Chronology of Sex Research

From William A. Percy
Jump to: navigation, search

Erwin J. Haeberle

Chronology of Sex Research

The following superficial, unavoidably incomplete and, in part, arbitrary chronology is meant, above all, to illustrate the interdisciplinary character of sexology. It may also indicate how its development is interwoven with the political and social movements and intellectual fashions of the various historical periods.


Predecessors (Antiquity - 1892)


Greek and Roman philosophers and physicians like Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Soranus and Galen, study, describe, and discuss questions of reproduction, contraception, human sexual behavior, sexual dysfunctions and their therapy, sexual education, sexual ethics, and sexual politics. The history of medicine records these and many subsequent developments of anatomical and physiological sex research. The Roman poet Ovid, with his "Ars Amatoria", offers a treatise on the art of lovemaking and seduction. The Indian scholar Mallanga Vatsayana writes his "Kama Sutra", a 'classical' manual of lovemaking.

Middle Ages

Islamic and Jewish scholars continue the scientific tradition. Ar-Razi (Rhases), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Ruschd (Averroes), Maimonides and others preserve and expand the sexological knowledge of antiquity. In China the 'classical' handbook on sex "Su-Nui-Jing" is written.

Early Modern Times

In Tunisia, Sheikh Nefzawi writes an Arabic love manual, "The Perfumed Garden", which resembles the "Kama Sutra", but is more detailed. The part of the book dealing with homosexual love is later suppressed and is now lost.

Italy is the birthplace of modern scientific anatomy. Leonardo da Vinci conducts anatomical studies by dissecting corpses, being one of the first to do so. He draws and describes some internal sex organs, coitus, and pregnancy.

Andreas Vesalius publishes the first exact human anatomy. Later anatomists continue the work and make new discoveries regarding the internal sex organs: Gabriele Fallopio describes the oviducts (Fallopian tubes), Regnier de Graaf the Graafian follicles and female ejaculation, Caspar Berthelsen (Bartholinus): Bartholin's glands, William Cowper: Cowper's glands.

Toward the end of the 16th century, the courtier Pierre de Bourdeille, Abbé de Brantome, writes his "Life of the Fair and Gallant Ladies", a literary memoir containing many entertaining 'case histories' of sexual behavior.

In 1642 the physician J.B. Sinibaldus publishes his "Genanthropoeia" in Rome. It is a comprehensive textbook dealing with anatomy and erotic stimulation.

In 1677 Anton van Leeuwenhoek sees, for the first time, the human sperm cell under the microscope.

The 18th Century

In 1735 the Swedish botanist Karl von Linné introduces his "methodus sexualis" i.e. a classification system in which plants are listed according to the character and number of their reproductive structures. This system (now obsolete) greatly impresses most contemporary scholars, but is also attacked as obscene by moralists, because it allows for the cohabitation of a male stamen with several female pistils in one and the same flower. This is considered a defamation of God who cannot possibly have created such depravity. Teachers are urged not to teach Linné's system in school.

The Lausanne physician Samuel Tissot, through his book "Onanism" (1760), becomes the most influential propagandist of the alleged dangers of masturbation. For the next 150 years, the fear of "masturbatory insanity" remains a dominant theme of disease prevention and adolescent sexual education.

The Genevan writer and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his influential book "Émile" (1762), demands the preservation of sexual 'innocence' in children and adolescents.

German educators like J. Oest and J. H. Campe devote themselves to the fight against masturbation.

The Marquis de Sade, imprisoned in the Bastille on a morals charge, secretly writes bizarre, outrageous and blasphemous masturbation phantasies ("The 120 Days of Sodom"), which also mock the "enlightened" belief that rational insight will make human beings reasonable, noble, and kind.

The English writer Mary Wollstonecraft, in 1792, publishes her "Vindication of the Rights of Woman", in which she demands female equality in education, private and public life, including politics. She unmasks the alleged 'natural' role of women in her time as the product of a patriarchal ideology.

The feminist goals had also earlier been supported by the Marquis de Condorcet in a publication of his own. However, they are soon abandoned by the reign of terror in the French Revolution and by the following political restoration.

The eminent physician John Hunter spells out the basic principles of sex therapy in the chapter 'Of Impotence' of his book "Treatise of the Venereal Disease".

Towards the end of the century, the English parson Thomas Malthus publishes his "Essay on the Principle of Population" (1798), in which he criticizes the optimism of the 'enlightened' writers of his time and warns against overpopulation, which will prevent mankind's lasting happiness.

