Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION-1.1
INTRODUCTION-1.2
INTRODUCTION-1.3
INTRODUCTION-1.4
INTRODUCTION-1.5
INTRODUCTION-1.6
INTRODUCTION-1.7
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2
THE STUDY OF SEXUAL INVERSION
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-3
HISTORY-1-2-3-4
HISTORY-5
HISTORY-6
HISTORY-7-8
HISTORY-9
HISTORY-10-11-12
HISTORY-13-14
HISTORY-15
HISTORY-16-17-18-19
HISTORY-20
HISTORY-21 (begin)
HISTORY-21 (end)
HISTORY-22-23-24
HISTORY-25
HISTORY-26
HISTORY-27
HISTORY-28-29-30-31-32
HISTORY-33
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-3
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-4
HISTORY-34-35-36-37
HISTORY-38
HISTORY-39.1
HISTORY-39.2
HISTORY-39.3
HISTORY-39.4
FOOTNOTES
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-4
FOOTNOTES
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
CONCLUSIONS-1
CONCLUSIONS-2
CONCLUSIONS-3
CONCLUSIONS-4
FOOTNOTES
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B-1
APPENDIX B-2-3-4
INDEX OF AUTHORS

CHAPTER VI. 

 

THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION. 

 

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 analysis of these cases leads directly up to a question of the first 

importance: What is sexual inversion? Is it, as many would have us 

believe, an abominably acquired vice, to be stamped out by the prison? or 

is it, as a few assert, a beneficial variety of human emotion which should 

be tolerated or even fostered? Is it a diseased condition which qualifies 

its subject for the lunatic asylum? or is it a natural monstrosity, a 

human "sport," the manifestations of which must be regulated when they 

become antisocial? There is probably an element of truth in more than one 

of these views. Very widely divergent views of sexual inversion are 

largely justified by the position and attitude of the investigator. It is 

natural that the police-official should find that his cases are largely 

mere examples of disgusting vice and crime. It is natural that the asylum 

superintendent should find that we are chiefly dealing with a form of 

insanity. It is equally natural that the sexual invert himself should find 

that he and his inverted friends are not so very unlike ordinary persons. 

We have to recognize the influence of professional and personal bias and 

the influence of environment. 

 

There have been two main streams of tendency in the views regarding sexual 

inversion: one seeking to enlarge the sphere of the acquired (represented 

by Binet,--who, however, recognized predisposition,--Schrenck-Notzing, and 

recently the Freudians), the other seeking to enlarge the sphere of the 

congenital (represented by Krafft-Ebing, Moll, Fere, and today by the 

majority of authorities). There is, as usually happens, truth in both 

these views. But, inasmuch as those who represent the acquired view often 

deny any congenital element, we are called upon to discuss the question. 

The view that sexual inversion is entirely explained by the influence of 

early association, or of "suggestion," is an attractive one and at first 

sight it seems to be supported by what we know of erotic fetichism, by 

which a woman's hair, or foot, or even clothing, becomes the focus of a 

man's sexual aspirations. But it must be remembered that what we see in 

erotic fetichism is merely the exaggeration of a normal impulse; every 

lover is to some extent excited by his mistress's hair, or foot, or 

clothing. Even here, therefore, there is really what may fairly be 

regarded as a congenital element; and, moreover, there is reason to 

believe that the erotic fetichist usually displays the further congenital 

element of hereditary neurosis. Therefore, the analogy with erotic 

fetichism does not bring much help to those who argue that inversion is 

purely acquired. It must also be pointed out that the argument for 

acquired or suggested inversion logically involves the assertion that 

normal sexuality is also acquired or suggested. If a man becomes attracted 

to his own sex simply because the fact or the image of such attraction is 

brought before him, then we are bound to believe that a man becomes 

attracted to the opposite sex only because the fact or the image of such 

attraction is brought before him. Such a theory is unworkable. In nearly 

every country of the world men associate with men, and women with women; 

if association and suggestion were the only influential causes, then 

inversion, instead of being the exception, ought to be the rule throughout 

the human species, if not, indeed, throughout the whole zooelogical series. 

We should, moreover, have to admit that the most fundamental human 

instinct is so constituted as to be equally well adapted for sterility as 

for that propagation of the race which, as a matter of fact, we find 

dominant throughout the whole of life. We must, therefore, put aside 


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