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(_c_) They are occasionally inverted; _i.e._, under certain external
conditions, chief among which are the inaccessibility of the normal
sexual object and initiation, they are able to take as the sexual
object a person of the same sex and thus find sexual gratification.
The inverted also manifest a manifold behavior in their judgment about
the peculiarities of their sexual impulse. Some take the inversion as a
matter of course, just as the normal person does regarding his libido,
firmly demanding the same rights as the normal. Others, however, strive
against the fact of their inversion and perceive in it a morbid
Other variations concern the relations of time. The characteristics of
the inversion in any individual may date back as far as his memory goes,
or they may become manifest to him at a definite period before or after
puberty. The character is either retained throughout life, or it
occasionally recedes or represents an episode on the road to normal
development. A periodical fluctuation between the normal and the
inverted sexual object has also been observed. Of special interest are
those cases in which the libido changes, taking on the character of
inversion after a painful experience with the normal sexual object.
These different categories of variation generally exist independently of
one another. In the most extreme cases it can regularly be assumed that
the inversion has existed at all times and that the person feels
contented with his peculiar state.
Many authors will hesitate to gather into a unit all the cases
enumerated here and will prefer to emphasize the differences rather than
the common characters of these groups, a view which corresponds with
their preferred judgment of inversions. But no matter what divisions may
be set up, it cannot be overlooked that all transitions are abundantly
met with, so that the formation of a series would seem to impose itself.
*Conception of Inversion.*--The first attention bestowed upon inversion
gave rise to the conception that it was a congenital sign of nervous
degeneration. This harmonized with the fact that doctors first met it
among the nervous, or among persons giving such an impression. There are
two elements which should be considered independently in this
conception: the congenitality, and the degeneration.
*Degeneration.*--This term _degeneration_ is open to the objections
which may be urged against the promiscuous use of this word in general.
It has in fact become customary to designate all morbid manifestations
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