Launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection

Launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection by Dr. Jules Black
Curtin University, 4 March 2011.

The text of Dr. Black's speech appears below.

Official Launch of of the Jules Black Sexology Collection by Jules Black

Ladies and gentlemen it gives me enormous pleasure to be here for this special occasion. You have done me a great honour in naming this collection in your library after me. In life few people are honoured eponymously in such a way. In the first instance I was merely content that I had found a welcoming, accepting, caring home for these precious books. Since I am aware of only two or three viable tertiary courses in human sexuality in Australia, it did not take long to discover which university valued my collection more and that is why we are all here today.

I have been a collector for many years. I put it down to my German heritage. I was an avid reader as a boy reading all the so-called “boys classics” and I still recall the day when as a teenager my parents and I took that large collection of books to Doctor Barnardo’s Homes where I am sure they were appreciated.

So, why have I done this today? To answer the question I point out that concomitant with books, I have been an avid collector of gramophone records. I was born in the era of the 78-rpm disc.The LP followed, next the 45, the open reel tape, the cassette tape, the CD and lately the MP3 player. So I amassed quite a large collection of recordings, very eclectic in its breadth. The collection became well known among my friends and visitors to our home. Considerable time, effort and expense had been invested in this collection from around the globe.

The speakers at the launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection, 4 March 2011: Prof Jill Downie, Dr Black, Prof Rosemary Coates and Prof Linda Kristjanson.

The speakers at the launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection, 4 March 2011: Prof Jill Downie, Dr Black, Prof Rosemary Coates and Prof Linda Kristjanson.

I'd placed such a value on this collection that I couldn't bear the thought of these records ending up in a jumble sale or white elephant stall one day. Therefore almost from my very first will I inserted a clause which stipulated that following my death, (on the presumption that I wasn’t to become one of the great immortals), money was to be set aside to provide food and wine at a gathering of my friends in order that they could divide up the collection between them, having enjoyed a lot of these records over many years. However, technology has raced ahead and the writing is on the wall for all analog recordings. Recently it dawned on me that none of my friends even had a turntable any more and that this gesture of mine was now rendered meaningless by the new technology. Thus in the space of 71 years I have lived through several changes in sound recording technology and it is hard to guess where it will end in the future. This brings me up to today. The deciding factor in my donating this book collection to you is the fact that in my view the book is here to stay, and that the jobs of any library staff present here is secure for decades to come. Johannes Gutenberg invented his printing press in 1440 and the Gutenberg Bible first came out it is believed around 1452, some 559 years ago! It is true that technology moved along in the form of better printing presses, gold blocked & morocco coverings, different forms of binding, hardcover, soft cover and so forth. But essentially the book remains the same over the span of many centuries. Now we have entered the digital age with electronic books, devices such as eBooks and iBooks do have advantages but I don't believe they will replace actual books for a long time to come, if ever. I suggest to you that if you are researching an essay, a book chapter or a thesis etc, you are not going to have a series of eBooks on your desk with each open at a certain page. You are going to have a group of books, journals and other references open at their respective pages so that you can a glean a bit from each. Therefore I venture to say that anyone born in Perth on this very day who chooses to enroll in Rosemary's course in two decades time, if she is not well and truly emeritus by then, he or she will still be referring to the printed word, including these books.

It used to be popular on radio shows and in the print media to ask an interviewee what their desert island discs or books would be. Or, they were asked which were the most influential books in their careers. In my own case I have set aside a group of such books from the collection that I wish to hold up as I speak about them since each one has a tale attached.

I had always been very curious about sex since childhood. I observed how this topic caused embarrassment among my parents and other people. I don’t think it is a generalisation to say that males are more inquisitive than females; hence, for example, most of the famous explorers in history were male. I entered medical school in Sydney at the age of 16 — far too young in retrospect. In the preclinical years we learned all about the embryology, anatomy, physiology, endocrinology, histology and so forth of human reproduction. However none of the lecturers discussed the very act upon which reproduction depended. This served to fan the flames of my curiosity even more, so when we reached our clinical years in fourth year and psychiatry was one of our subjects, I thought to myself that this would be it, that finally we would learn about what's going on. Not so I discovered. All we learned about was bestiality and pædophilia. Therefore in my fifth year, I bought myself this first book, “Ideal Marriage” by Dutch doctor Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde, and my process of self-education began. Admittedly the word “Marriage” is in the title and one might use a different word today 80 years down the track from when it was written, but let us accept his context back then. You'll see inside that this book was into almost its 40th impression at the time I bought it in 1962. Written in the 1930s, this book had sold more copies worldwide than any other book in publishing history save for the Holy Bible.

