Information Source is Courtesy of Princeton University
Sexology is the scientific study of sexual interests, behavior, and function In modern sexology, researchers apply tools from several academic fields, including biology, medicine, psychology, statistics, epidemiology, sociology, anthropology, and criminology. It studies sexual development and the development of sexual relationships as well as the mechanics of sexual intercourse.
It also documents the sexualities of special groups, such as the disabled, the handicapped, children, and the elderly. Sexologists study sexual dysfunctions, disorders, and variations, such as erectile dysfunction, pedophilia, and sexual orientation. Sexological findings can become controversial when they contradict mainstream, religious, or political beliefs.
While there are works dedicated towards sex in antiquity, the scientific study of sexual behavior began in the 19th century. Shifts in European national borders at that time brought into conflict laws that were sexually liberal and laws that criminalized behaviors such as homosexual activity.
German society, under the sexually liberal Napoleonic code, organized and resisted the anti-sexual cultural influences. The momentum from those groups led them to coordinate sex research across traditional academic disciplines, bringing Germany to the leadership of sexology. Germany’s dominance in sexual behavior research ended with the Nazi regime, marked by the destruction of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexology) in Berlin.
After World War II, sexology experienced a renaissance, beginning in the United States. Large scale studies of sexual behavior, sexual function, and sexual dysfunction gave rise to the development of sex therapy. Post-WWII sexology in the U.S. was influenced by European refugees escaping the Nazi regime and the popularity of the Kinsey studies. Until that time, American sexology consisted primarily of groups working to end prostitution and to educate youth about sexually transmitted diseases.