Volkmar Sigusch

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Volkmar Sigusch (born June 11, 1940 in Bad Freienwalde (Oder) ) is a German psychiatrist and sexologist. In 1972 he founded the Institute for Sexology at the University Hospital Frankfurt and was its director until he retired and closed the institute in 2006. Sigusch established sexual medicine as an independent discipline in Frankfurt . He was the first in the world to complete his habilitation in sex science and is considered one of the “most important sex researchers”.


As the son of a bank director, Sigusch grew up in the GDR . The psychoanalyst Lutz Garrels made his “origin from an authoritarian state” jointly responsible for his “non-conformist, provocative spirit”, which caused him to clash with the “political apparatus” and imprisoned during his medical studies in the GDR . According to Garrels, it was "an art to choose reading Marx in such a way that it becomes suspect of communist henchmen." Sigusch succeeded because he obtained Marx's early philosophical writings, which were forbidden in the GDR, from the West and secretly studied with fellow students in a cellar in East Berlin. In the year the Berlin Wall was built (1961) , Sigusch fled the GDR.

Professional background

Sigusch began his medical studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin . Arrived in the Federal Republic after his escape, he studied medicine , psychology and philosophy at the universities in Frankfurt and Hamburg . His teachers included Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno . After his psychiatric training, especially with Hans Bürger-Prinz , Sigusch became the world's first habilitand in sexology at the University of Hamburg in 1972. Since his appointment to the newly established Frankfurt Chair for Sexology in the same year, he was a university professor in addition to the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Social Sciences , in which he was Professor of Special Sociology. In addition, Sigusch was managing director of the Center for Psychosocial Basics of Medicine (ZPG) at the Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt for twelve years , where the subjects of medical psychology , medical sociology , occupational medicine and sexual science were represented. The closure of his institute and at the same time the ZPG gave preference to “a biologically oriented psychiatry”, which, according to Garrels, Sigusch acknowledged with the remark that current medicine is a “whore” “that abolishes everything that is not immediately affordable make".


Although now retired, Sigusch is still an internationally respected sexologist. Soon after taking over his chair, he founded the International Academy for Sex Research in 1973 together with William Masters , John Money , Gunter Schmidt and others. He is regarded as a pioneer of modern sexual medicine in Germany because he presented the first empirical studies and theoretical treatises on the conception of this discipline as early as the late 1960s. The Brockhaus Encyclopedia called him the founder of critical sex science . Sigusch was several times the first chairman of the German Society for Sexual Research , the oldest and largest professional society in Germany.

The leading international journals The Journal of Sex Research and Archives of Sexual Behavior appointed Sigusch as co-editor for Europe, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex as a fellow, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health as a charter member. Several European and American universities have recognized him as a Leading Scientist .

In 1972, his book Results on Sexual Medicine was the world's first book to have "Sexual Medicine" or "Sexualmedizin" in its title.

Through articles written by him in the Spiegel (June 3, 1996) and in the Zeit (October 4, 1996) Sigusch introduced the term neosexual revolution , with which he wanted to take account of the development that followed the phase of the so-called sexual revolution (from 1968 ) completely new manifestations of the sexual were observed. Sigusch later coined the term Zisgender .

In 2000, Martin Dannecker and Reimut Reiche , who had completed their habilitation with him, dedicated the Festschrift Sexuality and Society to him at Campus Verlag , with contributions by Isabelle Azoulay , Günter Amendt , Werner Bohleber , Wolfgang Fritz Haug , Rüdiger Lautmann and Stavros, among others Mentzos or Sophinette Becker .

Together with Martin Dannecker and Gunter Schmidt he is the editor of the book series Contributions to Sexual Research , which was published by Enke-Verlag until 1999 and has been published by Psychosozial-Verlag since 2000 with over 94 volumes to date. He is also co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung (so far 22 years) and other German and international journals. From 1979 to 1986 he published the popular periodical Sexualität concrete , to which scholars from various disciplines, writers, publicists and artists contributed, including Jean Baudrillard , Eric Burdon , Gianna Nannini , Götz George , Tommaso Di Ciaula , Paul Parin , Horst Bredekamp , Günter Amendt , Peter Gorsen , Heinar Kipphardt , Helmut Heißenbüttel , Brigitte Kronauer , Alfred Hrdlicka , Susanne von Paczensky , Ingeborg Drewitz , Gerhard Mauz , Wolf Biermann , Karlheinz Deschner , Hermann Peter Piwitt , Peter O. Chotjewitz , Diedrich Diederichsen and Martin Walser .

The Institute for Sexology, headed by Sigusch, was closed after his retirement in 2006. Sigusch felt that the decision to assign sexology to the psychiatric department of the university was a “defeat” because he “spent his entire professional life [...] against the ' Psychiatric 'fought sexual disorders'.

