)
began pouring their hormones into the blood stream in great quanti-
ties. Perhaps you did not realize it at the time but you began
feeling more tense, more energetic, and began exhibiting what might
be called "animal spirits." Farmers shake their heads sadly at their
youngsters during this period and resign themselves to the fact that
the youths won't be over "Fool's Hill" until they are sixteen.
It probably was during your early teens that you had your first
great "love" affair, if you were normal. Puppy love is one of the
sweetest loves that one ever has. It usually makes its appearance
at about the time the girl begins to menstruate and the boy becomes
capable of having sexual emissions.
How to Pic\ a Mate
This first love of yours was romantic and idealistic. Probably you
"fell in love" with a girl in the next aisle, passed notes to her and
picked flowers on the way to school for her. You walked home
together after school and if you did manage to conquer your em-
barrassment and kiss, it is a kiss you will never forget.
You did not realize that those hormones pulsing through your
body were responsible for this "crush" and did not realize why you
were more tense and energetic. To reduce the tension, though, you
looked at each other and something about your past conditioning
made each of you find something appealing in the other. Sometimes
these first "loves" endure but more likely you are soon both in
"love" with new "flames" that suddenly appeared more appealing.
Puppy love, you see, is an early version of infatuation.
As a child your sexual feelings were diffused over the body sur-
face but with puberty those feelings came more and more to be
localized in certain sensitive areas of the body, called "erogenous
zones," if you had normal contacts with the other sex. In the case
of girls whose contact with sex is carefully guarded, however, it
is quite possible that sex desire may remain diffused until marriage
and the loss of virginity.
The appearance of the menstrual discharge can be a profoundly
frightening event for a girl unless she has been prepared to expect
it. Often it marks the beginning of fears that carry over even into
Take the case of Alice, a school superintendent's daughter, who
was reared in a stern atmosphere of morality. When she asked where
babies came from her mother first rebuked her and when she per-
sisted in inquiring the mother said they were brought in the
medical bags of physicians. When she reached the age of menstrua-
tion, for which her mother had not prepared her, she thought a
terrible calamity had befallen her. She naively believed for several
months that she was having a baby. Later the only information she
ever acquired on sex was through bull sessions with other girls
at college, and there the information was misleading. She was fear-
ful of sex and when, during her freshman year, a boy tried to kiss
her she reacted very strongly. She felt that she must not be a nice
Growing Up Sexually
girl or a boy would not think of trying to kiss her. Her mother
had told her that nice girls did not kiss boys.
Today Alice is twenty-nine and still not married. Furthermore
she seems like a very poor prospect. She has reacted frigidly to all
overtures of grown men to kiss her even though she feels she should
marry. To her "sex" is animal passion and its only rightful function
is reproduction. She has so many repressions about sex that she
cannot act normally in the presence of someone o the opposite sex.
Here is how the repressions operate with Alice. She does her best
not to think about sex., She avoids situations or circumstances that
would involve sex by staying away from people of the opposite
sex, by not going to dances and by refraining from doing things
that would in any way bring sex to mind. Her life is a desperate
hide-and-seek with sex. Furthermore her repression is so effective
that she won't even admit that a sexual problem exists for her.
Sometimes direct fear conditioning may occur. In one girl who
was referred to the Penn State clinic there was an intense fear of
being with well-educated people. When all the facts were learned,
it was discovered that in her early teens the girl had been detected
masturbating by her mother. To frighten her out of the habit the
mother told her that such a practice would change her facial appear-
ance so much that any educated person looking at her would know
she was a masturbator. The girl, already ashamed of her habit, felt
so much guilt that she started avoiding anyone who had a college
education because she believed such people could see her secret in
her face. It took many months of treatment to get her to the place
where she could associate with college people with ease.
It is our opinion that much of the sexual maladjustment of the
world is brought about by parents giving their children the im-
pression that sex is shameful, disgusting, fearful or nasty.
One young man came into the psychological clinic complaining
of severe indigestion, heartburn and excruciating stomach pains.
When asked what he thought the trouble was he said it probably
was caused by his habit of drinking a couple of beers three or four
times a week. He had made many efforts to stop drinking the beer,
but in vain. The companionship of the other young men with whom
Hour to Pic^ a Mate
he drank, the feeling of tension reduction that he felt while drink-
ing, the partial release of some of his inhibitions under alcohol
all prevented him from breaking the habit. He had never been
drunk yet he was sure that the half-dozen glasses of beer a week
were causing his stomach trouble and would ultimately lead to
ulcers or cancer.
