Throughout the 19th century, German medical, scientific and legal scholars found themselves puzzled and engaged by the diverse forms of human sexuality. Psychiatrists like Richard von Krafft-Ebing interested in explaining deviance encountered scientifically trained advocates for emancipation like Magnus Hirschfeld, and the result was the new – if unstable – discipline of sexual science. Because they based arguments for social intervention on knowledge of nature and the body, the field’s proponents – like the advocates of eugenics and racial hygiene – argued that they were biologists. After 1900, this mutual biological engagement of sexual science and eugenics revealed itself in overlapping debates between the proponents of both fields.
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Amidon, K. S. (2008). Sex on the brain: The rise and fall of German sexual science. Endeavour, 32(2), 64–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.endeavour.2008.04.004