The October issue of Medical History is now online and includes an article that may interest AHP readers:
“Kränkung and Erkrankung: Sexual Trauma before 1895,” by Diederik F. Janssen. Abstract:
A tropology of moral injury and corruption long framed the plight of the sex crime victim. Nineteenth-century psychiatric acknowledgment of adverse sexual experience reflected general trends in etiological thought, especially on ‘epileptic’ and hysteric seizures, but on the whole remained descriptive, guarded and limited. Various experiential threats to the modern sexual self beyond assault and rape were granted etiological significance, however: illegitimate motherhood, masturbatory guilt, sexual enlightenment, ‘homosexual seduction’ and chance encounters leading to fetishistic fixation. These minor early appeals to medical psychology help us appreciate the multiple nuances of ‘sexual trauma’ advanced in Breuer and Freud’s Studies on Hysteria (1895) and Freud’s subsequent work.