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The scientific study of sexual behavior in human beings began in the 19th century.Shifts in Europe's national borders at that time brought into conflict laws that were sexually liberal and laws that criminalized behaviors such as homosexual activity.He also developed other important psychological concepts, such as autoerotism and narcissism, both of which were later developed further by Sigmund Freud.In 1908, the first scholarly journal of the field, Journal of Sexology (Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft), began publication and was published monthly for one year.Sexologists apply tools from several academic fields, such as biology, medicine, psychology, epidemiology, sociology, and criminology.Topics of study include sexual development (puberty), sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual relationships, sexual activities, paraphilias, atypical sexual interests.People from around Europe visited the Institute to gain a clearer understanding of their sexuality and to be treated for their sexual concerns and dysfunctions.
Other sexologists in the early gay rights movement included Ernst Burchard, Hans Blüher, and Benedict Friedlaender.
The work assumes that same-sex love transcended age taboos as well as gender taboos.
Seven of his twenty-one case studies are of inter-generational relationships.
Large scale studies of sexual behavior, sexual function, and sexual dysfunction gave rise to the development of sex therapy. Until that time, American sexology consisted primarily of groups working to end prostitution and to educate youth about sexually transmitted diseases.
Alfred Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University at Bloomington in 1947.
The sexological study of sexual dysfunctions and disorders, including erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, and pedophilia, are also mainstays.