Author Topic: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence  (Read 1490 times)

TheWanderer247

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The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« on: September 20, 2019, 07:19:55 PM »
There's been several articles over the years with different theories as to the cause of Barrie being impotent. The most recent is what was known as Psychosocial Dwarfism, where long term malnutrition & neglect will make an otherwise potentially normal person into an individual who never fully developed physically to their full potential.

I do know it's noted from his friends that the reason Barrie was so thin and short was because of him not eating enough as a child, but considering Barrie's mother was apparently a small woman herself I'm not so sure I can say that his stature & impotence could have been caused by neglect & malnutrition, as he was genetically predisposed to be short anyways.

I do know that certain diseases can cause impotence, such as the mumps and scarlet fever. I knew of a woman who couldn't have children because of the latter, so had to adopt children. Was it ever noted that Barrie suffered from these once common ailments? I know his life from birth to the age of six is basically an unknown era of his life's history, but maybe he could have had it and that's what caused the impotence?

I wonder, though, if it wasn't psychological too. Then again, if he was damaged early on in childhood physically he never would have mentally or emotionally ever had the want or need for it. It just wouldn't have factored into the equation psychologically, cus the hormones wouldn't have been involved.

Maybe someone more "in the know" can answer the question, or has a better idea of what happened to him.

Brutus

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Re: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2019, 06:44:17 PM »
We don't know whether he was actually impotent or simply did not have any sexual desires, which are two different things) but I wouldn't want to hazard a guess as to the cause of it.  We do know for certain that he wasn't suffering from Psychosocial Dwarfism, because there is no evidence he was malnourished as a child - by all accounts, the family lived well, if frugally perhaps but that would be normal for members of the Scottish Free Kirk. More to the point, he was not a dwarf as he measured 5 ft 3 1/2 in (161 cm) - a short stature for a man by today's standards, but it would not have been considered extremely short at the time.

By the way, mumps do not cause impotence, although it can affect a man's fertility, and I've never heard that scarlet fever can cause it.

TheWanderer247

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Re: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2019, 09:35:27 PM »
I don't know if there is a genuine difference between someone being physically incapable or having no desire to engage in it--- if a man has absolutely zero desire, one can only assume four things: Either he never physically matured, or, illness & injury done so, or, hormone levels were practically non-existent, or,  something neurologically "off" that couldn't trigger such desires even if he was physically normal.

The latter would be extremely rare, because even neurologically impaired individuals have desires, etc--- besides Barrie oftentimes noted that it wasn't for a lack of trying on his part, and lamented not being able to love like other men, as well as his penchant for falling madly in love with beautiful women, so clearly he had desire. He just couldn't do the deed.

As for his height, I think there's some speculation as to that. Some biographers say that he was roughly 4'10", although he says 5'3.5" on his passport. I know Chesterton himself was 6'3"-6'4" and absolutely dwarfs Barrie in that shot from their cowboy movie. Regardless, psychosocial dwarfism doesn't necessarily mean one will be a dwarf (4'10" & under) but rather their growth and development is stunted, as most victims end up on the short side of normal.

I'm reminded of what's known as "daddy long legs syndrome" in the case of gigantism, where the body is so focused on growing that everything else has been compromised, especially the sexual organs, where they are not just impotent but sterile. Bernard Coyne & Julius Koch, one of the few known men over 8'0" tall, were unfortunates of this malady. I believe the correct technical term is eunuchoidal-infantile. Of course, that isn't the case here. Although it is noted that in hereditary pituitary dwarfism that impotence occurs, as some of these individuals never physically mature.

Maybe Barrie had extremely low testosterone and high estrogen levels, and that might be the cause of his impotence and possible sterility. If he existed today, it's probable simple monthly shots of testosterone would have basically cured him.

Then there's either illness and injury. It's possible that sometime in his childhood he was damaged and never could have sex period. But that appears to be an unknown as nobody is forthcoming & Barrie himself apparently never denoted the hypothetical cause of his condition. As for the mumps, historically, it could cause both impotence & sterility though it was rare. I imagine a lower class family in Scotland in the Victorian era probably wouldn't have been able to get the best care, etc--- and who knows maybe he had a very bad case (if he ever had it anyways).

As for scarlet fever, the way I understand it is this, any long-term fever of any kind can permanently effect the sexual organs of men or women. Maybe that could have been the case for Barrie, as a child or sometime as an early teenager. A high grade fever that lasted too long can cause irreversible harm.

Sylvia8

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Re: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2020, 11:36:12 AM »
Hi,

Asexuality is not being sexually attracted to men or women or anyone or anything else and that is the definition Nicholas Llewelyn Davies gave of mister Barrie... No hormonal problem in it. People often mistake libido and sexual orientation. It's like the contrary of bisexuality if you will... So no neurological problem either, it's just a sexual orientation.

Moreover, trauma is not a cause of sexual orientation. A person who unfortunately lived a trauma such as rape can be of any sexual orientation (hetero, homo, bi or pan or a) but can be disgusted in sex but it's another thing. I don't see disgust in Barrie's works. On the contrary, he wanted to be able to love romantically (fall in love romantically and get married) in Tommy & Grizel and who knows for more.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 01:01:43 PM by Sylvia8 »

Dani1923

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Re: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2020, 04:00:32 PM »
Sylvia,

I personally donít think Barrie ever wanted to get married. Right before he married Mary, he wrote about a nightmare he had about being married. And Barrie didnít seem to want to spend a lot of time with Mary either. It is possible that he just married the wrong person, but since he never tried to re-marry again, I highly doubt this. Although you could argue that he wanted to marry Sylvia LD, but if he actually would have gone through it if Sylvia wanted to, will forever be unknown. Would he have done it because he wanted to have a romantic relationship with her or so the boys could have a stable family unit (for the time period), again weíll never know and is up to interpretation.

Sincerely,
Dani