R. von (Richard) Krafft-Ebing.

Psychopathia sexualis, with especial reference to the antipathetic sexual instinct : a medico-forensic study online

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all interest in the foot of woman. The craving to have
sexual intercourse with men grew daily stronger. When
'he was transferred to a large city he found the long-


wished-for opportunity and actually revelled with intense
passion in this unnatural love.

lie ejaculated during these acts with the utmost volup-
tuousness. By-and-by the sight of a sympathetic man,
especially if he were barefooted, sufficed him.

His nocturnal pollutions had now for their object
intercourse with men, and, to be sure, in the fetichistic
sense (feet). Shoes did not interest him. The naked foot
was his charm. lie often felt impelled to follow men in
the street, hoping to find occasion for taking off their
shoes. As a substitute he went barefooted himself. At
times he was driven to walk along the street in his bare
feet, thereby experiencing the most intense lustful feelings.
If he resisted, agony, trembling, and palpitation of the
heart set in. Often at nights he yielded to this impulse
for hours, even in stormy, rainy weather, not minding the
many risks and personal dangers to which he exposed
himself by so doing.

He would carry the shoes in his hand, became sexually
excited, and only found satisfaction in spontaneous, or
induced ejaculation. He felt envious of navvies and the
poor who could go barefoot without attracting attention.

His happiest moments were the time which he spent
in an hydropathic establishment, a la Kneipp, where he
was allowed to go barefoot with the other men under

An awkward affair, the result of his perverse sexual
practices sobered him. He sought safety from his un-
natural sexual existence by consulting a physician who
sent him to me.

The patient did his utmost to abstain from masturba-
tion and perverse connection with men. He imderwent
treatment for neurasthenia in an hydropathic institute,
regained some interest in the gentle sex — his foot-fetich-
ism serving as a bridge — had once, with a degree of plea-
sure, coitus with a barefooted peasant girl who acceded
to his wishes, and later on visited puellas a few times but
without gratification. Then he turned again to persons


of his own sex, backslided totally, felt irresistibly drawn
to tramps and farm labourers, whom he paid for the
favour to kiss their feet. An attempt to rescue the unfor-
tunate man by suggestive treatment • was wrecked on the
impossibility to remove an enervation which was beyond
therapeutic aid.

Case 92. Foot-fetichism with continued Jietero-sex-
uality. Mr. Y., fifty years of age, bachelor, belonged to
high society. Consulted a physician on account of "ner-
vous" troubles. Tainted, from childhood nervous, very
sensitive to cold and heat, troubled with delusions which
assumed the character of transient dementia persecutoria.
For instance, when he sat in a restaurant he imagined
that everybody stared at him, talked about, and made
fun of him. As soon as he rose this feeling left him and
he no longer believed his fancies.

He never felt settled for any length of time, and
moved about from one place to another. At times it
happened that he engaged rooms at a hotel, but never
went there on account of his peculiar delusions.

He never had much libido. All his sentiments were
rheterosexual. Now and then he found gratification in
(Coitus which he claimed to have been normal.

Y. admitted that his sexual life was peculiar from early
youtJi. ISTeither women nor men excited him sexually,
but the ^ight of female feet, be they of children or grown-
up womeji, would do so. All other parts of the female
body had no attraction for him.

If by chance he could see the naked feet of female
gipsies or tramps he could gaze at them by the hour and
was driven by a "terrible" impulse terere genitalia propria
ad pedes illarum. Thus far he had successfully resisted
jthis impulse.

What annoyed him most was to see these feet covered
-with dirt. He' would like to see them well washed and
clean. He could not say how this fetichism originated in
him (from a communication of Professor Forel).


Moll in his recent researches in libido sexualis, p. 288,
relates a most interesting case of foot-fetichism which
resembles case 91 above, in so far as the patient by force
of the fetich became homosexual.

Shoe-fetichism also finds its pfece in the following
group of dress-f ctichism ; however, on account of its
demonstrable masochistic character in the majority of
cases, it has been, for the most part, described already

Besides the eye, liand and foot, the mouth and ear often
play the role of a fetich. Among others, Moll (op. cit.)
mentions such cases. (Cf! Belot's romance, "La Eouche
de Madame X.," which, B. states,- rests upon actual ob-

The following remarkable case comes under my per-
sonal observation : — ■

Case 93. A gentleman of very bad heredity con-
sulted me concerning impotence that was driving him al-
most to despair. While he was young, his fetich was
women of plump form. He married such a lady, and was
happy and potent with her. After a few months the lady
fell very ill, and lost much flesh. When, one day, he tried
to resume his marital duty, he was absolutely impotent, and
remained so. If, however, he attempted coitus with plump
women, he was perfectly potent.

