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Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2

Havelock Ellis

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Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2, is the second of six volumes by English physician Havelock Ellis. First published in 1900, this volume explores what used to be called 'sexual inversion', but which is now known as homosexuality. Ellis worked with English poet John Addington Symonds on this volume - Symonds himself being a homosexual (albeit a secret one because of the age he lived in). With various case studies, the book describes the theories and prevalence of sexual inversion in men and women including the history of homosexuality in the Greeks, the tribes of America, and Rome, as well as homosexuality among animals. When it was first published it was banned in England. Chapters include: The study of sexual inversion; sexual inversion in men; sexual inversion in women; the nature of sexual inversion; and, the theory of sexual inversion. Full chapter list.

№ 75 in Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 253 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1900. This third edition was first published in 1927.

Production notes: This ebook of Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 was published by Global Grey on the 1st August 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Nude Study of Thomas E. McKeller' by John Singer Sargent.

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Excerpt from 'Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2'

Sexual inversion, as here understood, means sexual instinct turned by inborn constitutional abnormality toward persons of the same sex. It is thus a narrower term than homosexuality, which includes all sexual attractions between persons of the same sex, even when seemingly due to the accidental absence of the natural objects of sexual attraction, a phenomenon of wide occurrence among all human races and among most of the higher animals. It is only during recent years that sexual inversion has been recognized; previously it was not distinguished from homosexuality in general, and homosexuality was regarded as a national custom, as an individual vice, or as an unimportant episode in grave forms of insanity. We have further to distinguish sexual inversion and all other forms of homosexuality from another kind of inversion which usually remains, so far as the sexual impulse itself is concerned, heterosexual, that is to say, normal. Inversion of this kind leads a person to feel like a person of the opposite sex, and to adopt, so far as possible, the tastes, habits, and dress of the opposite sex, while the direction of the sexual impulse remains normal. This condition I term sexo-esthetic inversion, or Eonism.

The nomenclature of the highly important form of sexual perversion with which we are here concerned is extremely varied, and most investigators have been much puzzled in coming to a conclusion as to the best, most exact, and at the same time most colorless names to apply to it.

The first in the field in modern times was Ulrichs who, as early as 1862, used the appellation "Uranian" (Uranier), based on the well-known myth in Plato's Banquet. Later he Germanized this term into "Urning" for the male, and "Urningin" for the female, and referred to the condition itself as "Urningtum." He also invented a number of other related terms on the same basis; some of these terms have had a considerable vogue, but they are too fanciful and high-strung to secure general acceptance. If used in other languages than German they certainly should not be used in their Germanized shape, and it is scarcely legitimate to use the term "Urning" in English. "Uranian" is more correct.

In Germany the first term accepted by recognized scientific authorities was "contrary sexual feeling" (Konträre Sexualempfindung). It was devised by Westphal in 1869, and used by Krafft-Ebing and Moll. Though thus accepted by the earliest authorities in this field, and to be regarded as a fairly harmless and vaguely descriptive term, it is somewhat awkward, and is now little used in Germany; it was never currently used outside Germany. It has been largely superseded by the term "homosexuality." This also was devised (by a little-known Hungarian doctor, Benkert, who used the pseudonym Kertbeny) in the same year (1869), but at first attracted no attention. It has, philologically, the awkward disadvantage of being a bastard term compounded of Greek and Latin elements, but its significance—sexual attraction to the same sex—is fairly clear and definite, while it is free from any question-begging association of either favorable or unfavorable character. (Edward Carpenter has proposed to remedy its bastardly linguistic character by transforming it into "homogenic;" this, however, might mean not only "toward the same sex," but "of the same kind," and in German already possesses actually that meaning.) The term "homosexual" has the further advantage that on account of its classical origin it is easily translatable into many languages. It is now the most widespread general term for the phenomena we are dealing with, and it has been used by Hirschfeld, now the chief authority in this field, as the title of his encyclopedic work, Die Homosexualität.

"Sexual Inversion" (in French "inversion sexuelle," and in Italian "inversione sessuale") is the term which has from the first been chiefly used in France and Italy, ever since Charcot and Magnan, in 1882, published their cases of this anomaly in the Archives de Neurologie. It had already been employed in Italy by Tamassia in the Revista Sperimentale di Freniatria, in 1878. I have not discovered when and where the term "sexual inversion" was first used. Possibly it first appeared in English, for long before the paper of Charcot and Magnan I have noticed, in an anonymous review of Westphal's first paper in the Journal of Mental Science (then edited by Dr. Maudsley) for October, 1871, that "Conträre Sexualempfindung" is translated as "inverted sexual proclivity." So far as I am aware, "sexual inversion" was first used in English, as the best term, by J. A. Symonds in 1883, in his privately printed essay, A Problem in Greek Ethics. Later, in 1897, the same term was adopted, I believe for the first time publicly in English, in the present work.

