Studies in the psychology of sex, volume 2 by Havelock Ellis. - HTML preview

PLEASE NOTE: This is an HTML preview only and some elements such as links or page numbers may be incorrect.
Download the book in PDF, ePub, Kindle for a complete version.





It has been remarked by Professor Wilhelm Ostwald that the problem of

homosexuality is a problem left over to us by the Middle Ages, which for

five hundred years dealt with inverts as it dealt with heretics and

witches. To regard the matter thus is to emphasize its social and

humanitarian interest rather than its biological and psychological

significance. It is no doubt this human interest of the question of

inversion, rather than its scientific importance, great as the latter is,

which is mainly responsible for the remarkable activity with which the

study of homosexuality has been carried on during recent years.

The result has been that, during the fourteen years that have passed since

the last edition of this _Study_ was issued, so vast an amount of work has

been carried on in this field that the preparation of a new edition of the

book has been a long and serious task. Nearly every page has been

rewritten or enlarged and the Index of Authors consulted has more than

doubled in length. The original portions of the book have been still more

changed; sixteen new Histories have been added, selected from others in my

possession as being varied, typical, and full.

These extensive additions to the volume have rendered necessary various

omissions. Many of the shorter and less instructive Histories contained in

earlier editions have been omitted, as well as three Appendices which no

longer seem of sufficient interest to retain. In order to avoid undue

increase in the size of this volume, already much larger than in the

previous editions, a new Study of Eonism, or sexo-esthetic inversion, will

be inserted in vol. v, where it will perhaps be at least as much in place

as here.



It was not my intention to publish a study of an abnormal manifestation of

the sexual instinct before discussing its normal manifestations. It has

happened, however, that this part of my work is ready first, and, since I

thus gain a longer period to develop the central part of my subject, I do

not regret the change of plan.

I had not at first proposed to devote a whole volume to sexual inversion.

It may even be that I was inclined to slur it over as an unpleasant

subject, and one that it was not wise to enlarge on. But I found in time

that several persons for whom I felt respect and admiration were the

congenital subjects of this abnormality. At the same time I realized that

in England, more than in any other country, the law and public opinion

combine to place a heavy penal burden and a severe social stigma on the

manifestations of an instinct which to those persons who possess it

frequently appears natural and normal. It was clear, therefore, that the

matter was in special need of elucidation and discussion.

There can be no doubt that a peculiar amount of ignorance exists regarding

the subject of sexual inversion. I know medical men of many years' general

experience who have never, to their knowledge, come across a single case.

We may remember, indeed, that some fifteen years ago the total number of

cases recorded in scientific literature scarcely equaled those of British

race which I have obtained, and that before my first cases were published

not a single British case, unconnected with the asylum or the prison, had

ever been recorded. Probably not a very large number of people are even

aware that the turning in of the sexual instinct toward persons of the

same sex can ever be regarded as inborn, so far as any sexual instinct is

inborn. And very few, indeed, would not be surprised if it were possible

to publish a list of the names of sexually inverted men and women who at

the present time are honorably known in church, state, society, art, or

letters. It could not be positively affirmed of all such persons that they

were born inverted, but in most the inverted tendency seems to be

instinctive, and appears at a somewhat early age. In any case, however, it

must be realized that in this volume we are not dealing with subjects

belonging to the lunatic asylum, or the prison. We are concerned with

individuals who live in freedom, some of them suffering intensely from

their abnormal organization, but otherwise ordinary members of society. In

a few cases we are concerned with individuals whose moral or artistic

ideals have widely influenced their fellows, who know nothing of the

peculiar organization which has largely molded those ideals.

I am indebted to several friends for notes, observations, and

correspondence on this subject, more especially to one, referred to as

"Z.," and to another as "Q.," who have obtained a considerable number of

reliable histories for me, and have also supplied many valuable notes; to

"Josiah Flynt" (whose articles on tramps in _Atlantic Monthly_ and

_Harper's Magazine_ have attracted wide attention) for an appendix on

homosexuality among tramps; to Drs. Kiernan, Lydston, and Talbot for

assistance at various points noted in the text; and to Dr. K., an American

woman physician, who kindly assisted me in obtaining cases, and has also

supplied an appendix. Other obligations are mentioned in the text.

All those portions of the book which are of medical or medico-legal

interest, including most of the cases, have appeared during the last three

years in the _Alienist and Neurologist_, the _Journal of Mental Science_,

the _Centralblatt für Nervenheilkunde_, the _Medico-legal Journal_, and

the _Archivo delle Psicopatie Sessuale_. The cases, as they appear in the

present volume, have been slightly condensed, but nothing of genuine

psychological interest has been omitted. Owing to some delay in the

publication of the English edition of the work, a German translation by my

friend, Dr. Hans Kurella, editor of the _Centralblatt für

Nervenheilkunde_, has already appeared (1896) in the _Bibliothek für

Sozialwissenschaft_. The German edition contains some matter which has

finally been rejected from the English edition as of minor importance; on

the other hand, much has been added to the English edition, and the whole

carefully revised.

I have only to add that if it may seem that I have unduly ignored the

cases and arguments brought forward by other writers, it is by no means

because I wish to depreciate the valuable work done by my predecessors in

this field. It is solely because I have not desired to popularize the

results previously reached, but simply to bring forward my own results. If

I had not been able to present new facts in what is perhaps a new light, I

should not feel justified in approaching the subject of sexual inversion

at all.





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.





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--


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--


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--


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 Among Tramps.


The School-friendships of Girls.






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.

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.[1] 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


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


The terms usually adopted in the present volume are


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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] It may easily be observed how a cow

in heat exerts an exciting influence on other cows, impelling them to

attempt to play the bull's part. Lacassagne has also noted among young

fowls and puppies, etc., that, before ever having had relations with the

opposite sex, and while in complete liberty, they make hesitating attempts

at intercourse with their own sex.[5] This, indeed, together with similar

perversions, may often be observed, especially in puppies, who afterward

become perfectly normal. Among white rats, which are very sexual animals,

Steinach found that, when deprived of females, the males practise

homosexuality, though only with males with whom they have long associated;

the weaker rats play the passive part. But when a female is introduced

they immediately turn to her; although they are occasionally altogether

indifferent to sex, they never actually prefer their own sex.[6]

With regard to the playing of the female part by the weaker rats it is

interesting to observe that Féré found among insects that the passive part

in homosexual relations is favored by fatigue; among cockchafers it was

the male just separated from the female who would take the passive part

(on the rare occasions when homosexual relations occurred) with a fresh


Homosexuality appears to be specially common among birds. It was among

birds that it attracted the attention of the ancients, and numerous

interesting observations have been made in more recent times. Thus Selous,

a careful bird-watcher, finds that the ruff, the male of the _Machetes

pugnax_, suffers from sexual repression owing to the coyness of the female

(the reeve), and consequently the males often resort to homosexual

intercourse. It is still more remarkable that the reeves also, even in the

presence of the males, will court e