In 2019, Sigusch was awarded the Sigmund Freud Culture Prize by the two psychoanalytic specialist societies DPG and DPV , which is intended to honor scientists who are not psychoanalysts. In his laudation on the occasion of the award ceremony, Lutz Garrels dealt in detail with the special language of Sigusch. He is a "language acrobat". His language is "sharp and pointed [...] peppered with metaphors and references", but "clear and unambiguous", "sometimes bloated, vain perhaps in one place or another, but never empty, blurred or evasive". Anyone reading it would do well to “have a foreign dictionary and a basic philosophical work to hand”. Sigusch has a "great appreciation for Freud" and you can hear his "flaming plea for instinct and for the physical". At the same time, however, he held up a critical mirror to psychoanalysis no less than to his own profession. According to Garrels, one must imagine Sigusch's thinking and writing “like mycelium, as a growing and branching network” that is “something incomplete”.

The textbook Sexual Disorders and Their Treatments published by Sigusch is no longer what he originally intended when it was published, but - according to Garrel's harsh criticism - "has been transformed into a largely mindless medical compendium" by subsequent editors. In contrast, his history of sexology, as well as his personal encyclopedia of sex research, would "undoubtedly be standard works for many generations". His mystification of the sexual was "included as the work of the century in the 'Encyclopédie philosophique universelle' of the 'Presses Universitaires de France'".


Publications (selection)

To date, Sigusch has published more than 850 scientific articles, including 46 medical, sociological and philosophical books. Amongst other things:

  • with Gunter Schmidt : The prejudice against sexually deviant groups. 1967.
  • Excitation and orgasm in women. 1970.
  • with Gunter Schmidt and Eberhard Schorsch : Trends in Sexual Research. 1970.
  • with Gunter Schmidt: Worker Sexuality. 1971.
  • with Gion Condrau , Jean-G. Lemaire et al. a .: The future of monogamy . 1972.
  • Results on Sexual Medicine. 1972, 1973.
  • with Gunter Schmidt: youth sexuality. Stuttgart 1973.
  • Medical experiments on humans. 1977, 1978.
  • Therapy of sexual disorders. Stuttgart 1975, 1980.
  • Sexomemomedico. 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981.
  • Sexuality and Medicine. 1979.
  • The sexual question. 1982.
  • About drive and love. 1984.
  • The mystification of the sexual. Frankfurt am Main 1984.
  • with Martin Dannecker: Sex Theory and Sexual Politics. 1984.
  • with Ingrid Klein and Hermann L. Gremliza : Concrete sexuality. Anthology 2, 1984, 1985.
  • Operation AIDS . 1986.
  • AIDS as a risk. 1987.
  • with Steffen Fliegel : AIDS. Results of a congress. 1988.
  • Critique of Disciplined Sexuality. 1989.
  • Anti-Moralia. 1990.
  • Gender change. 1992, 1993, 1995.
  • Sexual disorders and their treatment. 1996, 1997, 2001, 2007
  • Karl Heinrich Ulrichs . The first gay man in world history. 2000.
  • From king sex to self sex. About current transformations in cultural gender and sexual forms . In: Christiane Schmerl, Stefanie Soine, Marlene Stein-Hilbers, Birgitta Wrede (eds.): Sexual scenes. Staging of gender and sexuality in modern societies . Leske and Budrich, Opladen 2000, ISBN 3-8100-2893-2 , p. 229-249 .
  • with Ilka Quindeau : Freud and the sexual. New psychoanalytic and sex science perspectives. 2005.
  • Practical sexual medicine. An introduction. Cologne 2005.
  • Sexual worlds. Heckling from a sex researcher (=  contributions to sex research . Volume 87 ). Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2005, ISBN 3-89806-482-4 .
  • Neosexualities. About the cultural change of love and perversion. Frankfurt am Main / New York 2005, ISBN 978-3-593-37724-7 .
  • with Günter Grau : The fight for the Frankfurt Institute for Sexology. Appeal - Protests - Resolutions. 2006.
  • History of Sexology. Frankfurt am Main / New York 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38575-4 .
  • with Günter Grau: Personal Lexicon of Sexual Research. Frankfurt am Main / New York, 2009.
  • In search of sexual freedom. About sex research and politics. Frankfurt am Main / New York 2011, ISBN 978-3-593-39430-5 .
  • with Günter Amendt and Gunter Schmidt : Sex tells. Sex research as social criticism. Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-930786-61-9 .
  • Sexualities. A critical theory in 99 fragments. Frankfurt am Main / New York 2013, ISBN 978-3-593-39975-1 (an edition of the Scientific Book Society with a different cover was published at the same time).
  • The ABC of sex. Notes from a sexologist. Frankfurt am Main / New York 2016.


