Assessment of sexual dysfunction

Joseph Lo Piccolo, Suzanne Daiss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The themes in the works of Krafft-Ebing, Ellis, and the popular writers were similar. Sexual dysfunction in married couples was held to result largely from moral degeneracy. Often childhood masturbation was held to be the link between moral degeneracy and adult sexual dysfunction; that is, Krafft-Ebing and Ellis both suggested that excessive childhood masturbation damaged the sexual organs and exhausted some reservoir of sexual energy in the body, resulting in inability to function sexually as an adult. Therefore, during this period, assessment of sexual dysfunction was focused more on identifying the character flaws in patients that made it impossible for them to control and restrain their sexual appetites. Not too surprisingly, the treatments offered in this framework were rather draconian. Because childhood masturbation was held to cause such severe adult sexual and character problems, it must be eliminated by whatever means necessary. Krafft-Ebing (1902), for example, reports treating masturbation in young girls by cauterizing the clitoris with a white-hot iron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAssessment of Marital Discord
Subtitle of host publicationAn Integration for Research and Clinical Practice
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9781317915560
ISBN (Print)0898599016, 9780415727082
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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