The 19th Century

1822 - The Englishman Francis Place and others begin a "neomalthusian" campaign for contraception. In the course of the 19th century the most important representatives of this campaign are Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, Charles Knowlton, Charles Drysdale and Alice Vickery Drysdale. Their efforts to improve the lot of working women, who were exhausted by too many births, do not find the support of Marx und Engels. The German philosopher and librarian Friedrich Karl Forberg publishes in Latin his study "De Figuris Veneris" (Manual of Classical Erotology), a collection - with commentary - of ancient Greek and Roman texts referring to a great variety of sexual behaviors.

1826-27 - In Berlin, Wilhelm von Humboldt sketches the (unexecuted) plan for a "History of Dependency in the Human Race", which was also to contain a "History of Whoring" and a "History of the Procreative Drive". He provides a neutral classification of human sexual behavior according to its four possible objects: 1. Self, 2. other sex, 3. same sex, 4. animal.

1827 - Karl Ernst von Baer discovers the egg cell.

1837 - In Paris the first great study of prostitution is published: A. J. P. Parent- Duchatelet, "De la prostitution de la ville de Paris".

1838 - The Berlin physician Friedrich Adolf Wilde describes, for the first time, an occlusive pessary for women as a means of contraception. (It is reinvented in 1881 by the North-German physician W. A. Mensinga.)

1843 - The Ruthenian physician Heinrich Kaan publishes his study "Psychopathia sexualis", in which sins of the flesh are reinterpreted as diseases of the mind. Following this initiative, other physicians and psychiatrists also begin to use medieval theological terms of disapproval like "deviation", "aberration", and "perversion". Originally, these had referred to "false" religious beliefs or heresy; now they begin to turn into (pseudo)medical concepts. The whole process is known in cultural history as the 'medicalization of sin'.

1843-44 - The vulcanisation of rubber by Goodyear and Hancock makes the mass production of condoms possible.

1848 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convene the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The convention passes a Declaration of Sentiments demanding equal rights for women.

1857 - The French physician B. A. Morel advances the concept of physical and mental "degeneration" (also known as hereditary and progressive 'degeneracy'), which, among other things, supposedly explains sexual "misbehavior". This concept finds wide acceptance not only in science, but also with writers of fiction and indeed dominates much of the medical and socio-political debate until early in our century, when it is finally abandoned.

1864-79 - The German lawyer Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs publishes a series of pamphlets in which he declares "man-male love" to be inborn. Supposedly it is the natural, healthy expression of a "female soul in a male body" - a condition he calls "Uranism". Those characterized by this condition he calls "Uranians". By means of this hypothesis, Ulrichs hopes to demonstrate the injustice of punishing sexual contact between men: Uranians do what they do because of what they are. No legislator, however, should punish people for what they are. Above all, Ulrichs wants to prevent the extension of the unreformed Prussian law against "unnatural vice" to all German states. This threatens to occur as a result of German unification under Prussian leadership. (In Bavaria, Württemberg and Hannover the old law had already been abolished.) Ulrichs, too, receives no support from Marx and Engels, who privately joke about him.

1865 - In the city of Brno (today Czech Republic), the monk Gregor Mendel lays the foundation of modern genetics. His "Experiments in Plant Hybridization" describe the laws of heredity, but the true significance of Mendel's discoveries remains unrecognized by contemporary scientists.

1869 - The Austrian-Hungarian writer Karoly Maria Kertbeny (orig. Benkert), in an anonymous pamphlet addressed to the Prussian Minister of Justice, coins the expression "homosexuality", meaning more or less the same as Ulrichs' "Uranism". The "Uranians" are now called "homosexuals" by Kertbeny. He, too, calls for law reform.

The Prussian Minister of Justice, who personally favors decriminalization, commissions the "Royal Prussian Medical Deputation" (members: a.o. Virchow, Housselle, Bardeleben) to issue an expert opinion on the justification of punishing same-sex behavior. The eminent scientists refuse to recognize this as a medical problem, and they also declare themselves incompetent in matters of morality. In any case, they find no justification for the law. Thus, they shift the responsibility away from science to politics. From now on, the legislature must rely on public disapproval of same-sex eroticism as the only justification for the law.

John Stuart Mill publishes "The Subjection of Women". The book argues for the legal and social equality of the sexes. His unacknowledged co-author is his wife Harriet.

1870 - The Berlin psychiatrist Carl Westphal publishes the first medical case history of same-sex erotic attraction in his journal "Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten". It concerns a woman who feels attracted to the female students in her sister's boarding school. Westphal concludes that she suffers from a psychopathological condition for which he coins a new term: "contrary sexual feeling". The article prompts numerous other psychiatrists, including von Krafft-Ebing, to submit similar case histories of their own. Thus, within a very short time, the 'condition' of loving persons of the same sex comes to be viewed as a psychiatric illness.

1872-85 - The Italian physician and anthropologist Paolo Mantegazza publishes a three- volume work on sexual questions "Trilogia dell' amore" (Hygiene of Love; Physiology of Love; Anthropology of Love), which introduces a certain moral relativism with its many cross-cultural observations.

