Volkmar Sigusch

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Volkmar Sigusch

Volkmar Sigusch (11 June 1940 – 7 February 2023) was a German sexologist, physician and sociologist. From 1973 to 2006, he was the director of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science) at the clinic of Goethe University in Frankfurt.

Sigusch studied medicine, psychology and philosophy (under Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno) in Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Hamburg. After recieving his M.D. and PhD, he worked from 1973 as a professor at Goethe University.

In 1972, Sigusch founded the Institute for Sexology at the University Hospital in Frankfurt and was its director until his retirement and the closure of the institute in 2006. He wrote several books on sociology, psychology and sexual medicine. He was the founder and, from 1988, co-editor of the scientific, peer-reviewed journal Zeitschrift für Sexualforschung (Thieme Verlag Stuttgart and New York). From 1979 to 1986, he edited the cultural magazine Sexualität konkret.

In a 1991 publication, Die Transsexuellen und unser nosomorpher Blick ("Transsexuals and our nosomorphic view"), Sigusch coined the term cissexual (zissexuell in German). As an antonym to transsexual, cissexual refers to a person whose gender identity matches their sex. According to Wikipedia, the cis/trans dichotomy predates Sigusch, having been recorded in transgender slang as far back as 1914 by Ernst Burchard in Lexikon des gesamten Sexuallebens, but only in the specific context of cross-dressing, not gender identity.

Notoriety among regressives

In June 2023, a few months after his death, Sigusch became the subject of normalization panic online.[1][2] This attention, initiated over a year earlier by radical feminist websites such as Reduxx[3] has made Sigusch almost as notorious as Alfred Kinsey, Helmut Kentler, John Money and Michel Foucault among the various whipping boys of online sex-regressives.

Particularly noteworthy was the following quote:

“There is nothing wrong with pedophilia in the sense of the word, that is, against liking, even loving, children [...] The sensuality that spontaneously unfolds between a child and an adult is something wonderful. Nothing can remind us more intensely of the paradises of childhood. Nothing is purer and more harmless than this eroticism of the body and the heart. Childish eroticism is not only full of delights, it is also necessary.”[4]

Relevance to MAPs and AAMs

As a medical doctor, Sigusch took a scientific, evidence-based, harm-reduction approach to non-normative sexuality which strays into the domain of criminal law ('sex offenders'). In 1979, he co-authored a paper arguing against the use of psychosurgery on sex offenders, writing: "We consider it essential that this surgery be suspended at least as long as the possible therapeutic effectiveness and the possible adverse side effects remain unclear."[5]

Sigusch was close to the academic Eberhard Schorsch,[6] who published extensively on sex offender research, and in 1973 argued that sexual contact between minors and older people was harmless if it was consensual (mutually willing) and did not involve force.[7] Sigusch was also close to Gunter Schmidt, who wrote the foreword ("The Debate on Paedophilia")[8] to the famous scholarly compendium on "Intergenerational Intimacy" (1991), published as a special issue in the Journal of Homosexuality.[9] As early LGBT advocates, these three influential academics reached and published supportive conclusions about homosexuals and homosexuality. They all accurately distinguished between pedophilia as an exclusive or preferential attraction, a possible identity category, and the act of intergenerational / age-gap sexual contact, deemed child sexual abuse in some legal jurisdictions and most current professional literature.

See also