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Rise of Sexology, Psychiatrists, and the Notion of Deviance.docx

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Department
History
Course
History 2185
Professor
Monda Helpern
Semester
Winter

Description
Feb, 11, 2013 Rise of Sexology, Psychiatrists, and the Notion of Deviance -The perception was that male-female sex was a natural human behaviour and until the late 19 century there was no serious academic analysis because it wasn’t something that needed labelling -Men and women were to fill their prescribed gender roles as they changed through time but a constant was that they would marry the opposite sex and within the unions there would be procreation and this was an essential norm and the focus of the church was on reproduction -The concern about sex was the ultimate goal of facilitating reproduction and sex for the sake of pleasure was not a priority but this isn’t to say people didn’t want pleasure from sex it was just more of a bi-product th -In the late 19 century this conception of sexuality changed and medical specialists in sexology and psychiatry emerged first in Germany and they used all kinds of “science” to establish themselves as prominent professionals in the field of sexuality and pleasure -The idea that people should not talk about sex was thrown out and they compelled others to explore the new topic they had brought to the forefront and they wrote many influential medical texts and prescriptive literature on their findings on what was normal, deviant, and pleasurable -They relied on a small number of samples for their studies and often it was their patients they were writing about and they applied their cases as if they were universal truths about sexuality and they invented modern scientific symptoms and diagnoses naming new physical, mental, and psychiatric conditions and disorders -This can be seen in their discussion about homo/heterosexuality and their discussions of women -Homosexuality and heterosexuality were categories created by sexologists and this labelling was a modern invention to talk about something that had always been and it showed their want to deconstruct them -In the late 19 century the focus was on sexual behaviour when it came to homosexuality and not whether they were breaking gender roles which was the focus before -In 1868 the terms were coined but the earliest use of the word in the US was in 1892 and this was because the German scientists were visiting or living in America and their works were being translated -The term heterosexual appeared in America in a journal article by James E. Kiernan who was a doctor in Chicago and he used the term as referring to someone who was mentally ill and attracted to both sexes -The article was had one of the first English references to the word homosexual and he said it was someone who’s mental state was that of the opposite sex because people could rationalize that a man could really be attracted to another man so they thought inside he was really like a woman and this transgressed gender roles and normal sexual desire so it was especially deviant -1892 was an important year because it was the year Richard Kraft-Ebbing’s work was published in America who was a psychologist and sexologist and the book was Psychopathia Sexualis and it was first written in German then translated to English and the work was the establishing book that made sexology a legitimate scientific discipline -With him the term hetero/homosexual were popularly used with the meaning we have today and he used them at first to distinguish between what was normal and what was deviant -Heterosexuality meant you were attracted to the opposite sex and homosexuality meant they were attracted to the same sex but there was also the category of bisexual -These definitions moved away from the strict idea of procreation as the centre of normal sexuality and instead his definitions are based on attraction and pleasure and this was a revolutionary radical change -Hetero/homosexuality were not about particular acts and they weren’t written about in that way but now they referred to a wthle state of being, thinking, and feeling and it was seen as a biological and psychological factor -In the late 19 century there was more focus on heterosexual identity and not just a list of acts and behaviours and the identity existed partly because of new urban centres with consumerism based on erotic sexual pleasure -Entertainment, consumerism, and erotic pleasure were hugely connected here and the sexologists now had a lab (urban life) in which to view pleasure seeking of homo/heterosexuals -They viewed heterosexuality as universal because it was normal and natural and it took place between men- women who in their mind were opposites and many promoted this notion and one was the British sexologist Havelock Ellis who wrote “Studies in the Psychology of Sex” in 1901 -The title shows the new important connection between sexuality and the mind and it was not just a biological urge and Krafft-Ebbing also used the term homosexual to label that identity as criminal and deviant Feb, 11, 2013 -Eventually Krafft-Ebbing completely altered his opinion and he soon noted the happiness and loving relationships that many homosexuals had because many wrote them of their positive stories and he realized finally that these people didn’t want to be cured in most cases (seen as a mental illness during this period) -The most famous of this scientific group was Freud who wrote “Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex” and he took sexology in a new direction and he developed psycho analysis as a tool to decipher the sexual problems and pleasure of his patients and he used their stories of childhood trauma and their dreams
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