1873 - The American moral crusader Anthony Comstock persuades the US congress to pass a strict new law against "obscenity". As a result, it becomes illegal even for physicians to inform their patients about contraception. Comstock himself is put in charge of enforcing the law and succeeds in having many physicians imprisoned. Thus, for many decades, contraception becomes a taboo subject in the United States.

1879 - Albert Neisser discovers the gonoccocus (the bacterium causing gonorrhea).

1886 The Austrian psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing publishes his "Psychopathia sexualis", a collection of case histories documenting strange and unusual sexual practices. These are supposedly symptomatic of certain "sexual diseases of the mind". Among other things, he introduces the concepts of "sadism" (after the Marquis de Sade) and "masochism" (after the then still living Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch).

1892 - The young American physician Clelia Mosher begins a survey among educated middle-class women concerning sexual attitudes and experiences. The results remain unpublished until 1980. They document an unexpected openness and sensuality of the women who answered the questionnaires.

Pioneers (1896 - 1936)

1896 - The Italian psychiatrist Pasquale Penta edits the first scientific journal devoted entirely to sexual questions: "Archivio delle Psicopatie Sessuali".

The English private scholar Havelock Ellis begins his "Studies in the Psychology of Sex" (last volume 1928). Since they cannot be published in England, they appear in the USA and (in translation) in Germany. The English reading public first comes to know Ellis mostly through his "harmless" collection of essays On Life and Sex.

1897 - The Berlin physician Magnus Hirschfeld founds the "Scientific Humanitarian Committee", the world's first "Gay Rights" organization. Its goal is the repeal of the German anti-homosexual law § 175 which punishes sexual contact between men. For the committee Hirschfeld edits the "Yearbook for Intermediate Sexual Stages" (1899-1923). (The centennial of the committee - 1997 - is celebrated in Berlin with a large exhibition "One Hundred Years of Gay Activism"

Hirschfeld's rival, the Berlin physician Albert Moll, publishes his "Investigations Concerning the Libido Sexualis".

1902 - At the initiative of Alfred Blaschko, Albert Neisser and others the "German Society for the Fight Against Venereal Diseases" is founded in Berlin.

1903 - The French writer Rémy de Gourmont publishes his "Physique de l'amour" (The Natural Philosophy of Love), a popular book containing descriptions and interpretations of animal sexual behavior.

1903-04 - Magnus Hirschfeld begins his statistical surveys on homosexuality. As a result of complaints, they are soon terminated by legal action.

1904 - The endocrinologist Eugen Steinach in Prague, later in Vienna, studies the effects of sex hormones on the development of the animal and human body. By means of gonadal transplantation, he succeeds in feminizing male rats and masculinizing female rats.

In Vienna, the ethnologist Friedrich Salomon Krauss begins publication of his yearbook "Anthropophyteia". This work (10 main volumes plus a number of complementary volumes) contains a wealth of folkloristic material about sex which Krauss had personally collected in the Balkans. He thus had become a pioneer of "ethno-sexology" whose work was greatly appreciated by Sigmund Freud, Iwan Bloch, Magnus Hirschfeld, Franz Boas and many others. However, by 1913, as a result of various obscenity trials, he is financially ruined, and his further career, even as a private scholar, is seriously curtailed.

1905 - Fritz Schaudinn discovers the spirochete Treponema pallidum, a bacterial organism which causes syphilis.

The Swiss psychiatrist Auguste Forel publishes his book "The Sexual Question" which raises demands that are revolutionary for its time (abolition of most sex laws, marriage for same-sex couples etc.). Forel deliberately combines medical and socio-political viewpoints. His well-intended proposal to practice "eugenics" (i.e. the voluntary genetic improvement of the human race by avoiding the transmission of hereditary diseases) unfortunately carries some (then unrecognized) seeds of totalitarian "racial hygiene" policies such as those later enacted by the Nazis.

Helene Stöcker and others found the Association for the Protection of Mothers ("Bund für Mutterschutz"), which fights for the protection of unmarried mothers and for the legal equality of "illegitimate" children. Her supporter, the dermatologist Max Marcuse, later becomes the editor of the "Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft" (Journal for Sexology).

The Viennese physician Sigmund Freud publishes his "Three Essays on the Theory of Sex". In this work he describes the "normal" development of human sexuality as well as the "perversions", i.e. behaviors which do not correspond to the norm. His theory is based on the doctrine of psychoanalysis (i.e. examination of the mind or soul). According to Freud, the "sex drive" undergoes a process of "maturation" in which various "partial drives" become subordinated to the goal of mature "genitality". The three main phases of his process are: 1. Oral phase, 2. anal phase, 3. phallic phase. In late childhood there also is a "latency phase" in which the sex drive lies dormant until it reawakens during puberty.

