Omnes et Nihil wrote:If you're interested, heterosexuality was invented in 1868 in Germany.
Well, I don't know about School of Fish, but I'm interested. I'd like to hear more about this.
Clearly, the statement is a little ironic. I don't for a moment mean that people didn't have romantic/sexual/legal partner relationships before the nineteenth century. And when it was invented, the idea didn't quite match up to what we think of today... but it's still credited as the appearance of heterosexuality, and the first description recorded of "normal" people in that context.
Well very long story short... for many many reasons, mid nineteenth century Germany area, moving toward adopting "unnatural fornication" law, prohibiting all forms of sexual contact that were not strictly for reproductive purposes. Now, although most of the things bound to be prohibited were actually between heterosexual partners, obviously all sexual acts between people of the same sex would be made illegal. And the easiest logistically to police. It's pretty hard to prove that a husband and wife are having some kind of non-penile-vaginal-penetrative sex. It's a lot easier to prove that two guys are having some
kind of sex.
Result: a bunch of mid-nineteenth century German guys (many of whom were open about being involved with other guys) were outspoken against this law, and took up writing about people being inclined to have relationships with people of the same sex. As a result... they needed also to talk about people inclined to have relationships with people of the "other" sex. [He personally identified this way, and this was no secret to anyone.]
A lot of the writing from this era mixed gender identity of the person and gender identity of the type of people to whom one is attracted. But that's another story.
Karl Ulrichs actually had a word for people who are attracted to people of the opposite sex around time too, but it was quite different in meaning from heterosexuality, because to him this was explicitly tied to gender-- part of being a man was being attracted to women, and part of being a woman was being attracted to men... and so men who experienced attraction to other men were somehow part woman spiritually, and women who experienced attraction to other women were part men spiritually: both were of the third gender.
Anyway, around the same time, a couple years later, Karl-Maria Kertbeny (born Benkert) basically invented heterosexuality (describing specifically attractions). His concept of heterosexuality was specific contrast to men who are inclined to have sexual relationships with other men, but not women... and as far as he was concerned, men who were mostly into women but somehow did stuff sexually with other men were still heterosexual. He also used the words "normalsexual" and "normally sexed" as synonyms of "heterosexual". He used these words because this was intended to describe the majority of the population, and the "normal" population of people who married unproblematically.
[So "bisexuality" was missing from the beginning... and keep in mind this was a context where men and women still married each other for many reasons other than love/attraction/sex... i.e. if you could do the "marriage thing", you generally did.. for basic practical / survival reasons, although that was just starting to change a little bit with industrialisation.]
Kertbeny first expressed the idea of heterosexuality to Ulrichs in a personal letter in 1868, then published it in 1869 in an anonymous pamphlet entitled "Section 143 of the Prussian Penal Code of April 14, 1851 and its Retention as Section 152 in the Draft of a Penal Code for the North-German League"
They don't name political pamphlets like that anymore!He wrote that heterosexual men and women participate with each other:
"... in so-called natural [procreative] as well as unnatural [non-procreative] coitus. They are also capable of giving themselves over to same-sex excesses. Additionally, normally-sexed [heterosexual]individuals are no less likely to engage in self-defilement [masturbation] if there is insufficient opportunity to satisfy one's drive. And they are equally likely to assault male but especially female minors...; to indulge in incest; to engage in bestiality...; and even to behave depravedly with corpses if their moral self-control does not control their lust. And it is only amongst the normally-sexed that the special breed of so-called "bleeder" occurs, those who, thirsting for blood, can only satisfy their passion by wounding and torturing."