Iwan Bloch, Beitraege zur Aetiologie der Psychopathia Sexualis, Erster Teil, Dresden, 1902
pp. 1-17 (introduction) and
pp. 120-123 (on religion and homosexuality)
Just as the physiological manifestations of sexual life are as old as
mankind, so too are its pathological manifestations. Ages ago the same
aberrations of the sexual drive occurred that we observe today among primitive
and civilized peoples. In the Bible, the Vedas, in numerous ancient Egyptian
papyri, and in the documents of pre-Columbian Mexico, we find reports and
insinuations of homosexuality, anal intercourse, of the many refined types
of unnatural sexual debauchery associated with the obscene cults of the
sexual deities. These uses of the sexual drive that deviate from the normal
act, which still today are observed among many primitive peoples with shocking
frequency, are most definitely not linked necessarily with "civilization"
or in particular with the "age of nervosity."
On the contrary: If there is anything that expresses itself with the very same elementary force outside of civilization as well as within it, it is the sexual drive. In general, the statement holds true that the sexual drive, as a purely physical function, can form neither an object for comparison nor a marker of difference between primitive and civilized man.
Therefore, it is not valid to invoke culture and civilization as such and their various manifestations, in particular the cultural diseases, the "fin-de-siécle malaises" and whatever other names there may be for the pains of our time, as the main etiological factors for the sexual abnormalities and aberrations. There are certainly supporting conditions which these times of highly developed civilization, of "Überkultur," may offer for the development and spread of an abnormal sexual life, which can explain the quantitative increase in these aberrations that exists in fact in eras like the Roman imperial period, for example. But this factor alone is not sufficient to explain the appearance and genesis of unnatural expressions of the libido sexualis, since the same manifestations are observed among primitive peoples that lack any higher culture, and in fact still live in Stone Age conditions (certain Australian tribes).
With this in mind, the view of those researchers who assign to civilization the lead role in the etiology of the psychopathia sexualis must be regarded with suspicion from the start. The founder of this, in my view, incorrect general view of the psychopathia sexualis is R. v. Krafft-Ebing. In his view, the perverse expressions of the sexual drive are connected to the rampant nervosity, created by modern social cultural life, of the most recent generation, a generation excited by the sexual sphere, driven to sexual abuse, and finally led to perverse acts.1 The frequent occurrence of abnormal sexual functions among civilized man is explained by Krafft-Ebing in part by the "frequent abuse of the reproductive organs", in part by the circumstance that "such functional anomalies are often the a sign of a usually hereditary, morbid constitution of the central nervous system."2 It is certainly correct that an increased nervosity in times of Überkultur adversely impacts the sexual life and calls forth neuropathological conditions in the respective generation, which are associated with "monstrous aberrations of the sexual drive life."3 On the other hand, one can see from the book by Ploss and Bartels, Das Weib in der Natur- und Völkerkunde [Woman in the Natural and Social Sciences], that the same "monstrous aberrations" occur with quite primitive peoples, about whom there can be no talk of the effects of a refined, sophisticated culture intensively attacking the nervous system. And these perversities do not appear in isolated cases among these peoples, but rather they sometimes occur in much greater distribution than is observed even among the most civilized peoples.
The essence of the sexual drive and of its anomalies is in fact independent of all culture and shows the same traits among primitive and civilized peoples,4 it is independent of the physical and mental damage associated with culture, independent of degeneration in the anthropological and pathological sense. Culture and degeneration come into consideration only as supporting, frequency-boosting influences.
Besides that, there are a large number of external factors having nothing to do with culture, degeneration, or degenerative heredity, whose impact in the creation of sexual anomalies among primitive and developed peoples is nonetheless of the greatest significance.
To present these important etiological factors in context is the purpose of the following studies.
Footnotes for pp. 1-17
1 R. v. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia sexualis, 10th edition, Stuttgart, 1898, pp. 304-305.
2 ibid. p. 33.
3 ibid. p. 6 Similar to Krafft-Ebing, A. Eulenberg is also of the opinion that a "certain level of civilization" has etiological significance for the genesis of sexual anomalies. Cf. Sexuelle Neuropathie, Leipzig, 1895, p. 97.