1906 - Paul Ehrlich and his Japanese collaborator Sahachiro Hata develop the first effective medical treatment of syphilis (by means of a compound called "Salvarsan").

The American anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman, an early advocate of women's rights and birth control, founds her magazine "Mother Earth" which offers political and philosophical essays as well as literary contributions by modern writers of fiction.

1907 - The Berlin physician Iwan Bloch publishes his study "The Sexual Life of Our Time". In it he demands the establishment of sexology ("Sexualwissenschaft") as a scientific enterprise in its own right, combining the methods and insights of both the natural and the cultural sciences. What Mantegazza had still called "love" (amore), from now on permanently turns into "sexuality" in the scientific literature.

1908 - Magnus Hirschfeld edits the first Journal of Sexology ("Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft"). As a monthly publication, it survives for only one year (12 issues). It contains not only medical contributions, but articles written by a wide spectrum of scientists and scholars, from anthropologists and criminologists to philologists and historians.

1909 - Albert Moll publishes his study "The Sexual Life of the Child", disregarding Freud's psychoanalytic theory, which he considers to be unscientific. In this book, Moll for the first time proposes a 4-stage description of the human sexual response: 1. the onset of voluptuousness, 2. the equable voluptuous sensation, 3. the voluptuous acme, 4. the sudden decline.

The Japanese military physician and writer Ogai Mori publishes his autobiographical "Vita Sexualis", in which he describes his own adolescent sexual experiences in a detached and sober, even clinical style. (He also records the homosexual affairs of his classmates without passing any moral judgment.) The book is banned shortly after publication.

1910 - Magnus Hirschfeld introduces the term "transvestites", distinguishing them for the first time from homosexuals.

1911 - Albert Moll publishes his "Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften" (Handbook of Sexual Sciences), which contains articles written not only by himself, but also by other sexologists, such as Havelock Ellis.

1912 - Iwan Bloch begins the publication of his "Handbuch der gesamten Sexualwissenschaft in Einzeldarstellungen" (Handbook of Sexology in its Entirety Presented in Separate Studies). The first volume "Prostitution, vol. I" is written by himself, the second "Homosexuality in Men and Women" (1914) by Hirschfeld, a third volume by Bloch ("Prostitution, vol. II") appears posthumously. Bloch's untimely death in 1922 ends the entire ambitious project.

1913 - In Berlin, Magnus Hirschfeld, Iwan Bloch, Albert Eulenburg and others found the first Medical Society for Sexology and Eugenics ("Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Sexualwissenschaft und Eugenik").

Albert Moll founds the International Society for Sex Research ("Internationale Gesellschaft für Sexualforschung"), also in Berlin.

1914 - Magnus Hirschfeld publishes his monumental study (1067 pages) "Homosexuality in Men and Women ("Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes").

Iwan Bloch and Albert Eulenburg once again found the Journal for Sexology ("Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenchaft").

In the USA, the Rockefeller family takes an interest in sex research and begins to look for ways to support it. Over the next forty years, it makes substantial amounts of money available, first through the Bureau of Social Hygiene and later through the National Research Council (Division of Medical Sciences - Committee for Research in Problems of Sex). However, the scientists in charge are uncomfortable with the subject matter, refuse to investigate it, and instead use the funds for "uncontroversial" basic biological research. They also fail to set up a sexological library and collection or to publish a sexological journal or even a bibliography. Moreover, they refuse to invite Havelock Ellis or to support or even meet the exiled Magnus Hirschfeld and his fellow sexologists Wilhelm Reich, Ernst Gräfenberg, Bernhard Schapiro, and Hans Lehfeldt when they come to the US. Eventually, the Rockefeller Foundation provides at least some funds for the work of Alfred C. Kinsey. However, this support is all too soon withdrawn under pressure from conservative political and religious forces.

1916 - Margaret Sanger and her sister open a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. It is almost immediately closed by the authorities as a "public nuisance". The Sanger sisters are sentenced to 30 days in the workhouse for having violated state obscenity laws. In spite of these and similar difficulties, Margaret Sanger remains active for many decades in the family planning movement, becoming its most influential organizer not only in the US, but also internationally. For excerpts from her autobiography, click here.

1919 - Magnus Hirschfeld opens the first "Institute for Sexology" in Berlin.

1921 - In Prague, the university creates a chair of sexual pathology for the dermatologist Prof. Pecirka as a first step towards establishing a sexological institute. Pecirka had trained with Hirschfeld in Berlin, and, after his unexpected death, the university in 1929 - 1930 sends another young dermatologist, Josef Hynie, to Hirschfeld's institute for training. Hynie succeeds in completing the task left unfinished by his predecessor. He retires as the director of the university's Sexological Institute in 1974.

