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"In order to give an idea of the great interest in sexual science exhibited by the most diverse circles of cultured men of the present day, I shall merely mention in this note a few names, without pretending to give an exhaustive list: R. von Krafft-Ebing, Mantegazza, Ploss-Bartels, A. Eulenburg, von Schrenck-Notzing, Fr. S. Krauss, Tarnowsky, L. Löwenfeld, Havelock Ellis, Magnus Hirschfeld, S. Freud, Georg Hirth, H. Kurella, H. Swoboda, Laurent, A. Hoche, C. Lombroso, P. Fürbringer, E. Carpenter, Rohleder, Alfred Fournier, A. Binet, Marro, J. J. Bachofen, J. Kohler, E. Westermarck, Max Dessoir, Alfred Blaschko, Albert Neisser, Eli Metchnikoff, Fritz Schaudinn, Ducrey, Unna, Oskar Schultze, Wilhelm Waldeyer, V. von Gyurkovechky, Louis Fiaux, Léon Taxil, Wilhelm Fliess, Willy Hellpach, P. J. Möbius, Heinrich Schurtz, B. Friedländer, Eduard von Meyer, Hans Ostwald, R. Kossmann, Otto Adler, W. Hammond, Beard, Wilhelm Erb, Paul Näcke, J. Salgó, H. T. Finck, F. Neugebauer, C. Wagner, H. Ferdy, Rosa Mayreder, Ellen Key, Helene Stöcker, Anna Pappritz, Maria Lischnewska, Lily Braun, and many others."--The Sexual Life of Our Time (1907) by Iwan Bloch

"The writer who deals with a sexual theme is always in danger of being accused ... of an undue obsession with his subject." --Marriage and Morals, Bertrand Russell

"The efforts of several of Bloch's contemporaries (Freud, Forel, Rohleder, Eulenburg, Moll, Steinach, Max Marcuse and others) soon helped to consolidate and further advance sexological research to the point where the first institute for Sexology could be established in Berlin by Magnus Hirschfeld."--Sholem Stein

"Despite the prevailing belief in sexual repression during the Victorian era, the movement towards sexual emancipation began towards the end of the nineteenth century in England and Germany. In 1886, Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing published Psychopathia Sexualis. That work is considered as having established sexology as a scientific discipline."--Sholem Stein

"In many ways Sade anticipated the investigations of the nineteenth-century sexologists, and his descriptions of sexual perversions, techniques and beliefs were without doubt based on his own experience and observations."--The English Vice (1978) by Ian Gibson, p. 27

"Mad for books, I looked at the titles of those within easy reach. There were the writings of Tarnowsky, Gyurkovechky, Moreau of Tours, Ball, Moll, Laycock, Binet, Roubaud, Descuret, Tardieu. There was a superb copy of “Geneanthropeia,” by Jo. Benedictus Sinibaldus, Rome, 1642, the first edition . There were the four volumes of Martin Schuriger, printed in Dresden in the first half of the eighteenth century. There were rows and rows of surgeons' reports and large atlases."--M'lle New York (1895 - 1899)

"Variatio delectat ! How innumerable are the variations which Eros creates in order to make the monotonous simplicity of the natural sex organ interesting to the sexologist."--Sexual Aberrations (1923) by Wilhelm Stekel

This page Sexology is part of the human sexuality seriesIllustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray.
This page Sexology is part of the human sexuality series
Illustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray.

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Sexology is the systematic study of human sexuality. It encompasses all aspects of sexuality, including attempting to characterise "normal sexuality" and its variants, including paraphilias.

Modern sexology is a multidisciplinary field which uses the techniques of fields including biology, medicine, psychology, statistics, epidemiology, pedagogics, sociology, anthropology, and sometimes criminology to bear on its subject. It studies human sexual development and the development of sexual relationships as well as the mechanics of sexual intercourse and sexual malfunction. It also documents the sexuality of special groups, such as handicapped, children, and elderly, and studies sexual pathologies such as sex addiction and child sexual abuse.

Note that sexology is considered descriptive, not prescriptive: it attempts to document reality, not to prescribe what behavior is suitable, ethical, or moral. Sexology has often been the subject of controversy between supporters of sexology, those who believe that sexology pries into matters held sacrosanct, and those who philosophically object to its claims of objectivity and empiricism.




Sexual manuals have existed since antiquity, such as Ovid's Ars Amatoria, the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, the Ananga Ranga and The Perfumed Garden for the Soul's Recreation. De la prostitution dans la ville de Paris (Prostitution in the City of Paris), an early 1830s study on 3,558 registered prostitutes in Paris, published by Alexander Jean Baptiste Parent-Duchatelet (and published in 1837, a year after he died), has been called the first work of modern sex research.

The scientific study of sexual behavior in human beings began in the 19th century. Shifts in Europe's national borders at that time brought into conflict laws that were sexually liberal and laws that criminalized behaviors such as homosexual activity.