4 Here, let us only cite the judgment of the most influential researchers in this area: "One encounters not rarely the view that everything which is generally designated as unnatural sexual enjoyment owes its initial origin to the overstimulated sensuality of a developed culture. But that is totally incorrect, and on the contrary we find not rarely a highly refined sexual debauchery among tribes with a very low level of civilization, whom one is generally so fond of thinking of as living in an idyllic natural state, of whom one sometimes hears descriptions as though the Golden Age with all its blessings still existed among them." H. Ploss & M. Bartels, Das Weib in der Natur- und Völkerkunde, 6th edition, Leipzig, 1899, p. 451.
5 Compare his statements in the preface to A. Moll's Die konträre Sexualempfindung, 3rd edition, Berlin 1899, pp. IV-V.
6 op. cit. and in Untersuchungen über die Libido sexualis, Berlin 1898, Vol. I.
7 ibid., I, 674.
8 "When we consider what the ancient Greeks accomplished in the arts and sciences, or in terms of moral power, we will be hard pressed to believe that the ancient Greeks suffered from a morbid constitution ... It is also undoubtedly false to assert that the homosexual manifestations appeared in precisely the period in which the Greeks were already in decline. On the contrary, homosexual love emerged in a most extraordinary manner precisely in the period of flourishing." ibid., p. 676.
9 I have gotten the general impression from reading Moll's writings that, in spite of the author's fundamental assumption of the hereditary nature of sexual perversions, in many ways he is inclined toward a different explanation of them. This entangles him in numerous contradictions, of which a large number could be compiled. This uncertainty comes to light particularly in the case summaries. For example, compare in Libido Sexualis, pp. 692-693: "To start, one observes other manifestations of illness extraordinarily often along with the perversion of the sexual drive, which are to some degree neuropathological but some of which are even psychopathological. Aside from that, it is possible to observe in a very large number of cases that a hereditary problem is often present simultaneously with the perverse sexual drive. Nonetheless, there are authors who deny this, and we will do well to refrain from all apriorism and thus to regard a portion of the cases, in this respect at least, as unexplained." If even Havelock Ellis (Das konträre Geschlechtsgefühl, German translation by H. Kurella, Leipzig, 1896, p. 30) notes: "Krafft-Ebing's method is not without problems; his is not a very critical mind," then that should give us something to think about. Theoretical one-sidedness, particularly in the area being treated of here, leads rather to the obscuring than to the clarification of the essential issues.
10 A. Eulenberg, Sexual Neuropathie, pp. 96-97 and passim.
11 "The lower in civilization a tribe is, the more frequently lasciviousness and animalistic sensuality are manifested. Many primitive peoples use excessive stimulants to arouse female lust. On the island of Pohnpei (West Carolines), it is considered a special mark of feminine beauty for the smaller labia to be lengthened considerably, and their lengthening, as well as that of the clitoris, was caused artificially even in small girls, as we saw. The man arouses lust in the woman by grabbing the lengthened labia with his teeth, in order to stretch them further, and, as Kubary reports, some men go so far as to insert a fish into the vulva in order to lick it out again bit by bit. Such disgusting and horrid experiments are carried on with the main wife, with whom the man intends to produce a child, so long until she starts to urinate, and only after that does coitus begin." Ploss-Bartels, op. cit. I, 433. - P. Mantegazza correctly notes as well regarding this custom: "In this area, the most highly educated men of the purest Aryan race and the basest men of the lowest ethnic hierarchy partake as equals in brotherly bestialness." Anthropologisch-kulturhistorische Studien über die Geschlechtsverhältnisse des Menschen, 3rd edition, Jena, no date, p. 197. As a "civilized" counterpart, let us recall that earl who inserted strawberries into his mistress's genitalia and later ate the fruits thus marinated. (Eulenberg, op. cit., p. 101). The "renifleurs," who sniff female urine, also belong in this category.
12 Die Theorie der conträren Sexualempfindung, from the Centralblatt für Nervenheilkunde und Psychiatrie, February 1896; Das konträre Geschlechtsgefühl, German translation by H. Kurella, Leipzig, 1896.
