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social sciences

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Krafft-Ebing, Richard von (1840-1902)  
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Interestingly enough, Krafft-Ebing used the term "heterosexual," which he coined, as a category of perversion equivalent to, but distinct from, "homosexual." The moral argument against homosexuality rested upon its being an act of sex without possibility of reproduction and therefore contrary to nature. Krafft-Ebing applied the term heterosexual to refer to instances of men and women engaging in sex when, due to contraception, age, or other conditions, there was little or no chance of reproduction and therefore contrary to nature.

Krafft-Ebing retired from teaching at the age of sixty-one. However, he continued a full regimen of writing and editing, as well as seeing patients privately. He died within a year of his retirement, on December 22, 1902.

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Although Freud was influenced by Krafft-Ebing's work, the Freudian model of homosexuality reverted to the view that it was a disease, an aberration to be treated. Freud's concept shaped the views of twentieth-century psychiatry far more than Krafft-Ebing's. It was not until the latter half of the century that Krafft-Ebing's theories regained general acceptance among the medico-psychiatric community.

Alex Hunnicutt

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social sciences >> Overview:  Etiology

The earliest etiologies--or theories of causation--of homosexuality date from European antiquity, but the search for a universal etiology has intensified as homosexual behavior has come under the scrutiny of science.

social sciences >> Overview:  Germany

While Germany, until recently, never officially accepted or welcomed members of the glbtq community, German culture and homosexuality have a long and significant history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sexology

Sexology, the study of sex or of the interactions between the sexes, first emerged as a field of intellectual inquiry in the second half of the nineteenth century; its practitioners were the first to identify homosexuality as such and to speculate about its prevalence and etiology.

social sciences >> Overview:  Vienna

The capital of Austria, Vienna is also the country's largest city, as well as its political, economic, and cultural center, and the undisputed hub of Austrian gay and lesbian life.

social sciences >> Freud, Sigmund

The founder of psychoanalysis and the discoverer of the unconscious, Sigmund Freud initiated a fundamental transformation in the self-understanding of Western men and women, including especially the role of sexuality.

social sciences >> Hirschfeld, Magnus

German-born Magnus Hirschfeld deserves recognition as a significant theorist of sexuality and the most prominent advocate of homosexual emancipation of his time.

social sciences >> Paragraph 175

Paragraph 175 was the German law prohibiting sex between men; strengthened by the Nazis, it was the statue under which homosexuals were sent to concentration camps.

social sciences >> Ulrichs, Karl Heinrich

Nineteenth-Century German activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was both the first modern theorist of homosexuality and the first homosexual to "come out" publicly.


Fout, John C., ed. Forbidden History: The State, Society, and the Regulation of Sexuality in Modern Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Krafft-Ebing, Richard von. Psychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Forensic Study. Twelfth Edition. Hackensack, N. J.: Wehman Bros., 1953.

Oosterhius, Harry. Stepchildren of Nature: Krafft-Ebing, Psychiatry, and the Making of Sexual Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.


    Citation Information
    Author: Hunnicutt, Alex  
    Entry Title: Krafft-Ebing, Richard von  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 22, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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