Psychopathia sexualis (Krafft-Ebing)

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Title page of the first version from 1886

Psychopathia sexualis is the best known work of the psychiatrist and coroner Richard von Krafft-Ebing . It first appeared in 1886.

Krafft-Ebing describes sexual deviations and perversions using case studies and categorized them into new terms such as masochism and sadism . As a precaution, he wrote parts of the text that could be perceived as particularly offensive at the time, in Latin.

After several revisions and the inclusion of additional case studies and improvements by the author, the work reached its 12th edition one year after his death (1902) (last edition: Stuttgart, 1903). Various editions of the work have also been translated into seven languages. After further revisions, Psychopathia sexualis reached its 17th German edition in 1924.

Von Krafft-Ebing writes in his foreword to the 11th edition: “The unexpectedly great success in bookselling is probably the best proof that there are also innumerable unfortunates who, in the book, which is otherwise only dedicated to men of science, enlightenment and consolation with regard to puzzling phenomena of theirs Search and find your own Vita sexualis ”.


In the BBC film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes - The Silk Stocking Murderer from 2004, the fiancée of Dr. Watson a psychoanalyst who draws Sherlock Holmes' attention to possible sexual motives of the murderer and gives him a copy of Psychopathia sexualis .

The work served as the inspiration for director Bret Wood in 2006 for a feature film entitled Psychopathia Sexualis .

In the 2018 Netflix series " The Alienist - Die Einkreisung ", the eighth episode of the first season was named after Psychopathia sexualis .


Web links

Commons : Psychopathia sexualis, 14th edition, 1912, Facsimile  - collection of images, videos and audio files