A Brief History of Sexology
Clinical sexology has its roots in mid-19th Century England and Germany. Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), an English medical doctor, surgeon and sexologist, was one of the first researchers to challenge the sexual repression of the Victorian Age (generally considered to span the time of Queen Victoria's reign, 1819-1901) along with its taboo against masturbation (now considered by sex health experts to be a normal sexual behaviour, essential for healthy sexual development).
In 1919, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician and clinical sexologist, founded the first Institute for Sexology in Berlin (Zentrum fur Sexualwissenschaft). The Institute accumulated a vast body of research on human sexual development as well as the treatment of sexual concerns and dysfunctions. It was the first such Institute to offer a clinic for the specific purpose of treating sexual problems.
On May 6, 1933, under orders from the Nazi High Command, Brownshirts broke into the Institute and carried away its vast collection of books, research material and clinical files to be destroyed at the infamous May 10, 1933 book burning on Berlin's Opera Square. The Institute was immediately closed. In passing, it must be stated that the later institutes, clinics and research of the great 20th century sexologists, Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, and Masters and Johnson had their forerunner in Hirschfeld's Institute.
After World War II, there was a renaissance of sexology in both America and Europe. In 1948, Alfred Kinsey and his associates founded the Kinsey Institute for sexual research at the University of Indiana. In 1967 and in 1970, medical researchers and sexologists William Masters and Virginia Johnson published their vast, groundbreaking research in two separate volumes entitled Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy. They also founded a teaching Institute and treatment clinic. In 1983, Humbolt-Univeritat zu Berlin opened the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology to the public.
The science of sexology is now a well established and widely taught discipline in many of the world's leading universities. If you are interested in discovering just how widespread sexological research is, please visit the Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology Website. You will find an exhaustive resource for learning about sexology's history and scientific research, and more links to the growing worldwide list of universities and institutes studying clinical sexology.
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