A Zoologist's Classic Study Of Human Intimacy
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Intimate behavior is behavior dominated by touch, a subject gaining increasing attention these days by psychologists interested in non-verbal communication, linguists interested in the roots of language, and anthropologists like Ashley Montagu who explored the range of Touching (1971). Morris shares some of Montagu's point of view, saying that much to our folly we have lost touch with each other; he also has serious things to say about child-rearing practices and the effects of urban crowding. Unfortunately the serious content is often engulfed by speculations peculiar to the Morris mind. We refuse to accept the idea that tears are substitute urine requiring the comforter to wipe (hence touch) the one in need of comfort; likewise the idea that breasts are substitute buttocks (there is a long chapter outlining Morris' 12 stages of sexual touching); nor that an adult falling in love is seeking a return to infancy and the mother-child relationship. On the other hand it is probably true that sexual intercourse is good for the stomach muscles of middle-aged men (who in previous incarnations might never have attained middle age), and certainly the variety of social touchings from curtseying and hem-kissing to pats on the cheek is related to rank or dominance structures in society. Thus the usual caveats apply: the book is a melange of the unproven and the outspoken joined with the sensible and accepted.
Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
ISBN: 1568361637
Page count: 260pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1972


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