In retrospect this was a very fortunate book to choose first up for me as a person, not just as a future therapist. Not only did the book deal with what I sought regarding the “nuts and bolts” of the sex act itself, van de Velde dealt with what we would now call the sensuousness of making love: placing emphasis on food, perfumes, music and various accompaniments and enhancements. I became a doctor at 23 — again far too young, and on my very first day of duty at St Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst, Sydney, I was rostered on that evening in the Emergency Ward. They say you never know more medicine than the day you pass your exams and there is a lot of truth in that. Thus on my first night in Emergency I expected to make some brilliant diagnosis of a florid lupus erythematosus or a case of miliary tuberculosis, but no. A woman in her thirties came in and I can't even remember of what she complained, maybe it was a summer cold or flu, something simple. However obviously she sensed that she could talk to me and suddenly she said, “Doctor, I have never had an orgasm”. Now I just know that the rest of my fellow junior medical officers from the class of ‘64 and from later experience many other more seasoned doctors, could not have coped with that statement. But because I had embarked upon this course of self-education, I was able to muddle through a non-judgemental discussion with her without any visible embarrassment such as I had noted among my parents and other colleagues. Also whereas I admit I would have given her a far more complete answer some years later, that incident was one of those “eureka moments” that steered me in the direction of making sexology my subspecialty later on. In my time as a junior and senior resident medical officer I discovered a number of home truths and one is that no one listens to junior medical officers. When I commenced my specialist training as an obstetrician & gynaecologist, I discovered no one listens to a registrar either; I had to be "one of them" first. What later became my crusade to educate both my profession and the public at large in matters sexual had to wait until I became a specialist.

I commenced my specialist training at the Women's Hospital, Crown Street Sydney, then Australia's largest maternity hospital, but which was closed in 1983. This was in the mid-1960s and since many of you would not have lived through that era, it is important for you to understand how a struggle over the next decade paved the way for the freedoms you all now enjoy in the subject of human sexuality. For example this was at the height of the controversies concerning abortion. There was much carnage out in the community from the botched sequelæ of unwanted pregnancies. “The pill” had only been released in Australia in late 1963, it was poorly understood at first, few prescribed it, and even if women had more than scanty knowledge of its existence, they had very poor access to efficient birth control. The only way one could get a “legal” abortion back then was if a psychiatrist would certify that continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the woman's health either physically or mentally. I should mention that by using the word “legal” I meant that the procedure could be performed in hospital with a better chance of a favourable outcome. That didn't always necessarily occur, it is a hazardous procedure, but it did in the majority of cases. So psychiatrists became flooded with requests for abortion consultations. At our hospital, our principal psychiatric consultant later to become infamous was the late Doctor Harry Bailey. In the eyes of we registrars-in-training he could do no wrong. We only had to call him 24/7 and he would come in and assist us with acute puerperal psychoses or any other florid psychiatric condition. This was a much better service than that provided by our consultants in other disciplines who took a lot of convincing that they needed to come in for other acute public medical problems. (In my years of training at Crown Street, some three women jumped from the postnatal ward three floors above street level to their deaths.)

Because of these large numbers of consultations, Doctor Bailey established the euphemistically titled “Department of Gynæcological Psychiatry” at Crown Street. This was no mean feat in the conservative milieu of that hospital where for example, the matron’s name was Matron Love. To paint a picture of this conservatism, Matron Love would go down and read the case notes of any of her pupil midwives in Sick Bay. These women were already fully trained sisters and were going for their so-called double certificate in midwifery. If there was any hint that the reason for an unmarried nurse’s admission was pregnancy-related, that poor lass was summarily dismissed.

And so Doctor Bailey started to see all these applicants for abortions in this designated clinic. However, it was also appropriate for him to see women with emotional problems associated with puberty, teenagers, marriage, pregnancy, the menopause and so forth. Therefore in turn it was also appropriate for Doctor Bailey to field patients with sexual dysfunctions. And so for 2-3 years I would sit in with him in this clinic whilst he was consulting. I would give him the medical and obstetrical input concerning cases and he gave me vast input concerning sexuality. This became Australia’s very first sex therapy clinic. (A few years ago I saw an article about Monash University claiming Australia’s first sex therapy clinic commencing some two years after ours and run by my friend & psychotherapist colleague, Dr Elsie Koadlow. Not so.) This brings me to the second book, “An ABZ of Love“ written by Inge and Sten Hegeler from Scandinavia. Of course, the Scandinavians have always been less uptight about sexuality. First published in 1968, it was already in its 8th impression. Basically this was a book of sexual terms described in an open and frank manner and I think the only reason it evaded the heavy censorship prevailing at the time in Australia was that the illustrations were rather simplistic and line drawn, not photographs. Since the basis of so many sexual dysfunctions is rooted in ignorance about bodily functions and about sexuality as such, this book did a lot of good, and Harry recommended it endlessly.

