email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
269 Amazing Sex GamesA History of MarriageA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyActionAll the WayAmerica UnzippedAmerica UnzippedAmerica's Sexual TransformationAmerican EugenicsAmerican GirlsAmerican HookupAn Interpretation of DesireAnarchism & SexualityAnatomy of a BoyfriendAnatomy of LoveAnthony GoicoleaAnticlimaxArt and HomosexualityArt/PornAssuming a BodyAutoportraitBachelors and BunniesBecoming OrgasmicBehind the Red DoorBest Sex Writing 2005Better Sex Through YogaBetter Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBetween Mom and JoBeyond Diversity DayBeyond SexualityBeyond ToleranceBig Porn IncBill HensonBodies in DoubtBody ImagesBonkBoys Don't CryBreasts - A DocumentaryBrothelBuying SexCase Studies in Communication about SexCase Studies in Sexual DevianceCaught in the WebCelibaciesChildren and SexualityChildren and the Politics of SexualityChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChristy ReportClay's WayClinical Manual of Women's Mental HealthClose toYouClumsyCold HitCollege SexComing of Age in AmericaConfessions of the Other MotherCybersexCyborgasmDare... to Make Love with 2, 3, 4... or MoreDare... to Try BisexualityDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeadly ButterflyDebating Same-Sex MarriageDeep GossipDeparting from DevianceDigital DiariesDilemmas of DesireDirty MindsDirty StoriesDisorders Of DesireDisorders of Sex Development:Doing ItDoing ItDoing It Down UnderDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDude, You're a FagEarly Embraces IIIEmerald City BluesEmotionally InvolvedEnjoying Guilty PleasuresErotic CapitalErotic InnocenceErotic PassionsEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEveryday PornographyEvolution and Human Sexual BehaviorExploring TranssexualismFade to BlackFagbugFaking ItFamilies Like MineFast GirlsFinal JeopardyFinding H. F.Fire on the Mountain DVDFor Lesbian ParentsFor The Bible Tells Me SoForbiddenFrictionFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Shame to SinFuckologyGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGender in the MirrorGender OutlawsGeography ClubGetting RealGetting the Love You WantGirls & SexGirls Gone MildGirls Gone SkankGLBTQGoddess WorshipGoing DownGood GirlsGood PornGood Sex IllustratedGreat Answers to Difficult Questions About SexGuide To Getting It OnHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHard to GetHardcore from the HeartHear Us Out!HeterosyncraciesHit & MissHomosexualitiesHookedHooking UpHow Sex Became a Civil LibertyHow Sex ChangedHow Sex WorksHow To Be GayHow to Do Things with Pornography How to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Make Love Like a Porn StarHow to Think More About SexHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenHysterical MenI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'll Be Your MirrorIf Men Could TalkImpotenceIn a Queer VoiceIn Praise of the WhipIn the Mood, AgainInsatiable WivesIntense Games DVDInvestigating Young People's Sexual CulturesIt's Perfectly NormalIt's Perfectly NormalItís Your HourJane Sexes It UpJock SturgesJust Between UsKama-Sutra--The Secrets to the Art of LoveKids Gone WildLegalizing ProstitutionLegalizing ProstitutionLet's Get This StraightLets Talk about SexLetters to Penthouse Vol. 50Likely to DieLittle ChicagoLoose GirlLosing Matt ShepardLoveLove and DesireLove and SexLove JunkieLove Lust DesireLove SickLustMad for FoucaultMagical ThinkingMaking American BoysMaking Babies the Hard WayMaking Chastity SexyMaking Peace with PornMaking ScenesMale SexualityMalefemaleMaster BreastsMating in CaptivityMedicalized MasculinitiesMelancholia and MoralismMenMental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities MiddlesexMoney ShotMoral Panics, Sex PanicsMy Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me UpMy HeartbeatMy Horizontal LifeName All the AnimalsNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew Sex Now DVDNightswimmingNone of the AboveNormalNormalNot GayNot The Marrying KindNot Under My RoofNothing PinkOedipus WreckedOn Being RapedOne Hot SecondOne Hour in ParisOpenOrgasmOrgasm Inc.OrgasmologyOrgasmsOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOverexposedPeekPeriod PiecesPervPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePin-up GrrrlsPINSPlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPolicing SexualityPolyamory in the 21st CenturyPornPorn NationPorn StudiesPorn UniversityPornifiedPornlandPornographyPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPosition Of The Day PlaybookPray the Gay AwayPredatorsPremarital Sex in AmericaPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPrivate Dicks - Men ExposedPrivate Practices DVDProblem GirlsPrudePsychopathia SexualisQueer PhilosophyRapeRape Is RapeRated X - A Journey Through PornRazmatazRecruiting Young LoveRedefining GirlyRedefining RapeRegulating SexRethinking Gender and Sexuality in ChildhoodRethinking RapeRunning with ScissorsSatan's Sex BookScreening SexSelling Sex ShortSexSex & Single GirlsSex (Ed)Sex and SpiritSex and the American TeenagerSex and the SoulSex and the Soul, Updated EditionSex and WarSex at DawnSex by NumbersSex DetoxSex Fiends, Perverts, and PedophilesSex in CrisisSex ObjectSex OffendersSex