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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

be the function of the law in this matter to prevent violence, to protect 

the young, and to preserve public order and decency. Whatever laws are 

laid down beyond this must be left to the individuals themselves, to the 

moralists, and to social opinion. 

 

At the same time, and while such a modification in the law seems to be 

reasonable, the change effected would be less considerable than may appear 

at first sight. In a very large proportion, indeed, of cases boys are 

involved. It is instructive to observe that in Legludic's 246 cases 

(including victims and aggressors together) in France, 127, or more than 

half, were between the ages of 10 and 20, and 82, or exactly one-third, 

were between the ages of 10 and 14. A very considerable field of operation 

is thus still left for the law, whatever proportion of cases may meet with 

no other penalty than social opinion. 

 

That, however, social opinion--law or no law--will speak with no uncertain 

voice is very evident. Once homosexuality was primarily a question of 

population or of religion. Now we hear little either of its economic 

aspects or of its sacrilegiousness; it is for us primarily a disgusting 

abomination, i.e., a matter of taste, of esthetics; and, while unspeakably 

ugly to the majority, it is proclaimed as beautiful by a small minority. I 

do not know that we need find fault with this esthetic method of judging 

homosexuality. But it scarcely lends itself to legal purposes. To indulge 

in violent denunciation of the disgusting nature of homosexuality, and to 

measure the sentence by the disgust aroused, or to regret, as one English 

judge is reported to have regretted when giving sentence, that "gross 

indecency" is not punishable by death, is to import utterly foreign 

considerations into the matter. The judges who yield to this temptation 

would certainly never allow themselves to be consciously influenced on the 

bench by their political opinions. Yet esthetic opinions are quite as 

foreign to law as political opinions. An act does not become criminal 

because it is disgusting. To eat excrement, as Moll remarks, is extremely 

disgusting, but it is not criminal. The confusion which thus exists, even 

in the legal mind, between the disgusting and the criminal is additional 

evidence of the undesirability of the legal penalty for simple 

homosexuality. At the same time it shows that social opinion is amply 

adequate to deal with the manifestations of inverted sexuality. So much 

for the legal aspects of sexual inversion. 

 

But while there can be no doubt about the amply adequate character of the 

existing social reaction to all manifestations of perverted sexuality, the 

question still remains how far not merely the law, but also the state of 

public opinion, should be modified in the light of such a psychological 

study as we have here undertaken. It is clear that this public opinion, 

molded chiefly or entirely with reference to gross vice, tends to be 

unduly violent in its reaction. What, then, is the reasonable attitude of 

society toward the congenital sexual invert? It seems to lie in the 

avoidance of two extremes. On the one hand, it cannot be expected to 

tolerate the invert who flouts his perversion in its face, and assumes 

that, because he would rather take his pleasure with a soldier or a 

policeman than with their sisters, he is of finer clay than the vulgar 

herd. On the other, it might well refrain from crushing with undiscerning 

ignorance beneath a burden of shame the subject of an abnormality which, 

as we have seen, has not been found incapable of fine uses. Inversion is 

an aberration from the usual course of nature. But the clash of contending 

elements which must often mark the history of such a deviation results now 

and again--by no means infrequently--in nobler activities than those 

yielded by the vast majority who are born to consume the fruits of the 

earth. It bears, for the most part, its penalty in the structure of its 

own organism. We are bound to protect the helpless members of society 

against the invert. If we go farther, and seek to destroy the invert 

himself before he has sinned against society, we exceed the warrant of 

reason, and in so doing we may, perhaps, destroy also those children of 

the spirit which possess sometimes a greater worth than the children of 


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