Psychopathia Sexualis: Exploring the History of Sexual Deviation

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Although the Modern Age has brought more liberation to humans with regards to the topic of sex, societal taboos still significantly affect the dispassionate knowledge of sex. Investigations have been discontinuous and scattered, findings contradictory, and samples small and often not directly comparable.


Taking the meaning of psychopathia sexualis literally from its origins in Greek, psyche + pathos, meaning disease; and Latin, sexus, meaning male or female, it connotes a "mental disease characterized by sexual perversion" (Mosby's Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Dictionary, 2002).
Indeed, we recognize that in order to conduct a scientific study of sex is linked to medical and social, not just individual moral repercussions. These became more apparent as urban spaces enabled semi-visible homosexual subcultures and other manifestations of "deviancy," providing many opportunities for sexual gratification away from its "legitimate" locus within marriage. By the late nineteenth century, several factors facilitated the emergence of a sexual science. These were a growing awareness of the serious consequences of venereal diseases and the role of accepted sexual mores (the "double standard") in disseminating them; anthropological reports destabilizing assumptions of one "natural" pattern of sexual behavior; and increasing refusal among homosexuals to accept stigmatization, with a search for validatory models; and the influence of Darwinism and evolutionary theory in which sexual selection played the central role (Hall, 2003).
Throughout history, studies about "unconventional sex" had been numerous. ...
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