Havelock Ellis’ work pioneered the study of human sexuality from a scientific perspective, bringing about a change in public attitudes towards sex in general. He suggested that sexual behavior is the most elemental of all human behavior, and that taboos that surrounded it were created by people’s ignorance about this important aspect of their lives.
In his studies of human sexuality, Ellis opened the way for later researchers, including Alfred Kinsey, whose work significantly impacted attitudes towards sexuality in the United States. With the air of scientific respectability, Ellis and subsequent researchers led people to believe that there were missing out on pleasures that others were experiencing, transforming attitudes and practices relating to sex, and thereby laying the foundation for the sexual revolution.
Ellis, like Kinsey and others, did not fully understand human sexual behavior. Unlike animals, for whom sex may indeed be for the purpose of procreation not pleasure, and in many species involves no longterm bond between partners, sexual activity in human beings should be linked to love. The physical union of man and woman, resulting in a child and thus continuing the lineage, also involves a union of their minds and spirits or souls. Thus, it is an eternal bond, and should not be taken lightly.
While Ellis's motivation may not have been to cause harm, his work was instrumental in opening the way to dramatic increases in problems, on the individual, family, and societal levels. Far from helping people to find true happiness, the work of Ellis encouraged the pursuit of immediate gratification, seeking to fulfill self-centered, lustful desires instead of the deeper, and long-lasting benefits of true love.