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Sexology is the study of sexual interests, behavior, and function. In modern sexology, researchers apply tools from several academic fields, including biology, medicine, psychology, statistics, epidemiology, pedagogics, sociology, anthropology, and criminology. It studies sexual development and the development of sexual relationships as well as the mechanics of sexual intercourse and sexual malfunction. It also documents the sexualities of special groups, such as handicapped, children, and elderly, and studies sexual pathologies such as sex addiction and child sexual abuse. Sexology is often been the subject of controversy when its research findings contradict the philosophical or sacred beliefs of others.


A number of ancient sex manuals exist, including Ovid's Ars Amatoria, the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, the Ananga Ranga and The Perfumed Garden for the Soul's Recreation. However, none of these treated sex as the subject of a formal field of scientific or medical research.

One of the earliest sex researchers prior to the 20th century sexology movement was Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, whose book Psychopathia Sexualis, published in 1886, recorded a dizzying array of sexual anomalies.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sigmund Freud developed a theory of sexuality[1] based on his studies of his clients. Wilhelm Reich and Otto Gross, were disciples of Freud, but rejected by him because of their emphasis of the role of sexuality for the revolutionary struggle for the emancipation of mankind.

Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexology) in Berlin in 1919. When the Nazis took power, one of their first actions, on May 6, 1933, was to destroy the Institute and burn the library.

In 1947, Alfred Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University at Bloomington, now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

Masters and Johnson released their works Human Sexual Response in 1966 and Human Sexual Inadequacy in 1970. Their books sold well, and they were founders of what became to be known as the Masters & Johnson Institute in 1978.

Fritz Klein developed the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid a multi-dimensional system for describing complex sexual orientation, similar to the Kinsey scale, but measuring seven different vectors of sexual orientation and identity separately, and allowing for change over time. In 1978 Klein published The Bisexual Option, a groundbreaking psychological study of bisexuality and in 1998, he founded the American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB) to encourage, support and assist research and education about bisexuality.

The late Vern Bullough was a historian of sexology, as well as a researcher in the field.[2]

Interdisciplinary relations and limits[]

Sexology, as currently defined, is largely a 20th and 21st century phenomenon.

Sexology relates to a number of other fields of study:

Sexology also touches on public issues such as the debates over abortion, public health, birth control, sexual abuse and reproductive technology.

Notable contributors[]

See also: Category:Sexologists

This is a list of sexologists and notable contributors to the field of sexology, sorted by the year of their birth:

  • Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902)
  • Albert Eulenburg (1840-1917)
  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
  • Wilhelm Fliess (1858-1928)
  • Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)
  • Robert Latou Dickinson (1861-1950)
  • Albert Moll (1862-1939)
  • Edward Westermarck (1862-1939)
  • Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935)
  • Iwan Bloch (1872-1922)
  • Theodor Hendrik van de Velde (1873-1937)
  • Max Marcuse[3] (1877-1963)
  • Otto Gross (1877-1920)
  • Ernst Gräfenberg (1881-1957)
  • Harry Benjamin (1885-1986)
  • Theodor Reik (1888-1969)
  • Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956)
  • Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957)
  • Wardell Pomeroy (1913-2001)
  • Albert Ellis (1913-2007)
  • Kurt Freund (1914-1996)
  • Ernest Borneman (1915-1995)
  • William Masters (1915-2001)
  • Paul H. Gebhard (born 1917)
  • John Money (1921-2006)
  • Ira Reiss (born 1925)
  • Virginia Johnson (born 1925)
  • Preben Hertoft (born 1928)
  • Oswalt Kolle (born 1928)
  • Vern Bullough[4] (1928-2006)
  • William Simon[5] (1930-2000)
  • John Gagnon[5] (born 1931)
  • Edward Eichel[6] (born 1932)
  • Fritz Klein (1932–2006)
  • Milton Diamond (born 1934)
  • Erwin J. Haeberle (born 1936)
  • Gunter Schmidt (born 1938)
  • Rolf Gindorf (born 1939)
  • Volkmar Sigusch (born 1940)
  • Martin Dannecker (born 1942)
  • Simon LeVay (born 1943)
  • Shere Hite (born 1943)
  • Anne Fausto-Sterling (born 1944)
  • Ray Blanchard (born 1945)
  • Gilbert Herdt (born 1949)
  • Kenneth Zucker (born 1950)


See also[]

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