In Moscow, the educator Vera Schmidt founds a children's home. Following psychonanalytical principles, she practices an anti-authoritarian, positive sex education. This also means no interference with masturbation and mutual sexual exploration.

1923 - Max Marcuse publishes his "Handwörterbuch der Sexualwissenschaft" (Hand Dictionary of Sexology) which contains original contributions of many prominent writers, including Freud.

1926 - In Berlin, Albert Moll organizes the I. International Congress for Sex Research. The opening session is held at the Reichstag (German national parliament). A second congress follows 1930 in London.

The Dutch gynecologist Theodor Hendrik van de Velde publishes his book "Ideal Marriage", a very popular work of adult sex education which tries to encourage men and women to shed their inhibitions within their sexual relationships and to develop their sensuality.

Magnus Hirschfeld begins the publication of his 5-volume "Sexual Knowledge" (Geschlechtskunde) whose last volume appears in 1930.

1928 - Magnus Hirschfeld, supported by the Danish physician J. H. Leunbach, organizes a congress in Copenhagen and, on that occasion, founds the World League for Sexual Reform ("Weltliga für Sexualreform"). Presidents are Hirschfeld, Havelock Ellis and Auguste Forel. (Additional Congresses of the League: London 1929, Vienna 1930 and Brno 1932.) Among other things, the League demands the legal and social equality of the sexes, the right to contraception and sex education, reform of sex legislation (decriminalization of 'victimless' sex crimes).

1929 - The ethnologist Bronislaw Malinowski publishes his work "The Sexual Life of Savages in North-West Melanesia". The less repressive sexuality described here - and in later books by Margaret Mead and others - offers an interesting and influential contrast to "Western" attitudes.

Katherine B. Davies publishes her massive study "Factors in the Sex Lives of Twenty-Two Hundred Women". The book documents, in the majority of cases, satisfying regular sexual intercourse, masturbation before and after marriage as well as the use of contraceptives.

The Spanish physician and endocrinologist Gregorio Marañon publishes his "Los estados intersexuales". Amended and expanded, it becomes the basis for his most important work "La evolucion de la sexualidad humana y los estados intersexuales" 1930 (The Evolution of Human Sexuality and the Intersexual Stages).

In Bangkok, the French judge René Guyon, who, earlier in the century, had been called to Thailand by the Thai government, begins his radical "Studies in Sexual Ethics". He demands the right to sexual fulfillment for all women and men as long as they do not violate the rights of others. Of the 9 volumes written until 1944, only 6 are published in French (2 also in English). In the 1940's, Guyon also attacks the repressive sexual policies of the League of Nations, and he repeats his criticism in 1951, when he accuses the United Nations of betraying the idea of sexual rights in their Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Japanese sexological pioneer Senji Yamamoto is assassinated by a right-wing extremist.

The English philosopher Bertrand Russell publishes his book "Marriage and Morals", which argues for more and better sex education, the right to premarital and extramarital intercourse and divorce on demand for childless couples. With his wife, Dora Russell, he also runs a coeducational school in which the young students are given considerable freedom. All of this is later used against him in the USA where he is denied a professorship on the grounds that it would amount to establishing a "chair of indecency".

1930 - The English physician Helena Wright publishes her book "The Sex Factor in Marriage". Active in the movement for family planning, she remains a leading figure in British sexual medicine until long after World War II.

1930-32 - Magnus Hirschfeld, whose public appearances are subject to increasing Nazi harassment, is no longer safe in Germany. He therefore begins a trip around the world, introducing his new science in hundreds of lectures (USA, Japan, China, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Palestine, Greece). He does not return to Germany.

1931 - The gynecologist Robert Latou Dickinson, in collaboration with Laura Beam, publishes his study "A Thousand Marriages". This study, based on questionnaires, analyzes the sex lives of one thousand married women, finding that half of them do not find sexual satisfaction in their marriages. Dickinson, an ardent supporter of contraception, also uses his considerable influence in helping other sexologists.

1933 - On May 6, a Nazi goon squad plunders Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexology, which is then promptly closed by the authorities. The library is publicly burned four days later together with the books of other "Un-German" authors like Freud, Brecht, Feuchtwanger, Werfel and Stefan Zweig. Most sexologists lose their opportunities to work, because they are Jewish. They flee into exile. Hirschfeld dies 1935 in France, Max Marcuse, Ernst Klimowsky, and Felix Theilhaber escape to Palestine, Bernhard Schapiro via Switzerland to the USA and finally to Israel, Sigmund Freud and Charlotte Wolff to England, Max Hodann to Sweden, Wilhelm Reich first to Scandinavia, then to the USA, Ludwig Levy-Lenz to Egypt, Hans Lehfeldt and Ernst Gräfenberg to the USA, Arthur Kronfeld to the USSR, Eugen Steinach and Herbert Lewandowski to Switzerland. Friedrich Salomon Krauss dies in Vienna in 1938 before the "Anschluss". Albert Moll remains in Berlin. He is spared the transportation to one of the death camps, because he dies of natural causes in 1939.