Even bodily defects become fetiches.

Case 94. X., twenty-eight years of age; family
heavily tainted ; neurasthenic ; want of self-confidence and
frequent depression of mind, with fits of suicidal inten-
tions, which he had great trouble to ward ofi:. The smallest
worries threw him out of temper, and _filled him with
despair. He was an engineer in a factory in Russian-
Poland, a man of robust frame, without signs of degenera-
tion. He complained of a peculiar mania, which caused


nim to doubt his sanity. Since his seventeenth year he
became sexually excited at the sight of physical defects
in women, especially lameness and disfigured feet. He was
not conscious of the original associative connection be-
tween his lihido and these defects in women.

Ever since puberty he had been under the bane of this
fetichism, which was painful to himself. Normal women
had no attraction for him. If a woman, however, was
afflicted with lameness or with contorted or disfigured feet,
she exercised a powerful sensual influence over him, no
matter whether she was otherwise pretty or ugly.

In his dreams, accompanied by pollutions, the forms of
halting women were ever before him. At times he could
not resist the temptation to imitate their gait, which caused
vehement orgasm, with lustful ejaculation. He claimed to
have strong lihido j and sufl^ered intensely when his sexual
desire remained unsatisfied. Despite these facts, he had
coitus for the first time when he was twenty-two years of
age, and then but five times. He felt, however, not the
slightest satisfaction in spite of complete ability. He
thought it would cause him intense pleasure if he had the
chance to mate with a halting woman. At any rate, he
could never marry any other than a lame woman.

Since his twentieth year the patient manifested fetich-
ism for garments. It often sufficed him to put on female
stockings, shoes and drawers. He bought such wearing
apparel at times and, putting it on secretly, became lust-
fully excited and ejaculated. Garments wliich had been
worn by women had no attraction for him. He would
fain- prefer to wear female garb, so as to keep up sensual
emotions, but had not yet dared to do so for fear of being
detected. i

His vita sexualis was reduced to these practices. He
was definite in asserting that he never was addicted to mas-
turbation. Quite recently he had been, in consequence of
his neurasthenic afllictions, much troubled with pollutions.

Case 95. Z., gentleman, family tainted. Even in


early childhood always felt great sympathy with the lame
and the halt. He used to limp about the room on two
brooms in lieu of crutches, or when unobserved, go limping
about the streets; but at that time no sexual significance
was coupled with the idea. Gradually the thought super-
vened that he would like "as a pretty lame child" to meet
a pretty girl who would express symjjathy with his afflic-
tion. Sympathy from men he disdained. Z. was brouglit
up in a rich man's house by a private tutor, and claimed
that he was unaware of the difference in sexes u]) to his
twentieth year. His feelings were confined to the idea of
being pitied by a pretty girl for being lame, or extending
the same sympathy himself to a lame girl. Gradually
erotic emotions associated themselves with this fancy and
at the age of twenty he succumbed to a temptation and
masturbated for the first- time. This act he practised
henceforth very often. Neurasthenia sexuali? supervened
and an irritable weakness took hold of him to such an
extent that the very sight of a girl with a halting gait
induced ejaculation. When masturbating, or in his erotic
dreams, the idea of the limping girl was always the con-
trolling element. The personality of the halting girl was
a matter of indifference to Z., his interest being solely
centered in the limping foot. He never had coitus with
a girl thus afflicted. He never felt an inclination for doing
so and did not think he could be potent under the circum-
stances. His perverse fancies only revolved around mas-
turbation against the foot of a halting female. At times
he anchored his hope on the thought that he might succeed
in winning and marrying a chaste lame girl, that, on ac-
count of his love for her, she would take pity on him and
free him of his crime by "transferring his love from the
soul of her foot to the foot of her soul." I~Ie sought de-
liverance in this thought. His present existence was one
of untold misery.