In working with this young man it was found that he had begun
masturbating in adolescence. His father had discovered this and
had severely denounced him for the practice. The boy could not,
or did not, give up masturbation and was in constant fear that
he would go insane because his father told him that continued
masturbation always led to insanity. In reading an old-fashioned
book on sex which his father gave him, the boy ran across a state-
ment to the effect that alcohol weakened the sex drive. He was so
anxious to reduce his own drive, for fear of insanity, that he began
drinking beer habitually. He was so sure the alcohol was reducing
his sex drive that he stopped masturbating. Actually, of course, the
sex drive was still present and his repression and anxiety were trans-
ferred from masturbating to beer drinking, with the physical symp-
toms already described. By helping the young man understand how
he had become unfavorably conditioned to masturbation (which,
while an inferior or substitute adjustment, is a natural act) he lost
all of his stomach symptoms and gained a wholesome attitude
How can sexual inhibitions and repressions be "unlearned?" The
best thing to do of course is consult a good clinical psychologist
or competent psychiatrist. Extensive psychotherepy may be needed.
But here are some things that an individual can do that may help:
Develop a friendly confidential relationship with some other per-
son who can be trusted and bit by bit unburden yourself of your fears,
anxieties, problems and frustrations. Simply getting things out of one's
system brings tension release. Not only that but as one talks about his
problems and feelings toward them, he begins to define the problem
and see possibilities of attacking and solving the problem himself. And
the friend may have some helpful suggestions.
Deliberately associate with people of the opposite sex as much as
Growing Up Sexually
possible if repression is present. Gradually this will help reduce tensions
as you become used to them and if the conditioning is favorable you
may achieve wholesome and normal reactions to the opposite sex.
Acquire adequate information about sexual behavior. Good books
are available today in the field of sex (note bibliography in the bac\ of
Even bull sessions can be helpful though much of the information
you will hear may be erroneous or inadequate. The freedom of ex-
pression in the sessions and the opportunity to talk help one feel less
repressed and more natural when sexual matters come up.
All young unmarried people should realize that the sexual emo-
tion is just as much a hunger as a hunger for food and that in
marriage their personality is enriched when the sexual hunger is
While all this association with the opposite sex is going on, the
girl or young man is learning what kind of a mate he wants in
marriage. It is only through these experiences (starting with puppy
love) that they begin to set standards and qualifications of the
persons they would like to marry. The typical boy or girl needs
to date a good many persons before they know the kind they would
like to have as a mate, to decide upon the minimum standards
In going with one girl the boy learns to appreciate music and
decides he wants a wife who can play the piano. In going with an-
other girl he finds he wants a girl who is brunette, who is reasonably
tall, who is relatively slim. In going with a third girl he discovers
he wants a person who has as much education as he does and who
is interested at least politely with mechanical things, which happen
to be his passion. In going with still another girl he discovers that
it is important to him for her to have control of her temper, to
be friendly to people, to be gracious in manner, to be kind and
considerate. And so it goes. It is only through such experiences that
a man gradually learns what he wants in a wife and what is im-
portant to him.
In contrast, it is ignorance of what one wants that may prevent
you from ever achieving a happy marriage. Not knowing what you
How to Pic\ a Mate
want or need, you may marry the first person with whom you be-
Today there are nearly twenty-five thousand different occupations
in the country. More people are completing high school and college
than ever before in history. The radio and automobile have broad-
ened man's horizon. Thus for the man today a selection of a wife
from among a half-dozen girls whom he has known would be a
hazardous selection. As we have said before, he would need to
know at least twenty-five eligible single girls and date at least a
dozen of them before he could be fairly sure of finding one that
would meet his wants and needs.
IN THE COURSE of looking over the field for mates a large part of our
young people become involved in bodily petting and complete
intimacy. How widespread are such premarital sex relations? All
the factual studies would indicate that there has been a steady in-
crease. Dr. L. M. Terman, whose book Psychological Factors in
Marital Happiness, published in 1938, reports a study he made of
792 couples, concludes:
"The trend toward premarital sex experience is proceeding with
Of older couples who married around 1910, he found fifty per
cent of the men and eighty-seven per cent of the women had been
virgins at the time of marriage. In contrast, of those who married
about ten years ago only fourteen per cent of the men and thirty-two
per cent of the women were virgins at marriage. Dr. Terman pre-
"If the drop should continue at the average rate shown . . .
virginity at marriage will be close to the vanishing point" for males
marrying after 1955 and for girls marrying after 1960.
It's a rare high school nowadays that doesn't have an occasional