In New York, the American science fiction writer and publisher Hugo Gernsback (an immigrant from Luxemburg) founds the popular magazine "Sexology" which tries to educate its readers about the complexities of human sexuality (reproduction, hormones, transvestism, fetishism, homosexuality, STDs, etc.). The magazine is widely dismissed as pornographic by the American intellectual establishment.

1936 - Wilhelm Reich publishes his expanded work "Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf" (first version 1930; later rewritten in the USA as "The Sexual Revolution"). Reich combines psychoanalysis and the philosophy of Marx. However, gradually biological interests move to forefront. Typical for this later phase of his work is the book "The Function of the Orgasm" 1942, in which he claims the discovery of an "orgone energy". Indeed, he founds a special orgone energy research institute. Reich also again proposes a 4- stage model of the human sexual response: 1. mechanical tension, 2. bio-electric charge, 3. bio-electric discharge, 4. mechanical relaxation.

Modern Sex Research (1938 - 2001)

1938 - Alfred C. Kinsey, a zoologist at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, USA begins his mostly sociological studies of human sexual behavior.

1945-46 - After many years of pioneering work for family planning in Scandinavia, the Swedisch social and sexual reformer Elise Ottesen-Jensen lays the groundwork for the founding of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

1947 - Alfred C. Kinsey founds the "Institute for Sex Research" (today called Kinsey Institute) at Indiana University.

The Japanese researcher Shin'ichi Asayama begins his statistical surveys of the sexual behavior of Japanese students. He repeats such surveys every five years for over 30 years, eventually reaching a total of over 20.000 respondents.

In the USA penicillin (discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming) and other antibiotica are, on a grand scale, used to cure sexually transmitted diseases.

1948 - Alfred C. Kinsey and his collaborators Wardell B. Pomeroy and Clyde E. Martin publish their first great study "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male".

In Bombay, the physician A. P. Pillay edits the "The International Journal of Sexology", incorporating the older journal "Marriage and Hygiene", first issued in 1934. For several years, Dr. Pillay's journal has no competition in the field. Among other things, in 1950 it publishes Ernst Gräfenberg's pathbreaking article on female ejaculation.

In London, the Australian-born gynecologist Norman Haire begins the publication of "The Journal of Sex Education", a scientific journal for the educated general public. Haire, a friend of Hirschfeld's and a former leader in the World League for Sexual Reform, is also the founder and president of a "Sex Education Society", which offers public lectures.

1949 - Simone de Beauvoir publishes her historical and socio-cultural study "Le deuxième sexe" (The Second Sex), which demands an end to the traditional discrimination against women. It becomes an important literary milestone for a newly awakened feminist movement.

1950 - In New York, the gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg, who had escaped his persecution by the Nazis in his hometown Berlin, again describes the phenomenon of female ejaculation and calls attention to a female erogenous zone in connection with the paraurethral glands - the so-called Gräfenberg spot (G-spot).

Hans Giese in Frankfurt/M. founds the "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sexualforschung" (German Society for Sex Research).

1951 - Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach publish their study "Patterns of Sexual Behavior". The authors compare nearly 200 human societies with regard to their sexual behavior. By implication, the book further undermines the traditional Western moral absolutism in sexual matters.

The first hormonal contraceptive is developed. After being tested for several years, "the pill" becomes widely available beginning in 1960.

In Los Angeles, the first American homosexual liberation organization, the "Mattachine Society", is founded. It soon develops chapters in other parts of the US. Some of its members begin to publish the first American gay rights journal "ONE".

1953 - Alfred C. Kinsey and his collaborators Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin and Paul H. Gebhard publish "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female". Both "Kinsey Reports" are based on personal interviews (not questionnaires!) with over 12.000 individuals from all over the USA. The extent of demonstrated premarital and extramarital intercourse, the sexual capacities of women as well as the extent of homosexual behavior lead to vehement attacks by conservative religious and political leaders. As a result of this pressure, Kinsey is denied further financial support for his research.

The physician Harry Benjamin, a friend of Hirschfeld's, who, in 1913, had moved to New York from Berlin, introduces the term "transsexuals", distinguishing them for the first time from the transvestites. 13 years later, he publishes the first book on the subject: "The Transsexual Phenomenon".

1955 - The American medical psychologist John Money introduces the distinction between "sex" and "gender". This contributes to a new and more sophisticated discussion of the differences between men and women. The distinction gains increasing importance in sexology and also in Women's Studies.