13 V. Magnan, "Des anomalies, des aberrations et des perversions sexuelles" in: Annales médico-psychologiques, 7th series. T. I. Paris, 1885, p. 454ff. (German translation by P.J. Möbius in: Magnan, Psychiatrische Vorlesungen, No. 2/3, Leipzig, 1892, p. 43ff.)
14 Die Suggestions-Therapie bei krankhaften Erscheinungen des Geschlechtssinnes, Stuttgart, 1892.
15 op. cit., p. 11.
16 A. Hoche, "Zur Frage der forensischen Beurteilung sexueller Vergehen" in: Neurologisches Centralblatt, 1896, pp. 57-68.
17 A. Cramer, "Die konträre Sexualempfindung in ihren Beziehungen zum § 175 des Strafgesetzbuches" in: Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1897, No. 43, pp. 934-936; No. 44, pp. 962-965.
18 K. Kautzner, "Homosexualität," in: Archiv für Kriminalanthropologie, 1899, Vol. II, pp. 152-63.
19 "The sex of the body of the homosexual [Urning] is male, that of his soul female. He is anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa [a woman's soul trapped in a male body]. That is why, like a woman, he feels sexually repulsed by the woman, but drawn to the man. By the influence of the male body, however, the homosexual's soul is made similar to a man in particular parts. While remaining female in its essence, it has taken on male coloring here and there." K.H. Ulrichs, Argonauticus, Leipzig, 1869, p. 87.
20 op. cit., p. 193.
21 Cramer, op. cit., p. 936.
22 Tarnowsky, op. cit. p. 33.
23 Verhandlungen der Berliner Anthropologischen Gesellschaft, 1899, p. 668.
24 An inscription on a medieval Priapus column in the catacombs of San Gennaro dei Poveri in Naples says: "Priapus a god of lies the cave of the Cimmerian is vain deceit, it is wicked to serve the idol Phallus." Cf. Victor Schultze, Die Katakomben von San Gennaro dei Poveri in Neapel, eine kunsthistorische Studie, Jena, 1877, p. 28.
25 op. cit. p. 196. Cramer notes (op. cit., p. 964): "The masturbator who reflects much on his condition reads everything related to it. Given the wide circulation of 'perverse-sexual' literature, he easily obtains this reading material ... Suddenly everything becomes clear to him; he thinks back on his youth and, unconsciously, by way of auto-suggestion, he arrives at the conclusion that he was sexually abnormal starting from his youth onward."
26 Ziehen, article on "Degeneratives Irresein" in: Real-Encyclopädie der gesamten Heilkunde, published by A. Eulenberg, Vienna, 1895, Vol. V, p. 448.
27 Havelock Ellis, Die Theorie der conträren Sexualempfindung, S.A. p. 5.
28 ibid., p. 5.
29 Tarnowsky, op. cit., pp. 34-35.
30 Tarnowsky, op. cit., p. 8 and p. 51.
31 ibid., p. 43.
Finally, we come to the strangest of all religio-sexual phenomena: homosexuality and pederasty for religious reasons, a phenomenon that is characteristic of primitive and civilized peoples in equal measure. How can religious pederasty, or its ubiquitous spread, be explained? The fact that homosexuality for religious reasons exists is a matter beyond doubt, but the explanation of it is very difficult and uncertain. My suppositions about the origin of this astonishing custom are as follows.
If the usual, normal sex act appeared to primitive man as something miraculous, demonic, supernatural, in which the gods must have a hand, then the observance of same-sex relationships between men must have definitely seemed to him to be a pure miracle, as the effect of a higher spirit infusing these unnatural inclinations into the human being. Thus these first few beings "disinherited from the joy of love" were brought into mysterious relation with higher beings and viewed as earthly representatives of the gods. The abnormal, miraculous, unusual expression of a perverse orientation of the sexual drive was interpreted as a higher, more holy one. One should always remember that primitive man is far removed from applying our moral standards to these phenomena. His indifference with regard to them offers a precise analogy to that [indifference] which even today our lower classes exhibit with respect to these things. If the moral standpoint is removed, then the primitive human being caught up in animism and demonism sees only the puzzling, physical act itself, which requires an explanation in the given sense.
