While sexuality in idiots is usually but very slightly developed, being entirely absent in typical cases, there are yet occasional instances where its manifestations are of the most violent intensity. At an army post where I was once stationed, in 1902, a young girl initiated the "village idiot" into the mystery of sexual indulgence, giving her life as a penalty.
As nearly as I could ascertain the facts, the idiot, during an abnormally long coitus, caused probably by mental incoordination and the absence of psychic impetus, had become furiously maniacal, and strangled her. In fact, it is the opinion of alienists that when sexual desire, when it docs occur in these unfortunates, is opposed, the fiercest passion is excited, and murderous attacks are very likely to be made.1
Fortunately, both intensity and abnormality of the sexual life are infrequent with this class of persons; otherwise, the total absence of moral inhibitory restraint would render them exceedingly dangerous members of society. Giraud relates three cases which fairly represent the psychopathic features involved.
The first, at eighteen years of age, enticed a little girl into a barn, by giving her nuts. There he exposed his genitals, and, lying upon her, made the movements of coitus against the child's abdomen; but without bringing his penis near her privates, or showing the slightest knowledge of the act, further than the mere animal instinct to perform it.
Another, about the same age, evidently degenerate, on being told by his little sister and her playmate, children of about eight years, that an unknown man had attempted to violate them, had his sexual desire evidently aroused by the recital; and, leading the children to a deserted house, attempted the act himself. Because he had no emission, and because the younger child cried out, he let her go, promising to "marry her " if she would not tell of his act. At the trial it became quite evident that he thought the offer of marriage sufficient compensation for the wrong done.
The third and last caseŚfor I consider sexual manifestations in idiocy so rare as to require little further noticeŚwas twenty-one years of age, microcephalic and imbecile; had masturbated since his sixth year, and was otherwise sexually vicious. Had practised both active and passive pederasty, repeatedly attacking boys for the purpose, and attempting regular sexual assaults upon little girls.
He was absolutely without an understanding of his acts, his sexual desires being manifested with a periodicity and intensity purely animal.1