  • Volkmar Sigusch in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely accessible)
  • Brockhaus editorial team: Visions 2000, 2000
  • Brockhaus Psychology, 2001
  • Der Große Brockhaus in 15 volumes, 2005 [1]
  • Who is who in Europe
  • 350 works by Sigusch are listed on the CD-ROM for the “Kürschner Scholars Calendar”.
  • Guha, A.-A .: Sigusch's chair in Frankfurt. Frankfurter Rundschau, March 12, 1974
  • “Vom Trieb und von der Liebe” , a film about Volkmar Sigusch by Klaus Podak, 1984
  • Peter Gorsen : What remains inseparable. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 11, 1984
  • Helmut Heißenbüttel : Something from the early Wilhelm Reich. Specific literature, issue 1984/85
  • Eberhard Schorsch : About drive and love. Volkmar Sigusch as a scout. Die Zeit, March 21, 1986
  • Klaus Milich: Praise of the instinct. Volkmar Sigusch's foundation of critical sexology. Frankfurter Rundschau, August 25, 1990
  • Detlef Grumbach : The body says hü, the soul says hott. Volkmar Sigusch's new theses on transsexualism. Süddeutsche Zeitung, feuilleton supplement, 2/3 January 1993, p. 66
  • Herbert Riehl-Heyse : About love in times of cholera. Volkmar Sigusch. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, No. 20 of May 19, 1995, pp. 10–15 *
  • Martin Dannecker , Reimut Reiche (Ed.): Sexuality and Society. Festschrift for Volkmar Sigusch . Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt / Main, New York 2000, ISBN 3-593-36617-7 .
  • Oliver Tolmein : Volkmar Sigusch. Experienced in conflict. FAZ of December 28, 2005, p. 38
  • Jan Feddersen : The end of the Enlightenment. taz of December 30, 2005, p. 11
  • Oliver Tolmein: A case of normalization. After the Frankfurt Sexology has been completed: is there room for patients? , FAZ October 7, 2006, p. 39
  • Volker Breidecker: And the sexual misery goes on and on. Süddeutsche Zeitung of January 9, 2006, p. 11
  • Sascha Zoske: From outsider to authority. FAZ of January 17, 2006, p. 44
  • Joachim Güntner: Psychiatization of Sex. Volkmar Sigusch's institute is reversed. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, September 6, 2006, p. 41
  • Klaus Podak: At the bottom of love. The end of Volkmar Sigusch's Institute for Sexology . Süddeutsche Zeitung of September 29, 2006, p. 11
  • Oliver Pfohlmann: Science of Hugs . In: Der Standard, 4./5. October 2008
  • Thomas Sparr : Lust and love. Volkmar Sigusch's "History of Sexology". In: Merkur - German magazine for European thinking , 63rd vol., Issue 1, 2009, pp. 67–70
  • Christian Geyer : It's still too early to praise impartial desire. FAZ, No. 176 of August 2, 2010, p. 28
  • Robert Jütte : pioneering work. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, vol. 107, issue 9 of March 5, 2010, p. B352
  • Magnus Klaue: Sexology in Germany. The circle around Sigusch . FAZ from January 5, 2011, p. N5
  • Sascha Zoske: "I was a pretty uncomfortable child" . [About the sex researcher Volkmar Sigusch]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, No. 17 of April 29, 2012, p. R 3

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Susanne Mayer: The wild is threatened. In: Zeit Online. September 4, 2014, accessed April 13, 2018 .
  2. a b c d e Lutz Garrels: Laudation for Volkmar Sigusch. on the occasion of the award of the Sigmund Freud Culture Prize on May 30, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main. In: German Psychoanalytical Society. May 30, 2019, accessed June 11, 2020 .
  3. a b Meike Fries: "It must finally be about the victims" . In: Zeit Online . May 12, 2010 ( zeit.de [accessed June 11, 2020]).
  4. a b c d Prof. Dr. med. Volkmar Sigusch. Curriculum vitae. Goethe University , accessed on January 12, 2018 .
  5. International Academy of Sex Research. Retrieved June 11, 2020 .
  6. The Dispersion of Eros . In: Der Spiegel . No. 23 , 1996 ( online ).
  7. Die Zeit , 41/1996
  8. ^ Contributions to sex research. Hertha Richter-Appelt , Sophinette Becker , Andreas Hill , Martin Dannecker , accessed on June 16, 2017 .
  9. Sascha Zoske: Off for Sexology. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine. August 24, 2006, accessed November 4, 2018 .
  10. Klaus Grabska, Maria Johne: Volkmar Sigusch receives Sigmund Freud Culture Prize 2019. Retrieved on April 14, 2019 .
  11. Awarded Works April 2010 , website of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, accessed on March 19, 2015.
  12. Klaus Grabska, Maria Johne: Sigmund Freud Culture Award. In: German Psychoanalytical Society. May 31, 2019, accessed on June 11, 2020 ( laudation ).