This religious understanding of homosexuality condensed then into a religious practice, insofar as those womanish, homosexually-inclined men were designated as priests. However, since they were usually not present in sufficient number, they were artificially cultivated; or at least the attempt was made to create the appearance as though the male priests were women. When it is reported of South and Central American tribes that the male priests had to wear women's clothes, this corresponds in folk-psychological terms with the report by Herodotus (II, 36) that the priests of the gods in ancient Europe, except in Egypt, had to wear long hair. We have already become acquainted in the aforementioned reports from Martius with the intimate relationships between magic and artificially cultivated pederasty among the South American Indians. Falkner and Bastian report that among the Arauks the male magicians are plainly forced to abandon their sex and don feminine clothing. They are also forbidden to marry and are usually selected already as children, with particularly feminine-looking ones being preferred. Hammond reports about the "Mujerados" of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico that they are absolutely indispensable for the religious orgies. Pederastic practices constitute a significant component of the religious ceremonies of the Pueblos. Likewise, the effeminates of Florida were particularly fond of attending religious celebrations.
Similar situations are found among the civilized peoples. The "holy" pederasts of the Sakalaves of Madagascar, find their counterpart among the civilized peoples of antiquity in the pederastic priests of Baal Peor, Kybele, Aphrodite, and the Dea Syria.
Pederasts are called "holy ones" (qadeshim) in the Old Testament for the same reasons as this attribute is given to them by primitive peoples. Even the pederastic act itself, or at least disgusting insinuations of it, were viewed by Baal Pegor as "holy" and were dedicated to him.
The temple of Aphrodite Hetaira in Athens served, according to Apollodorus, as a residence for female and male hetairai,  and the cult of the "Mother of the Gods" Kybele exhibits no less indications of religious homosexuality in its castrated priests (galli).
It is known that in the Satanic cult of the Christian Middle Ages, unnatural sexual offenses between the same sexes were viewed as something sanctified.
Even female homosexuality, or tribadism, can arise for religious reasons. A female branch of the Cainite sect founded by Quintilla "led back to the famous Sappho in every respect" and gained wide distribution in North Africa thanks to the zealous sermons of its founder.
In any case, especially among religious fanatics who joined together
in particular sects, we find a whole number of sexual anomalies combined
which are all justified by religious reasons. However, it can scarcely
be assumed that all members of these religious communities were afflicted
by congenital sexual perversions. No, the profound association of religious
mysticism with the sexual drive is what reveals itself here in the sexual
degenerations of an unleashed imagination. This can be demonstrated from
the relatively harmless, but worrisome in its consequences, "aseminal cohabitation"
of the recent Oneida sect in North America to the Satanic cult of the Cainites,
the Manicheans, and the Templars, which embrace the most heinous sexual
vices, the latter of whom aped the holy rites of the Christian church in
order to glorify the principle of evil, but in so doing [word missing]
into the purely sexual ...
Footnotes for pp. 120-123
1 Usually in the form of dreams, as with the Otoe Indians in North America. Karsch, "Uranismus oder Paederastie bei den Naturvoelkern" in: Jahrbuch fuer sexuelle Zwischenstufen, Leipzig, 1901, vol. III, p. 132, and Sauk Indians, ibid. p. 121.
2 F. Karsch, op. cit., p. 123.
3 Karsch, op. cit., pp. 157-158.
4 Ibid., p. 119.
5 Ibid., p. 102.
6 That the pederastic effeminization of the Scythians, known as theleia noesos, has a religious origin, is shown by W.H. Roscher ("Das von der 'Kynanthropie' handelnde Fragment des Marcellus von Side," Leipzig, 1896, p. 25, note 61).
7 Cf. J. Rosenbaum, Geschichte der Lustseuche im Altertum, 6th edition, Halle, 1893, p. 122-123.
8 Cf. Rabbi Salomon Jarchi's commentary on Numbers 25: Eo quod distendebat coram illo foramen podicis, et stereus offerebant." In J.A. Dulaure, Des divinités generatrices ou du culte du phallus chez les Anciens et les Modernes, Paris, 1885, p. 67.
9 W.H. Roscher, Nektar und Ambrosia, Leipzig, 1883, p. 89.
10 P. Dufour (pseud. of P.L. Jacob), Geschichte der Prostitution, vol. III, Berlin, 1901, p. 35.