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Open bibliography in its own window Modern attitudes toward homosexuality have religious, legal, and medical underpinnings. Before the High Middle Ages, homosexual acts appear to have been tolerated or ignored by the Christian church throughout Europe.
Beginning in the latter twelfth century, however, hostility toward homosexuality began to take root, and eventually spread throughout European religious and secular institutions. Condemnation of homosexual acts and other nonprocreative sexual behavior as "unnatural," which received official expression in the writings of Thomas Aquinas and others, became widespread and has continued through the present day Boswell, Many of the early American colonies, for example, enacted stiff criminal penalties for sodomy, an umbrella term that encompassed a wide variety of sexual acts that were nonprocreative including homosexual behavioroccurred outside of marriage e.
The statutes often described such conduct only in Latin or with oblique phrases such as "wickedness not to be named". In some places, such as the New Haven colony, male and female homosexual acts were punishable by death e. By the end of the 19th century, medicine and psychiatry were effectively competing with religion and the law for jurisdiction over sexuality.
As a consequence, discourse about homosexuality expanded from the realms of sin and crime to include that of pathology. This historical shift was generally considered progressive because a sick person was less blameful than a sinner or criminal e. Even within medicine and psychiatry, however, homosexuality was not universally viewed as a pathology.
Richard von Krafft-Ebing described it as a degenerative sickness in his Psychopathia Sexualis, but Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis both adopted more accepting stances.
Early in the twentieth century, Ellis argued that homosexuality was inborn and therefore not immoral, that it was not a disease, and that many homosexuals made outstanding contributions to society Robinson, Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud's basic theory of human sexuality was different from that of Ellis.
He believed all human beings were innately bisexual, and that they become heterosexual or homosexual as a result of their experiences with parents and others Freud, Nevertheless, Freud agreed with Ellis that a homosexual orientation should not be viewed as a form of pathology.
In a now-famous letter to an American mother inFreud wrote: Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.
It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and cruelty too Later psychoanalysts Later psychoanalysts did not follow this view, however. Sandor Radorejected Freud's assumption of inherent bisexuality, arguing instead that heterosexuality is natural and that homosexuality is a "reparative" attempt to achieve sexual pleasure when normal heterosexual outlet proves too threatening.
Other analysts later argued that homosexuality resulted from pathological family relationships during the oedipal period around years of age and claimed that they observed these patterns in their homosexual patients Bieber et al.
Charles Socarides speculated that the etiology of homosexuality was pre-oedipal and, therefore, even more pathological than had been supposed by earlier analysts for a detailed history, see Lewes, ; for briefer summaries, see Bayer, ; Silverstein, Biases in psychoanalysis Although psychoanalytic theories of homosexuality once had considerable influence in psychiatry and in the larger culture, they were not subjected to rigorous empirical testing.
Instead, they were based on analysts' clinical observations of patients already known by them to be homosexual. This procedure compromises the validity of the psychoanalytic conclusions in at least two important ways.Create your citations, reference lists and bibliographies automatically using the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles.
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