In San Francisco, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon and other women found the first Lesbian emancipation organization "The Daughters of Bilitis". (The name "Bilitis" was taken from a work by the French author Pierre Louys, The Songs of Bilitis (1894) supposedly translated from a song cycle by an ancient Greek poetess and rival of Sappho.) Their journal "The Ladder" becomes one of the most influential vehicles for their cause in the US.

1957 - The New York gynecologist Hans Lehfeldt, who had escaped from the Nazis in Berlin, founds, together with others, the American "Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality" (SSSS).

1960 - The American sociologist Ira Reiss in his book "Premarital Sexual Standards in America" rejects the notion of a biological sex drive, stressing instead human "social heredity". He also predicts the soon following "sexual revolution" in the US.

1963 - The American Betty Friedan publishes her book "The Feminine Mystique", which articulates a rebellion against the imposed traditional role of the housewife. Three years later, Friedan co-founds the "National Organization for Women" (NOW).

1964 - In New York, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS) is founded by the physician Mary Steichen Calderone and others. This membership organization is devoted to sexuality education for people of all ages and backgrounds. It maintains a research library and publishes a bimonthly journal, the "SIECUS Report".

1965 - First issue of the "Journal of Sex Research", a publication of the SSSS.

The institute founded by Alfred C. Kinsey publishes "Sex Offenders: An Analysis of Types". The authors are Paul H. Gebhard, John Gagnon, Wardell B. Pomeroy and Cornelia Christenson.

1966 - The American gynecologist William H. Masters and Virginia Johnson publish their study of the physiological processes during sexual activity: "Human Sexual Response". After Moll and Reich, they again suggest a 4-phase model of the sexual response. 1. excitement, 2. plateau, 3. orgasm, 4. resolution.

1967 - The "American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists" (AASECT) is founded. In the absence of American governmental standards, this non-profit professional organization certifies sexual health practitioners as qualified in their respective fields. The AASECT example is later followed in Japan, India, and South America.

1968 - The British scholar Mary McIntosh investigates "The Homosexual Role", coming to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a definite biological or psychological condition of certain individuals, which distinguishes them from everyone else, but rather a label attached to them by others and/or by themselves. It is a socially constructed role which is played voluntarily or involuntarily by some men and women, but not by others whose actual sexual behavior may not be much different. Ideas such as this eventually lead to a dispute between "essentialists" (mostly natural scientists), who continue to believe in some essential homosexuality, and "constructionists" (mostly social scientists), who no longer share this belief.

1970 - Masters and Johnson publish their study of sexual dysfunctions: "Human Sexual Inadequacy". The book becomes the basis for a new behavioral "sex therapy".

1971 - The American psychiatrist Richard Green founds the "International Academy of Sex Research". The Academy publishes the journal "Archives of Sexual Behavior".

Rolf Gindorf founds the "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozialwissenschaftliche Sexualforschung" (DGSS = German Society for Social-Scientific Sex Research).

1973 - The American sociological sex researchers John Gagnon and William Simon publish their book "Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality". They describe sexual behavior as 'scripted' behavior i.e. as a pattern of conduct following a certain 'script' or rather an interactively acquired individual combination of several, sometimes contradictory scripts provided by social institutions, family, friends, peer groups etc. Such scripts provide models, patterns, or definitions of what is or is not 'sexual' in a particular situation, how to interpret it and how to deal with it. Since the individual is often faced with competing or even mutually exclusive sexual scripts, personal conflicts of various kinds in this area are common. With these and similar arguments, the authors dismiss the once popular notion of a universal human 'sex drive'.

The American Psychiatric Association strikes the diagnosis "homosexuality" from its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual". Thus, literally with the stroke of a pen, the label of illness is removed from millions of men and women. From that moment on, 'homosexuals' are healthy again - the greatest and fastest mass cure in medical history.

1974 - The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva convenes a meeting of sexologists and experts in public health. As a result, it publishes a report in the following year: "Education and Treatment in Human Sexuality: The Training of Health Professionals". The report recommends, among other things, that sexology should become an autonomous discipline in the education and training of health professionals.

At the initiative of Hans Lehfeldt, the first World Congress of Sexology is organized in Paris. Other such congresses follow in Montréal (1976), Rome (1978), Mexico City (1979), Jerusalem (1981), Washington, DC. (1983), New Delhi (1985), Heidelberg (1987), Caracas (1989), Amsterdam (1991), Rio de Janeiro (1993), Yokohama (1995), and Valencia (1997). The next congresses will be held in Hong Kong (1999) and Paris (2001).

First issue of the "Journal of Homosexuality", edited by Charles Silverstein. Within a few years, its editorship passes into the hands of the psychologist John P. De Cecco who turns it into the leading journal of research on sexual orientation that it remains to this day.