on the BrainSex PositionsSex Q & ASex, Family, and the Culture WarsSex, or the UnbearableSex, Therapy, and KidsSex, Time and PowerSextasySexting and Young PeopleSexual ArtSexual Boundary ViolationsSexual DevianceSexual DisordersSexual EcstasySexual EthicsSexual FluiditySexual IntelligenceSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySexual Orientation and School PolicySexual PleasureSexual PredatorsSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceSexuationSexyBookShameShamelessShy GirlSlutWalkSmall FavorsSmutSocial Control of Sex OffendersSome Assembly RequiredSplit ScreenStir-FryStraight to JesusStrange BedfellowsStripped BareSurviving Sexual ViolenceSymptoms of Being HumanTalkTalk to Me FirstTechniques of PleasureThe Anthropology of SexThe BabiesThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Big Book of PornThe Birth of the PillThe Blue Moon Erotic Reader IIIThe BodyThe Breast BookThe Breath of Tantric LoveThe Busy Couple's Guide to Great SexThe Case of the Female OrgasmThe Chemistry Between UsThe Clitoral TruthThe Education of SophieThe Emergence of SexualityThe End Of AliceThe End of SexThe Erotic EdgeThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Essential KamasutraThe Fate of GenderThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Gay Baby BoomThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Happy Hook-UpThe Hite ReportThe Humble Little CondomThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Illustrated Story of OThe Love CureThe Madness of WomenThe Men They Will BecomeThe Mirror of LoveThe Miseducation of Cameron PostThe Moral Panics of SexualityThe Naked Truth About SexThe Nature of Sexual DesireThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Only Girl in the CarThe Order of the Poison OakThe Origins of SexThe Other HollywoodThe Other PlaceThe Other Side of DesireThe Perils of MasculinityThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of PornographyThe Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary ReadingsThe Pleasure's All MineThe Politics Of LustThe Porn TrapThe Pornographer's GriefThe Pornography IndustryThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Purity MythThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Right to Be ParentsThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Sex MythThe Shared HeartThe Sleep of ReasonThe Smart Girl's Guide to PornThe SurrenderThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Tenth CircleThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Trauma MythThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Vagina MonologuesThe ValleyThe Violence of CareThe Virgin BlueThe Virginity ClubThings Tom LikesThinking KinkThinking XXXToo Hot to HandleTransTransTransgender Children and YouthUltimate JudgementUltimate SexUndoing GenderUnlikelyUntangling the WebVirginVirgin NationVirgin Sex for GirlsVirgin Sex for GuysVirginity LostWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?What's Wrong with Homosexuality?When Jeff Comes HomeWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen the Piano StopsWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Who Has What?Who's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWilhelm ReichWired for IntimacyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWomen and MadnessWritten in the FleshZen Sex
This strangely titled book makes an important contribution to the histories of medicine, psychiatry and sexology. It contextualizes John Money's studies on intersex, transsexualism, paraphilia and hermaphroditism in the ethos of the era, when humanism peaked and when Western science held that plasticity and humanity were equivalent. This book shows how Money's contention that one can "be want you want to be" (and forget about biology) was consistent with the Civil Rights and feminist thrust of the times.
Money was a New Zealand-born psychologist who spent most of his controversial and high profile career in the U.S.A., mostly at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he headed the Gender Identity Clinic and his self-styled Psycho-hormonal Research Unit. Before making his mark at Hopkins, and becoming the preeminent voice in his field until he was dethroned, Money did doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital, affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
Those who wonder how these three essayists and editors coined the title of their book will be reassured to learn that they appropriated the term from Dr. Money himself, who half-seriously described his nascent field as "f**kology." The lead author credits Money for his mastery of linguistics and nuances of language as well as sexology, and apparently admires his neologism.
If we read between the lines, we wonder if the triad who contributed to this book is sending a sotto voce message to their deceased subject through their irreverent and readily misappropriated title. Is this a way of saying, "F U," to a man whom they do not admire and whose methods they decry? Money died in 2006, having shaken the study of gender identity and gender preference at a time when feminism challenged gender norms, and expressed special ire for Freud's insistence that "anatomy is destiny." As we learn, feminists found no friend in Money, and vice versa.
