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June 23, 1951


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1951;146(8):721-726. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670080029008

The general public has but a vague idea of what a sexual criminal is. It calls him a sex maniac, thinks he is some terrible monster, and is afraid of him. Questioned directly, women mention rape and perhaps exhibitionism or assaults, especially on children. The public is likely to regard simple molestation as of such little moment that in most cases it is not even reported. It accepts prostitution as an inescapable evil, shrugs in disgust at cases of homosexuality or perversion, and expresses profound disgust on learning of masturbation in public. The physician's attitude is hardly more enlightened. He treats the pervert (paraphiliac) with contempt and speaks of him as a degenerate, though the term carries a connotation of moral opprobrium that has no place in medical work. (The term paraphiliac is scientifically more correct and is more objective as well.)

The public has little idea of the meaning

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