There are forms of acquired homosexuality in which the patient undergoes a radical change of character, both in thought and feelings, becoming, in impulses, desires and psychical personality, a member of the opposite sex; in the case of eviration, the man becoming a woman; and in that of defemination the woman becoming a man.
The condition is exceedingly interesting from a medico-legal as well aa social standpoint; one of considerably greater frequency than ordinarily supposed, and one in which we cannot be too careful in discriminating between the guilt and innocence of overt sexual acts. I have in mind, at present, a young man, gentle, affectionate, and, on all other points, morally intelligent, who is so radically convinced that he is a girl that no thought of masculine employment, or amusement, ever enters his mind. He works among girls in a large laundry, submitting to the chaffing of the male employees and the flouting ridicule of the femalesóthe latter evidently not innocent of his true characterówith a patient, hurt, and surprised look which is exceedingly pathetic.
He seeks female society, and avoids men, as he informed me, not from any sexual motive, although confessing to habits of homosexual intercourse, but simply because he believes himself to be a girl, and naturally sel so far as be can, feminine companionship and pursuits.
It is a typical case of eviration.
The corresponding condition of defemination among women, although not so frequent, is far from difficult to find in any large city; and my purpose in treating them both together, as well as the phenomena of EfTemination and Viraginity, their antitheses, will be obvious to the intelligent reader.
The following classical case of cultivated eviration is taken from Krafft-Ebing's valuable treatise,1 and is remarkable as one in which the sexual impulse was originally directed in normal channels:
"My parents were healthy. When eleven years old I was taught to masturbate by a playmate, and gave myself up to it passionately. Until I was fifteen I learned easily at school, but on account of my frequent pollutions became less capable, and was uncertain and embarrassed when called upon by the teacher. Frightened at my loss of capability I tried to give up masturbation, but the night pollutions became even more frequent. Then I sought houses of prostitution, but with little satisfaction; for, though the sight of a naked female pleased me, neither erection nor orgasm occurred, even masturbation by a woman being incapable of producing cither.
" I grew ashamed before the girls, and ceased to visit such houses, and my inclination toward the opposite sex grew less and less.
" One evening, at the opera house, an old gentleman sitting near me began to court me. I laughed heartily, and entered into what I conceived to be his joke, when he said he was in love with me. I had heard, however, of hermaphrodites, and, thinking he might be one, felt curious to see his genitals. The old man was entirely willing, and went with me to the water-closet. Contrary to my expectation I found his penis normal, large and erect.
"This man followed me with his proposals for some time, fruitlessly; although I had heard of male-love for males, and felt my sexuality excited by his advances. Finally I went to the Promenade, where I had learned male-loving men were in the habit of meeting. Here I made the acquaintance of a blonde man, and allowed myself to be seduced. The first step taken, I have found, since, that kind of sexual love particularly satisfying to me. Our intercourse consisted of mutual masturbation; occasionally, in osculum ad penem alterius.
" I was then twenty-three, studying medicine; and sitting beside my comrades, on the beds of the patients, during the clinical lectures, excited me so intensely that I could scarcely listen to the lectures. The same year I entered into a formal love-relation with a man of thirty-four. We lived as man and wife. He played the man, and fell greatly in love with me. After a time I grew tired of him, was unfaithful; and, he becoming jealous, there were terrible scenes, which led finally to our separation. He became afterward insane, and died by suicide.
" From constant rectal intercourse I developed disease of the anus, which the professor thought was 'the result of sitting too much while preparing for the examinations.'
" In the society of gentlemen, I am silent and embarrassed; while with those like myself I am free, witty, and as fawning as a eat, if a man is sympathetic. In other ways I am frivolous, not ambitious, my profession is nothing to me, and masculine pursuits do not interest me. I am effeminate, sensitive, easily moved, easily injured, and very nervous. A sudden noise makes my whole body tremble, and I have to collect myself to keep from crying out."
The following case, from the same author, presents somewhat parallel features. The families of both parents were normally healthy, to the extent, at least, that no mental disease had appeared in either. The father, however, who was said to have lived fast, was inclined to be nervous and melancholic. The boy developed, sexually, at a very early age; being greatly troubled and frightened by nocturnal emissions at his fourteenth year. Remembers, while feeling some attraction toward men, of forming love-relations with little girls at as early as his thirteenth year. He took pleasure in "looking under the petticoats of his sister's friends," he says, and had erections when he touched the persons of his female playmates. As his sexual life developed, his inclination for boys became more pronounced. He fell in love with a boy playmate, and had lustful feelings when he touched him. Thought he was different in some way from other boys, and did not like to undress before them. He did like, however, to look at their penises, the sight of which gave him erections. About this time he learned both mutual and solitary masturbation.
At the age of nineteen, when he went to the university, his sexual appetite powerfully excited him; and at night he used to run about the streets, especially when partly intoxicated, looking for men. The difficulty of finding inverted men, he intimates, was what saved him at that time. He began to find pleasure in women, and had a love affair with a young girl of spoiled character, in which, he says, he spent many "wild nights." His homosexual nature, however, afterwards developed itself, associated with some symptoms of eviration; and, being an intelligent, as well as a moral-minded man, the frightful experiences he underwent in trying to overcome the abnormal instinct, when, as he says, he used to watch at his window, when night fell, for some man to urinate against an opposite wall, so that he might see his genitals, are peculiarly pathetic.
In the more pronounced stages of eviration, amounting almost to paranoia in the sexual metamorphosis, the peculiar feeling of female lust, as difficult to describe as would be the taste of an apple, is sometimes almost agonizing in its intensity. The strange, hot, nervous, itching, copulative desire, with wetness of the vulva, and the spasmodic, sucking movement of the vagina, so well known to every lustful woman, are so real and uncontrollable with this class of inverts, that psychical satisfaction is often obtained by merely assuming the dorsal decubitus, spreading out the legs and imitating, with corresponding voluptuousness of thought, the passive movements of the female in intercourse.
The reality, if I may use the expression, of these delusional sex-transformations is so great that the subject is totally incapable of sexual gratification by any other than the female rolej but although comparatively infrequent, as phenomena in mental pathology, as stated elsewhere, such instances are by no means wanting in the annals of psychiatry.