Whether we regard Bexual inversion as a functional symptom of degeneration, as does one writer,1 or as a manifestation of neuropathic and psychopathic tendencies which are in most cases congenital, and usually associated with persons of imperfect mental heredity, as suggested by another;5 whether the whole personality of the individual undergoes a change of disposition, corresponding to the altered sexual instinct, or whether the latter alone is changed, are matters which we may properly leave for the time in the hands of those better skilled in the framing of ingenious theories and fine-drawn conclusions.
Among the ancient prejudices which have heretofore invested sexual inversion, prejudices which even so cautious a writer as Krafft-Ebing,3 as well as the less critical Chevalier,1 the pupil of Lacassagne, occasionally repeats, is, that vicious surroundings have little if any influence in the production of contrary sexuality. That excessive indulgence on the part of women does not, primarily, induce reversal of the sexual appetite; and that the passion of old men to gratify their lust with boys is due, entirely, to incipient brain disease. Did space permit, I think it might readily be shown that these conclusions are scientifically untenable; that environment, and habit of thought, have muck to do with producing homosexuality, as the history of the anomaly amply proves; and that paraesthetic impulses are quite as largely the result of excessive sexual indulgence as of pathological or hereditary influence.
Fe're' recognizes, in common with other writers, a congenital element in sexual inversion; but holds this to be, as is the pulmonary cachexia, merely the organic susceptibility which requires, in all cases, the agent provocateur of impure suggestion, or vicious example, to render active; and this is precisely the opinion held by the present writer.
As to the views of recent American authors on this subject, Hammond, Kiernan, Lydston and others, although none of these has produced any pretentious work on the subject, they will be noted from time to time in the text; clearing 'ay, as Lydston in particular does, many of those ridiculous prejudices which made sexual perversion a loathsome, nameless .vice, only to be touched, as one remarks, "with a pair of tongs;"* and reducing to a concrete science what had hitherto been regarded as s> mere question of social and individual morals.