I was reaching the end of my training at Crown Street and about to embark upon my postgraduate work in England. As mentioned we were at the height of censorship here in Australia. This next book was top of the banned list, “The Sensuous Woman” by J, who turned out to be a Joan Garrity, and 31 at the time she wrote it. Harry Bailey was very keen for me to send him a copy of this book whilst I was overseas. There were no non-stop planes in those days and we flew to England via America. Already when in Honolulu I went and bought two copies, one for myself. In London, when I got my first copy of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynæcology, I took it out of its envelope, pasted Harry's name and address over my own and smuggled in what doubtless was one of the first copies of the book into Australia.

Being a medical doctor affords one certain privileges, and one can exploit some of them for the public good. When I came back to Australia in 1972, censorship was still rampant. What Harry would do was as follows: where he felt that a woman's problem would be helped with a copy of “The Sensuous Woman”, he would write a prescription for a copy. Armed with this prescription the woman could go down to the Department of Customs and Excise and the prescription empowered her to receive an import licence for one copy of this "dirty book". In turn armed with this import licence she then went to a bookstore of her choice, which in turn was enabled to import one copy. Harry wrote hundreds of such prescriptions flooding the market, and this was one of the acts that ultimately helped to bring down the walls of censorship. If good can come out of bad, I recount what happened with banned publications in the seizures room of the Department of Customs and Excise. Back in the early 1970s Doctor Ron Farmer headed the behavioural psychology section within the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of New South Wales. That school of psychology had an excellent reputation and in turn Ron Farmer trained psychology luminaries such as Bettina Arndt, Jeff Rowe, Norman Rees, Greta Goldberg, Sandra Pertot & Fred Orr. In his management of clients with aversions such as females with penile or sperm aversions, Ron was permitted to search through seized pictorial pornography and to extract pictures that would help him manage such cases. For example, in the management of a penile aversion using systematic desensitisation, he built up a set of flash cards in a hierarchy that would start with pictures of a naked male baby, a naked youth, various flaccid and erect adult males culminating in a penis erect and in closeup.

I returned to Sydney following my postgraduate work in early 1972 and set up in private practice in the wilds of Sydney's eastern suburbs. I sent out commencement cards to my colleagues announcing address, phone numbers and my special interest in sexuality. There has always been a sort of dirty joke attitude towards sexologists. Why, some of my referring GP’s even called me "Doctor Filth", but funnily enough that didn’t stop them sending me their own wives with sexual dysfunctions! I sent such a card to one of my mates with whom I'd gone right through high school and medical school. He was now one of the morbid anatomists at Sydney Hospital, in other words amongst other things he did the post-mortems. He sent me a letter in reply congratulating me and wishing me all the best, but then he finished up by saying, “You can have your frigid and I'll have my rigid”.

Earlier I painted a picture of the conservative milieu in which I was trained. As a result of that I have discussed the career paths of sexologists with several of my colleagues around the world. They and myself included have pretty well all admitted that our career paths have suffered as a result of our interest in what is the penultimate taboo in our society, sexuality, (the ultimate taboo being death). After my postgraduate work in England, and my return to Australia I was appointed to the staff of the Women's Hospital, Crown Street, but I never ascended above the rank of clinical assistant. I was never made a complete VMO at that institution because of my subspecialty of Sexology

Dr Black and Prof Rosemary Coates at the launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection, 4 March 2011

Dr Black and Prof Rosemary Coates at the launch of the Jules Black Sexology Collection, 4 March 2011

The late Prof Derek Llewellyn Jones, author of the worldwide bestseller “Everywoman”, was the professor of Obstetrics and Gynæcology based at our hospital. We were both consultants for “Forum” magazine. Here in this collection you will find just about every “Forum” magazine ever published and you'll see us listed on the bannerhead. He saw to it that each issue of “Forum” magazine was included in the hospital's medical library. In 1973 at the hospital Christmas party I was standing in a group together with the chairman of the lay medical board, who at the time was also chairman of the Bank of New South Wales, now Westpac. This powerful gentleman recounted the story of having gone up to the medical library to have a look and picked up a copy of “Forum” magazine. He said he saw an article about a woman having sex with a dog and that he was so disgusted he ordered every copy of “Forum” to be removed from the library. I told him that it was I who had placed the article in the magazine. I explained that as a “Forum” consultant I had merely abstracted a paper from Obstetrics and Gynecology, one of the world’s most prestigious O&G journals. It was a case report about an African-American woman whose man had left her midway through a pregnancy. One day she had felt so sexually charged, she had aroused her Alsatian dog that mounted her and intercourse took place. She went into anaphylaxis from that foreign, canine sperm. I pointed out to the chairman that I didn't condone bestiality, however it does occur out there in the community at large, and I merely needed to point out that there are inherent dangers in such practices.