Even more importantly, as one contributor explains in the collections' most important essay, the "human potential movement" of the 1970s and the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s promoted belief in the primacy of individual choice and in culture's ability to trump biological inclinations (even if those two goals are sometimes at odds). Just as King dreamed that men would not be judged by the color of their skins, Money likewise held that humans would not be defined by their birth genitalia. The book's essays reveal contradictions in Money's conclusions, but point out his pivotal role in research at a pivot-point in American social history.
The authors present conflicts between Money's biologically grounded research and the ideology advocated by feminists, who were gaining ground as he wrote. Money's studies on adreno-genital syndrome's influence on gender role and preference captivated the feminist press but did not gain allies in that camp. Money made other enemies as well. Money became so identified with biologically based intersex syndromes that many did not realize that he earned his doctorate in pyshcology and that he held a doctor of philosophy degree ratehr than an M.D. degree.
Rather than detailing Money's pioneering studies, his flawed methodology and the inherent limitations of studying such small samples, this book elaborates on the tragic case of a boy who was born in 1967 but ultimatedly suicided in 2004. As an infant, Bruce Reimer suffered a surgical accident that left him without a functioning penis. Money consulted on the Reimer case when Bruce (soon to become Brenda) was still young, and when the befuddled parents expected experts to recommend a better life course for their injured infant. Money had already been criticized for extrapolating from persons who were born with endocrine anomalies, and whose developing brains were exposed to qualities and quantities of gonadotropins that differed from gonadotropins secreted under ordinary circumstances. Some said that Money saw baby Reimer as an opportunity to offset scathing critiques of his research methodology. Here was a baby boy, born witout a genetic or endocrinoloigcal abnormality, who was the unfortunate victim of a circumcision accident that left him with "aphallia," a condition otherwise encountered in conjunction with endocrine or genetic abnormalities. He could be Money's "control study"—which was all the better, because Bruce/Brenda had a twin brother who could be monitored.
At Money's recommendation, the Reimer family agreed to alter their child's gender surgically, and to rear Bruce as a girl. Phalloplasty was not advanced enough in those years to attempt to reconstruct the lost phallus, and so they chose the route of least resistance. Bruce became Brenda, with the advanced knowledge that Brenda (nor Bruce) would not conform to full gender expectations or reproduce naturally. Brenda received estrogens, still unaware of her past. Most of her doctors and both of her parents believed that gender identity remained malleable at that age.
However, Brenda was never comfortable in her female guise and never lost normative gender-specific interests. As a teen, Brenda chose to live as a male. He eventually married a woman and adopted her children. "Brenda" became David, but not for as long as he should have. David took his own life at the age of thirty-eight. A few years earlier, he collaborated on a 2000 biography that contradicted Money's written reports. Money objected to David's accounts.
I do not want to lend the impression that this book is a pastiche of tearjerker stories like Reimer's. Nor is it an expose of medical-ethical breeches that were not deemed unethical in their own era, when there were no precedents and when medical ethics as we know it was not on the radar. These diverse essays incorporate diverse data, including comparisons with ethologist Konrad Lorenz and psychoanalyst Robert Stoller, who studied the psychodynamics of "intersex," transvestism and transsexualism. Krafft-Ebbing and names of other 19th century theorists of sex (including Freud) appear on these pages, along with more contemporary sex researchers, such as Masters and Johnson, Kinsey and Pomeroy. Money's nemesis, the biologist Milton Diamond, who vehemently opposed Reimer's irreversible surgery, gets ample attention.
The three authors' backgrounds are as diverse and fluid as their subject matter. Lead author Lisa Downing is Professor of French Discourses (and perhaps that explains the emphasis on Foucault). Iain Moreland is a British musical technologist who writes on gender and sexuality, medical ethics, and science. Nikki Sullivan is an Honorary Researcher, Department of Media, Music, Communication, and Cultural Studies at the University of South Australia, where she teaches. It is unclear to me if the authors anticipated just how timely their topic would become post-publication. This book may not receive as much attention as Vanity Fair's cover photo of the transformed Caitlyn Jenner, but it surely deserves attention from medical historians and ethicists as well as gender theorists and psychiatrists who treat persons with gender concerns.
© 2015 Sharon Packer
Sharon Packer, MD is a psychiatrist who is in private practice in Soho (NYC) and Woodstock, NY. She is an Asst. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her books includeDreams in Myth, Medicine and Movies (Praeger, 2002), Movies and the Modern Psyche (Praeger, 2007) and Superheroes and Superegos: The Minds behind the Masks (Praeger/ABC-Clio, 2010). In press or in production are Sinister Psychiatrists in Cinema (McFarland, 2012) and Evil in American Pop Culture (ABC-Clio, 2013, co-edited with J. Pennington, PhD.) She can be contacted at email@example.com .