Case 96. Mr. V., thirty years, civil servant; parents
neuropathic. Since his seventh year he had for a play-
mate a lame girl of the same age.


At the age of twelve, being of a nervous disposition and
■hypersexually inclined, the boy began spontaneously to
masturbate. At that period puberty set in, and it lies
beyond doubt that the first sexual emotions towards the
other sex were coincident with the sight of the lame girl.

For ever after only halting women excited him sexu-
ally. His fetich was a pretty lady who, like the companion
of his childhood, limped with the left foot.

Always heterosexual but abnormally sensual he sought
early relations with the opposite sex, but was absolutely
impotent with women who were not lame. Virility and
gratification were most strongly elicited if the puella
limped with the left foot, but he was successful also if
the lameness was in the right foot. As, in consequence
of his fetichism the opportunities for coitus occurred but
seldom, he resorted to masturbation, but found it a dis-
gusting and miserable substitute. His sexual anom-aly
rendered him very unhappy, and he was often near com-
mitting suicide, but regard for his parents prevented him.

This moral affliction culminated in the desire for
marriage with a sympathetic lame lady, but since he could
not love the soul of such a wife, but only her defect of
lameness, he considered such a union a profanation of
matrimony and an unbearable, ignoble existence. On
this account he had often thought of resignation and

When V. came to me for advice- I obtained, in my
examination of him, only negative results as regards signs
of degeneration, nervous disease, etc.

I enlightened the patient on the subject, and told him
that it was difficult, if not absolutely impossible, for
medical science to obliterate a fetichism so deeply rooted
by old associations, but expressed the hope that if he
made a limping maid happy in wedlock he himself would
find happiness also.

Descartes^ who himself ("Traite des Passions,"
cxxxvi.) expresses some opinions concerning the origin of


peculiar affections ' in associations of ideas, was alwaya
partial to cross-eyed women, because the object of his first
love had such a defect {Bmetj op. cit.).

Lydston ("A Lecture on Sexual Perversion," Chicago,
1890) reports the case of a man who had a love affair
with a woman whose right lower extremity had been am-
putated. After separation from her he searched for othe]-
women with a like defect. A negative fetich!

A peculiar variety of body fetichism may be found in
the following case (strongly complicated with sadistic ele-
ments), in which fine white virgin skin is the fetich, and
sadism leads to lustful acts of cruelty (as an equivalent to
coitus), even to anthropophagy {cf. p. 95 et seq.). for
which the deeply degenerated and probably epileptic pa-
tient seeks to find a substitute in automutilation and auto-

Case 97. L., labourer, was arrested because he had
cut a large piece of skin from his left forearm with a pair
of scissors in a public park.

He confessed that for a long time he had been craving
to eat a piece of the fine white skin of amaiden^ and that
for this purpose he had been lying in wait for such a vic-
tim with a pair of scissors ; but, as he had been unsuccess-
ful, he desisted from his purpose and instead had cut his
own skin.

His father was an epileptic, and his sister was an imbe-
cile. Up to his seventeenth year he suffered from enuresis
nocturna, was dreaded by everybody on account of his
rough and irascible nature, and dismissed from school
because of his insubordination and viciousness.

He began onanism at an early age, and read with
preference pious books. His character showed traits of
superstition, proneness to the mystic, and showy acts of

When thirteen his lustful anomaly awoke at the sight
of a beautiful young girl who had a fine white skin. The
impulse to bite off a piece of that skin and eat it became


paramount with him. No other parts of the female body
excited him. He never Iiad any desire for sexual inter-
course, and never attempted such.

He hoped to achieve his end easier with the aid of
scissors than with his teeth, for which reason he always
carried a pair with him for years. On several occasions
his efforts were nearly successful. Since the previous' year
he found it most difficult to bear his failures any longer,
when he decided upon a substitute — viz., each time when
he had unsuccessfully pursued a girl he would cut a piece
of skin from his own arm, thigh or abdomen and eat it.
Imagining that it was a piece of the skin of the girl whom
he had pursued, he would whilst masticating his own skin
obtain orgasm and ejaculation.

Many extensive and deep wou.nds and numerous scars
were found on his body.