The Whitlam Government was elected in late 1972 and Lionel Murphy became the Attorney General. He had a science degree before he did law, and this dual qualification gave him a much more reasonable and rational attitude to sexuality so he saw the importance of sex education both public and professional. He was the one finally who lifted the ban on films, books and so forth apart from extreme cases with which most of us would be in agreement. Essentially censorship was over by 1975. With the passage of time we saw a flood of books, magazines, videos — all sorts of publications in the field of human sexuality or purporting to be of value in sex education and therapy. Many were good, but also many were atrocious. The corollary to “The Sensuous Woman” came out, “The Sensuous Man” by M. We never found out who that author was. Our friends Inge & Sten Hegeler brought out another book, “The XYZ of Love”. Published in 1970, I’m not sure when the first copies reached here, but already you can deduce from the cover that things had changed in Australia. The next book I want to show you is of medical importance. Doctor Robert Latou Dickinson wrote “Human Sex Anatomy” back in 1930. He was an American obstetrician and gynæcologist who did nothing but report facts, what is, rather than what should be or what shouldn't be, merely the way it is. He made lifesize sketches depicting the incredible variation in size and shape of genital organs. This included nipples, areolæ, breasts, the labia minora and majora, the clitoris, vagina and the penis. He made real-life tracings of erections. He also illustrated the anatomy of coitus, showing the relationship of the erect penis to female pelvic organs in various positions, something I’ve found invaluable for teaching. The book was reprinted in 1947 and this is a facsimile edition of it. Despite the breaking down of the barriers of censorship, inexplicably this book was kept under lock and key in American universities for several years. Professors only permitted their postgraduate students to look at this book! I have found this book indispensable in sexual counselling. For example there is a double page that shows the tracings of penes he divided into “average”, “lesser average” and “larger average”.  My “pet” subspecialties were dyspareunia and particularly vaginismus leading to an unconsummated marriage. (Admittedly most of these women were married so I use the term advisedly. Also I used to have the third-largest series of cases in the world.) It is part of the male character to be a bit boastful about his member. He will say to a woman words to the effect, “You'll have to travel a long way to find one that is as big as this”. Of course these especially naïve and vulnerable women are terrified — they have usually never seen an adult, erect penis before the wedding night and they believe they are going to be torn from one end of their anatomy to the other. The ensuing pain when attempts are made prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and these women go downhill rapidly in a vicious circle of avoidance. Invariably when I asked such women to point out the size of their partner in this book they would point to an average man or at the smaller end of larger average, in other words not all that big. I am not going to turn to the next page of this book; I leave you to do that. There are some people walking around with unbelievably large organs. (We like to think that we are more sexually enlightened nowadays, and that sexuality being so much more in the open and pervading everything would lead to fewer sexual problems. Far from it. Vaginismus comprises about 2% of women seeking therapy for sexual dysfunctions, and in 35 years of private practice I saw a constant trickle averaging one case per fortnight.)

Finally, in my array of books I have this one, “Everything That Men Know About Women” and the author is named as Dick Hedd. The way I used to use this book in couples counselling was where the man was really not paying attention nor paying heed to his partner's needs, I would hand him this book and say, “The way you can send your partner into sexual Shangri-La is on page 163”. The man would take the book and rapidly look for page 163 whilst the woman usually glanced over his shoulder casually to see what that page revealed. As you have doubtless guessed the book is entirely blank. It would then open the doors for (hopefully) productive discussion. I went through two or three copies because I would wear them out!

And so ladies and gentlemen, this is a brief outline of my journey through the field of sexual science. I have depicted the milieu, the ignorant and primal societal swamp whence we sexologists emerged and the difficulties and stumbling blocks we encountered in the process. It has been quite a ride and I know and have known personally ever so many of the famous sexologists whose books I have given to the library or which the library already possesses. I hope that the students present will get much satisfaction and value out of them. To your teachers and to we senior sexologists you represent the future of Sexology.

I wish to conclude the way I started by once again thanking the University for accepting my books into what I now know is a good home and again I thank you for the honour you have bestowed upon me in the naming of the collection.

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