Victorian Era to WWII

Despite the prevailing social attitude of sexual repression in the Victorian era, the movement towards sexual emancipation began towards the end of the nineteenth century in England and Germany. In 1886, Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing published Psychopathia Sexualis. That work is considered as having established sexology as a scientific discipline.

In England, the founding father of sexology was the doctor and sexologist Havelock Ellis who challenged the sexual taboos of his era regarding masturbation and homosexuality and revolutionized the conception of sex in his time. His seminal work was the 1897 Sexual Inversion, which describes the sexual relations of homosexual males, including men with boys. Ellis wrote the first objective study of homosexuality, (the term was coined by Kertbeny) as he did not characterize it as a disease, immoral, or a crime. The work assumes that same-sex love transcended age taboos as well as gender taboos. Seven of his twenty-one case studies are of inter-generational relationships. He also developed other important psychological concepts, such as autoerotism and narcissism, both of which were later developed further by Sigmund Freud.

Ellis pioneered transgender phenomena alongside the German Magnus Hirschfeld. He established it as new category that was separate and distinct from homosexuality. Aware of Hirschfeld's studies of transvestism, but disagreeing with his terminology, in 1913 Ellis proposed the term sexo-aesthetic inversion to describe the phenomenon.

In 1908, the first scholarly journal of the field, Journal of Sexology (Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft), began publication and was published monthly for one year. Those issues contained articles by Freud, Alfred Adler, and Wilhelm Stekel. In 1913, the first academic association was founded: the Society for Sexology.

Freud developed a theory of sexuality. These stages of development include: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency and Genital. These stages run from infancy to puberty and onwards. based on his studies of his clients, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Wilhelm Reich and Otto Gross, were disciples of Freud, but rejected by his theories because of their emphasis on the role of sexuality in the revolutionary struggle for the emancipation of mankind.

Pre-Nazi Germany, under the sexually liberal Napoleonic code, organized and resisted the anti-sexual, Victorian cultural influences. The momentum from those groups led them to coordinate sex research across traditional academic disciplines, bringing Germany to the leadership of sexology. Physician Magnus Hirschfeld was an outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, founding the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights.

Hirschfeld also set up the first Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexology) in Berlin in 1919. Its library housed over 20,000 volumes, 35,000 photographs, a large collection of art and other objects. People from around Europe visited the Institute to gain a clearer understanding of their sexuality and to betreated for their sexual concerns and dysfunctions.

Hirschfeld developed a system which identified numerous actual or hypothetical types of sexual intermediary between heterosexual male and female to represent the potential diversity of human sexuality, and is credited with identifying a group of people that today are referred to as transsexual or transgender as separate from the categories of homosexuality, he referred to these people as 'transvestiten' (transvestites). Germany's dominance in sexual behavior research ended with the Nazi regime. The Institute and its library were destroyed by the Nazis less than three months after they took power, May 8, 1933. The institute was shut down and Hirschfeld's books were burned.

Other sexologists in the early gay rights movement included Ernst Burchard, Hans Blüher, and Benedict Friedlaender. Ernst Grafenberg, after whom the G-spot is named, published the initial research developing the intrauterine device (IUD).


After World War II, sexology experienced a renaissance, both in the United States and Europe. Large scale studies of sexual behavior, sexual function, and sexual dysfunction gave rise to the development of sex therapy. Post-WWII sexology in the U.S. was influenced by the influx of European refugees escaping the Nazi regime and the popularity of the Kinsey studies. Until that time, American sexology consisted primarily of groups working to end prostitution and to educate youth about sexually transmitted diseases. Alfred Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University at Bloomington in 1947. This is now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. He wrote in his 1948 book that more was scientifically known about the sexual behavior of farm animals than of humans.

Psychologist and sexologist John Money developed theories on sexual identity and gender identity in the 1950s. His work, notably on the David Reimer case has since been regarded as controversial, even while the case was key to the development of treatment protocols for intersex infants and children.

Kurt Freund developed the penile plethysmograph in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. The device was designed to provide an objective measurement of sexual arousal in males and is currently used in the assessment of pedophilia and hebephilia. This tool has since been used with sex offenders.

In 1966 and 1970, Masters and Johnson released their works Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy, respectively. Those volumes sold well, and they were founders of what became known as the Masters & Johnson Institute in 1978.

Vern Bullough was a historian of sexology during this era, as well as being a researcher in the field.

The emergence of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s caused a dramatic shift in sexological research efforts towards understanding and controlling the spread of the disease.

Notable contributors

This is a list of sexologists and notable contributors to the field of sexology, by year of birth:

Interdisciplinary relations and limits

Sexology, as currently defined, is largely a 20th and 21st century phenomenon.

Sexology relates to a number of other fields of study:

Sexology also touches on public issues such as the debates over abortion, public health, birth control, sexual abuse and reproductive technology.


See also

history of sexology

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sexology" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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