During the act of self-mutilation, and for a long time
afterwards, he suffered severe pains, but they were over-
compensated by the lustful feelings which he experienced
whilst eating the raw flesh, especially if the latter dripped
with blood, and when he succeeded in his illusion that it
was cutis virginis. The mere sight of a knife or scissors
sufiiced to provoke this perverse impulse, which threw
him into a state of anxiety, accompanied by profuse per-
spiration, vertigo, palpitation of the heart, craving for
cutis femince. He must, with scissors in hand, follow the
woman that attracted him, but he did not lose conscious-
ness or self-control, for at the acme of the crisis he took
from his own what was denied him from the body of the
girl. During the whole crisis he had erection and orgasm,
and at the very moment when he began to chew the piece of
his skin ejaculation set in. After that he felt greatly
relieved and comforted.

L. was quite conscious of the pathological aspect of his
condition. Of course, this dangerous character was sent
to an insane asylum, where he attempted suicide (Magnan
"Psychiatrische Vorlesungen") .

An interesting category is formed by the hair-fetich-


ists. The transition from "admirer of woman's hair"
within physiological limits to pathological fetichism is
easy. The beginning of the pathological series is formed
hy those cases in which the hair of a woman simply makes
a sensnal impression and incites to cohabitation. Then fol-
low those in which virility is only possible with a woman
who possesses this individual fetich. Possibly various
senses (sight, smell, hearing, crepitant sounds, also touch
as with velvet- and silk-fetichists, vide infra) are drawn
into activity in this hair-fetichism as they receive lustful

The end of the series is formed by those whom the hair
of woman suffices even when severed from the body — so
to speak, no longer a part of the living body, but only
matter, even a mercantile article — to excite libido and
sensual gratification by way of physicfCl or psychical onan-
ism, eventually under contact of the genitals with the
fetich.^ An interesting instance of a hair-fetichist belong-
ing to the second category is related by Dr. Gemy, under
the title of "Historic des peruques aphrodisiaqixes," in
"La Medecine Internationale," September, 1894.

Case 98. A lady told Dr. Oemy that in the bridal
night and in the night following her husband contented
himself with kissing her, and running his fingers through
the wealth of her tresses. He then fell asleep. In the third
night Mr. X. produced an immense wig, with enormously
long hair, and begged his wife to put it on. As soon as she
had done so, he richly compensated her for his neglected
marital duties. In tlie morning he showed again extreme
tenderness, wliilst he caressed the wig. When Mrs. X. re-
moved the wig she lost at once all charm for her husband.

ICj'rnnicr ( Siidi-foticliisin, Annal. (I'liyf;. ) Iciiow a degenerate
w)ios(> fetich was the hair of the Mons ]'cncris. His greatest delight
was to tear them out with Ills tcetli. lie collected specimens and used
tlic'iu for renewed sexual jrialification by biting and chewing them.
ITe bribed houHemaids of lioiels to let him search the beds in which
lailjps had slept for such hairs. Whilst searching for them he be-
came erotically excited and trembled with happiness when he made
a Hurppssful find.


Mrs. X. recognised this as a hobby, and readily yielded to
the wishes of her husband, whom she loved dearly, and
whose libido depended on the wearing of the wig. It was
remarkable, however* that a wig had the desired effect only
for a fortnight or three weeks at a time. It had to be made
of thick, long hair, no matter of what colour.

The result of this marriage was, after five years, two
children, and a collection of seventy-two wigs.

The following ease, observed by Magnan and reported
by Thoinot (op. cit. p. 419), is that of a man with anti-
pathic sexual instinct, to whom the actual existence of the
fetich was a conditio sine qua non of potency.

Case 99. X., aged twenty, inverted sexually. Only
loved men with a large bushy mustache. One day he
laet a man who answered his ideal. He invited him
to his home, but was unspeakably disappointed when this
man removed an artificial mustache. Only when the vis-
itor put the ornament on the upper lip again, he exercised
his charm over X. once more and restored him to the full
possession of virility.

In. those cases in which the female hair as mere mat-
ter possesses the properties of a fetich, it not uncom-
monly happens that the fetichist seeks to possess himself
of woman's hair by unlawful acts. These form the group
of hair-despoilers, of no slight importance from the foren-
sic aspect.^

Case 100. A hair-despoiler. P., aged forty, artistic,
locksmith, single. His father was temporarily insane,
and his mother was very nervous. He was well de-
veloped and intelligent, but was early affected with tic
and delusions. He had never masturbated. He loved

^ Moll (op. cit., p. 131) reports: "A man, X., becomea intensely
excited sexually whenever lie sees a woman with the hair in a braid;
loose hair, no matter how beautiful, cannot produce this effect."