It is unnecessary to refer to the numerous other names which have been proposed. (A discussion of the nomenclature will be found in the first chapter of Hirschfeld's work, Die Homosexualität, and of some special terms in an article by Schouten, Sexual-Probleme, December, 1912.) It may suffice to mention the ancient theological and legal term "sodomy" (sodomia) because it is still the most popular term for this perversion, though, it must be remembered, it has become attached to the physical act of intercourse per anum, even when carried out heterosexually, and has little reference to psychic sexual proclivity. This term has its origin in the story (narrated in Genesis, ch. xix) of Lot's visitors whom the men of Sodom desired to have intercourse with, and of the subsequent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This story furnishes a sufficiently good ground for the use of the term, though the Jews do not regard sodomy as the sin of Sodom, but rather inhospitality and hardness of heart to the poor (J. Preuss, Biblisch-Talmudische Medizin, pp. 579-81), and Christian theologians also, both Catholic and Protestant (see, e.g.Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen, vol. iv, p. 199, and Hirschfeld, Homosexualität, p. 742), have argued that it was not homosexuality, but their other offenses, which provoked the destruction of the Cities of the Plain. In Germany "sodomy" has long been used to denote bestiality, or sexual intercourse with animals, but this use of the term is quite unjustified. In English there is another term, "buggery," identical in meaning with sodomy, and equally familiar. "Bugger" (in French, bougre) is a corruption of "Bulgar," the ancient Bulgarian heretics having been popularly supposed to practise this perversion. The people of every country have always been eager to associate sexual perversions with some other country than their own.

The terms usually adopted in the present volume are "sexual inversion" and "homosexuality." The first is used more especially to indicate that the sexual impulse is organically and innately turned toward individuals of the same sex. The second is used more comprehensively of the general phenomena of sexual attraction between persons of the same sex, even if only of a slight and temporary character. It may be admitted that there is no precise warrant for any distinction of this kind between the two terms. The distinction in the phenomena is, however, still generally recognized; thus Iwan Bloch applies the term "homosexuality" to the congenital form, and "pseudo-homosexuality" to its spurious or simulated forms. Those persons who are attracted to both sexes are now usually termed "bisexual," a more convenient term than "psycho-sexual hermaphrodite," which was formerly used. There remains the normal person, who is "heterosexual."

Before approaching the study of sexual inversion in cases which we may investigate with some degree of scientific accuracy, there is interest in glancing briefly at the phenomena as they appear before us, as yet scarcely or at all differentiated, among animals, among various human races, and at various periods.

Among animals in a domesticated or confined state it is easy to find evidence of homosexual attraction, due merely to the absence of the other sex. This was known to the ancients; the Egyptians regarded two male partridges as the symbol of homosexuality, and Aristotle noted that two female pigeons would cover each other if no male was at hand. Buffon observed many examples, especially among birds. He found that, if male or female birds of various species—such as partridges, fowls, and doves—were shut up together, they would soon begin to have sexual relations among themselves, the males sooner and more frequently than the females. More recently Sainte-Claire Deville observed that dogs, rams, and bulls, when isolated, first became restless and dangerous, and then acquired a permanent state of sexual excitement, not obeying the laws of heat, and leading them to attempts to couple together; the presence of the opposite sex at once restored them to normal conditions. Bombarda of Lisbon states that in Portugal it is well known that in every herd of bulls there is nearly always one bull who is ready to lend himself to the perverted whims of his companions.

Chapter List for 'Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2'



Homosexuality Among Animals — Among the Lower Human Races — The Albanians — The Greeks — The Eskimos — The Tribes of the Northwest United States — Homosexuality Among Soldiers in Europe — Indifference Frequently Manifested by European Lower Classes — Sexual Inversion at Rome — Homosexuality in Prisons — Among Men of Exceptional Intellect and Moral Leaders — Muret — Michelangelo — Winkelmann — Homosexuality in English History — Walt Whitman — Verlaine — Burton's Climatic Theory of Homosexuality — The Racial Factor — The Prevalence of Homosexuality Today.

Westphal — Hössli — Casper — Ulrichs — Krafft-Ebing — Moll — Féré — Kiernan — Lydston — Raffalovich — Edward Carpenter — Hirschfeld.

Relatively Undifferentiated State of the Sexual Impulse in Early Life — The Freudian View — Homosexuality in Schools — The Question of Acquired Homosexuality — Latent Inversion — Retarded Inversion — Bisexuality — The Question of the Invert's Truthfulness — Histories.

Prevalence of Sexual Inversion Among Women — Among Women of Ability — Among the Lower Races — Temporary Homosexuality in Schools, etc. — Histories—Physical and Psychic Characteristics of Inverted Women — The Modern Development of Homosexuality Among Women.

Analysis of Histories — Race — Heredity — General Health — First Appearance of Homosexual Impulse — Sexual Precocity and Hyperesthesia — Suggestion and Other Exciting Causes of Inversion — Masturbation — Attitude Toward Women — Erotic Dreams — Methods of Sexual Relationship — Pseudo-sexual Attraction — Physical Sexual Abnormalities — Artistic and Other Aptitudes — Moral Attitude of the Invert.

What is Sexual Inversion? — Causes of Diverging Views — The Theory of Suggestion Unworkable — Importance of the Congenital Element in Inversion — The Freudian Theory — Embryonic Hermaphroditism as a Key to Inversion — Inversion as a Variation or "Sport" — Comparison with Color-blindness, Color-hearing, and Similar Abnormalities — What is an Abnormality? — Not Necessarily a Disease — Relation of Inversion to Degeneration — Exciting Causes of Inversion — Not Operative in the Absence of Predisposition.

The Prevention of Homosexuality — The Influence of the School — Coeducation — The Treatment of Sexual Inversion — Castration — Hypnotism — Associational Therapy — Psycho-analysis — Mental and Physical Hygiene — Marriage — The Children of Inverts — The Attitude of Society — The Horror Aroused by Homosexuality — Justinian — The Code Napoléon — The State of the Law in Europe Today — Germany — England — What Should be our Attitude Toward Homosexuality?

APPENDIX A. Homosexuality Among Tramps.

APPENDIX B. The School-friendships of Girls.

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