Sex between Body and Mind
Psychoanalysis and Sexology in the German-speaking World, 1890s-1930s
A groundbreaking cross-disciplinary account of how sex became an object of scientific study in modernity
Ideas about human sexuality and sexual development changed dramatically across the first half of the 20th century. As scholars such as Magnus Hirschfeld, Iwan Bloch, Albert Moll, and Karen Horney in Berlin and Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Stekel, and Helene Deutsch in Vienna were recognized as leaders in their fields, the German-speaking world quickly became the international center of medical-scientific sex research—and the birthplace of two new and distinct professional disciplines, sexology and psychoanalysis.
This is the first book to closely examine vital encounters among this era’s German-speaking researchers across their emerging professional and disciplinary boundaries. Although psychoanalysis was often considered part of a broader “sexual science,” sexologists increasingly distanced themselves from its mysterious concepts and clinical methods. Instead, they turned to more pragmatic, interventionist therapies—in particular, to the burgeoning field of hormone research, which they saw as crucial to establishing their own professional relevance. As sexology and psychoanalysis diverged, heated debates arose around concerns such as the sexual life of the child, the origins and treatment of homosexuality and transgender phenomena, and female frigidity. This new story of the emergence of two separate approaches to the study of sex demonstrates that the distinctions between them were always part of a dialogic and competitive process. It fundamentally revises our understanding of the production of modern sexual subjects.
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