Of cour3e, it is not justifiable to consider all hair-despoilers
fetichists, for in a few cases such acts are done for the purpose of
gain — i. e., the stolen hair is not a fetich.



platonically, and often busied himself with matrimonial
plans. He had coitus with prostitutes but rarely, and never
felt satisfied with such intercourse — rather, disgusted.
Three years ago he was overtaken by misfortune (financial
ruin), and besides, he had a febrile disease, with delirium.
These things had a very bad effect on his hereditarily
predisposed nervous system. On August 28, 1889, P. was
arrested at the Trocadero, in Paris, in flagranti, as he forc-
ibly cut oil a young girl's hair. lie was arrested with
the hair in his hand and a pair of scissors in his pocket.
He excused himself on the ground of momentary mental
confusion and a,:" unfortunate, irresistible passion; he
confessed that he had ten times cut off hair, which he took
great delight in keejjing at home. On searching his home,
sixty-five switches and tresses of hair were found, as-
sorted in packets. P. had already been once arrested,
on 15th December, 188G, under similar circumstances,
but was released for lack of evidence.

P. stated that, for the last three years, when he was
alone in his room at night, he felt ill, anxious, excited
and dizzy, and then was troubled by the impulse to touch
female hair. Wlien it happened that he could actually
take a young girl's hair in his hand, he felt intensely
excited sexually, and had erection and ejaculation without
touching the girl in any other way. On reaching home,
he would feel ashamed of what had taken place; but the
wish to possess hair, always accompanied by great sexual
pleasure, became more and more powerful in him. He
wondered that previously, even in the most intimate inter-
course with women, he had experienced no such feeling.
One evening he could not resist the impulse to cut off a
girl's hair. With the hair in his hand, at home, the
sensuous process was repeated. He was forced to rub his
body with the hair and envelop his genitals in it. Finally,
quite exhausted, he grew ashamed, and could not trust
himself to go out for several days. After months of rest
he was again impelled to possess himself of female hair,
indifferent' as to whose it might be. If he attained his



end, he felt himself "possessed by a supernatural power
and unable to give up his booty. If he could not attain
the object of his desire, he became greatly depressed,
hurried home, and there revelled in his collection of hair.
He combed and fondled it, and thus had intense orgasm,
satisfying himself by masturbation. Hair exposed in the
show-cases of hair-dressers made no impression on him;
it required hair hanging down from ec female head.

At the height of his act, he was in such a state of ex-
citement that he had only imperfect apperception and
subsequent recollection of what he had done. When he
touched the hair with the scissors he had erection, and, at
the instant of cutting it off, ejaculation. Since his mis-
fortune, about three years ago, he had weakness of mem-
ory, was easily exhausted mentally, and troubled by sleep-
lessness and night-terrors. P. deeply regretted his crime.

ISTot only hair, but a number of hair-pins, ribbons and
other articles of the feminine toilet, were found in his
possession, which he had had presented to him. He had
always had an actual mania for collecting such things, as
well as newspapers, pieces of wood and other worthless
trash, which he would never give up. He also had a
strange, and, to him, inexplicable fear of passing a certain
street ; if he ever tried it, it made him ill.

The opinion (medico-legal) shqwed him to be heredi-
tarily predisposed, and proved the imperative, impulsive
and decidedly involuntary character of the criminal acts,
which had the significance of an imperative act, induced
by an imperative idea, with an accompaniment of over-
powering abnormal sexual feeling. Pardon; asylum for
insane (Voisin, Bocquet, Motet, "Annales d'hygiene,"
April, 1890).

Following this case is a similar one, which also de-
serves attention, for it has been well studied, and may be
called almost classical ; and it places also the fetich, as well
as the original associative awakening of the idea, in a clear


Case 101. A hair-despoiler. E., aged twenty-five.
Maternal aunt, ejjileptic; brother had convulsions. Was

Online LibraryR. von (Richard) Krafft-EbingPsychopathia sexualis, with especial reference to the antipathetic sexual instinct : a medico-forensic study → online text (page 21 of 52)