HISTORY: A History of Sexual Medicine in the United Kingdom

Authors

  • John Bancroft MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Horspath, Oxfordshire, UK
      John Bancroft, MD, Barnhurst, 4 Blenheim Road, Horspath, Oxfordshire, OX33 1RY, UK. E-mail: jbancrof@indiana.edu
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John Bancroft, MD, Barnhurst, 4 Blenheim Road, Horspath, Oxfordshire, OX33 1RY, UK. E-mail: jbancrof@indiana.edu

ABSTRACT

The history of sexual medicine in the United Kingdom since the 19th century is reviewed, with particular reference to masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, and in the past four decades, the treatment of sexual dysfunction. The medical profession's tendency to deal with sexual issues according to the sociopolitical and moral issues of the time is emphasized, and whereas “sex negativism” has prevailed within the medical profession for most of this historical period, there has been a succession of individuals within the profession who have presented a more positive approach to defining and promoting sexual health. Four tracks within sexual medicine over the past 30 years are described: the psychoanalytic approach of the Institute of Psychosexual Medicine, modern “sex therapy,” psychophysiological sex research, and the involvement of andrology in the assessment and treatment of erectile dysfunction. The impact of Viagra is seen as the most recent chapter in this history.

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