In Great Britain, the Association of Sexual and Marital Therapists is formed, later to become the British Association for Sexual and Marital Therapy (BASMT).

1976 - At the request of the American Humanist Association, the sex educator Lester A. Kirkendall formulates a "A Bill of Sexual Rights and Responsibilities". The statement is signed by many prominent American and foreign sexologists.

In San Francisco, "The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality" is founded, a state-approved private graduate school which offers state-approved Master's and Doctoral degrees in sexology. Its Academic Dean is Wardell B. Pomeroy, formerly the closest collaborator of Alfred C. Kinsey's.

1977 - In England, Charlotte Wolff, a Berlin-born therapist who had escaped the Nazis, publishes her pioneering book "Bisexuality: A Study".

1978 - In Rome the World Association for Sexology (WAS) is founded. It assumes the responsibility of organizing the subsequent World Congresses of Sexology.

1981 - In Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, the first cases of a new, deadly infectious disease are reported. It soon becomes known under the name of AIDS (HIV Infection), and it spreads all over the globe. Since the disease is sexually transmissible, it has enormous implications for both sexual behavior and the study of sex.

1986 - The "American Board of Sexology" (ABS) is organized in Washington, D.C. This professional organization awards the status of diplomate to sexologists who meet its rigorous standards. 1988 - First issue of the new German "Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung" (Journal for Sex Research). 1989 - The "European Federation of Sexology" (EFS) is founded in Geneva. 1990 - The "Asian Federation for Sexology" (AFS) is founded in Hongkong on the occasion of the "First Conference of Sexuality in Asia".

The "American Academy of Clinical Sexologists" is organized in Washington, D.C. This sister organization of the American Board of Sexology provides professional recognition for qualified physicians, sex therapists and sex counselors.

At the Charité and at the Reichstag the III. "International Berlin Conference for Sexology", organized by the DGSS and colleagues from Humboldt- University, unites participants from 20 countries. (The first two comparable conferences had been organized by Hirschfeld in 1921 and Moll in 1926). This meeting is also the 10th national conference of the DGSS, which awards its newly created Magnus Hirschfeld Medals for Sexual Science and Sexual Reform to Ernest Borneman (Austria) and Herman Musaph (Netherlands).

1991 - The Indian physician Prakash Kothari organizes the "First International Conference on Orgasm" in New Delhi.

1992 - IV. "International Berlin Conference for Sexology", again organized by the DGSS and colleagues from Humboldt University. This meeting is also the 11th national conference of the DGSS, which awards its Magnus Hirschfeld Medals for Sexual Science and Sexual Reform to John De Cecco (USA) and Imre Aszódi (Hungary).

The Shanghai sociologist Dalin Liu and his collaborators publish their voluminous study "Sexual Behavior in Modern China: Report of the Nation-Wide Survey of 20 000 Men and Women". The book (written and printed in Chinese) is presented at the Second Asian Conference of Sexology (American edition published in 1997).

"First Conference of the European Federation of Sexology" (EFS) in Taormina.

1994 - V. "International Berlin Conference for Sexology", again organized by the DGSS and colleagues from Humboldt University, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the opening of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexology (founded in 1919). This meeting is also the 12th national conference of the DGSS.

The federal Robert Koch Institute in Berlin opens its Archive for Sexology in a suburb of Berlin, thereby reviving the city's sexological tradition, especially that of Hirschfeld's institute. The Archive is accessible to the public at regular openig hours.

Third Asian Conference of Sexology in New Delhi.

1995 - In collaboration with the Robert Koch Institute, Archive for Sexology, the sexological collection of Dalin Liu, Shanghai, is shown in Berlin under the title "5.000 Years of Sexual Culture in China".

XII. World Congress of Sexology in Yokohama, Japan.

1996 - The Archive for Sexology of the Robert Koch Institute moves to the center of Berlin.

The Institute for Sexology and Sexual Medicine is founded at the Charité Berlin.

The Asian Federation for Sexology (AFS) holds its IV. Asian Conference of Sexology in Taipei.

1997 - XIII. World Congress of Sexology and Human Rights in Valencia, Spain. The congress issues a declaration of sexual rights.

VI. International Berlin Conference for Sexology: "100 years of Gay Liberation". From May to August, the Academy of Arts in Berlin shows an exhibition "100 Years of Gay Activism".

1998 - The Asian Federation for Sexology (AFS) holds its V. Asian Conference of Sexology in Seoul, Korea.

1999 - The World Association of Sexology (WAS) holds its XIV. World Congress of Sexology in Hong Kong.

2000 - The European Federation of Sexology (EFS) holds its 5th Congress in Berlin.

2001 - Social Science Conference on Human Sexuality in Dubrovnik, Croatia. 15th World Congress of Sexology in Paris.

Personal tools