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John Money


John Money (born 1921), Ph.D., is a professor, professor emeritus of pediatrics and professor emeritus of medical psychology at Johns Hopkins University. He has had a decades long career as a psychologist studying human sexology. He was born in New Zealand.

He has specialised in the study of sexual identity, gender identity and gender roles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money [Jun 2004]

Orgasm [...]

The two lovers are able to experience a feeling of unrestrained and untamed abandonment to one another. It is not necessary for them to pay attention either to what the self is doing or what the partner is doing. All the movements take care of themselves, as if reflexively. The sensations greedily absorbed by the vulva, externally and through deep interior pressure, tell the vaginal cavity how to selfishly pulsate, ripple, quiver, and contract on the penis, in order to release itself in orgasm. Reciprocally, the penis selfishly probes and presses, twists a little, withdraws and tantalizes at the portals, and sinks deeply again, it too greedily building up its own orgasmic pleasure. The two bodies writhe, unheedingly. The two minds drift into the oblivion of attending only to their own feeling, so perfectly synchronized that the ecstasy of the one is preordained to be the reciprocal ecstacy of the other. Two minds, mindlessly lost in one another. This is the perfect orgasmic experience. This is how an orgasm sighs, moans, exclaims, expires, exhausts itself into exultant repose. --John Money, Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-bonding, pp. 118-119. John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, London) 1980. [Amazon.com]

Sexual identity, Gender identity and Gender roles

John Money's definition of gender depends on his understanding of sex differences among human beings. He calls the fact that one sex produces ova and the other sex produces sperm the irreductible criterion of sex difference. He adds, however, that there are other differences that follow in the wake of this primary dichotomy.

There are sex-derivative differences, e.g., differences in the way urine is sent outside the body. There are sex-adjunctive differences, e.g., the smaller size of females and their problems in moving around while nursing infants make it more likely that the males will do the roaming and hunting. And there are sex-arbitrary differences, i.e., differences that are purely conventional (baby blue for boys, pink for girls). Some of the latter differences apply to life activities (jobs open to men, jobs open to women, etc.)

The third category has so little to do with procreative sex that Money decided to create a new term, "gender role", to supplement the term "sex role." According to the way he defined these (at the time) new terms, the genital and erotic sex roles were included under the more general term "gender role," and "gender role" included all the non-genital and non-erotic activities that are defined by the conventions of society to apply to males or to females, e.g., females wear dresses and males do not. (And if somebody violates such a convention s/he is likely to be made aware that the mores of the society have been violated. Some such violations may be treated as violations of law as well.)

Gender, for Money, is a broader, more inclusive concept than sex. It is one's status as a man or a woman, as a matter of personal recognition, social assignment, or legal determination, on the basis of genitalia but also on the basis of other somatic and behavioral criteria that go beyond genital differences.

Gender identity is one's own categorization of one's individuality as male, female, or ambivalent as experienced in self-awareness of one's own mental processes and one's own actual behavior.

Gender role is the public manifestation of one's gender identity, the things that one says and that one does that gives people a basis for inferring whether one is male, female, or fits neither of those categories.

To stress the idea that gender identity and gender role are two aspects of the same thing, Money coined a new term: Gender-Identity/Role, which he frequently abbreviates as "G-I/R."

Money was first to define the term lovemap. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money [Jun 2004]

Critiques and Comments

Money's ideas relating to gender and gender identity formation have come under much criticism by some. Money maintained that a child's gender identity is fluid up to a certain age, after which this gender would become consolidated and more-or-less immutable. This theory was applied in the case of a male child whose penis was totally destroyed due to a botched circumcision. The child was subsequently sexually reassigned to be female -- however despite the fact that this child was ignorant of his original status as a male, and despite the fact that he no longer had testicles, he nevertheless behaved in a masculine way appropriate to a boy and attempts to socialize him as a girl failed (a fact which Money covered up for years). When the subject reached an age sufficient to take his destiny into his own hands, he requested and received surgery to provide him with the male genitalia to match his male gender identity. He never recovered psychologically from the experience, and finally took his own life on May 5, 2004.

Since sex-arbitrary characteristics are matters of convention, and people may choose to flout the conventions of their society, people may at times incorrectly infer the sex of an individual on the basis of clothing, occupation, hair length, and other such characteristics that ordinarily serve to reveal the sexual identity that each person's clothing conceals by covering the primary sexual characteristics.

In other words, people may incorrectly infer a gender identity (and therefore a sex identity) on the basis of one's gender role. So gender roles can meet the very real social need of people to identify each other by sex while maintaining modesty, yet these roles can be problematical because they can convey a false indication of an individual's sex. They can also be problematical when the gender role favored by an individual (and the individual's own assessment of gender identity) are discordant with that individual's external genitalia. Money's writings seem not to have taken these logical extensions of his own ideas into account.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money [Jun 2004]

On pedophilia [...]

John Money also criticizes the debate on pedophilia. Some researchers and the public do not make distinctions between affectional paedophilia and sadistic pedophilia, and between infantophilia, pedophilia and ephebophilia. At the extreme end of both spectra, we have a paraphilic murderer, attracted to preteens.

Affectional pedophilia is about love and it involves no unpleasantness, force or personal hurt, and especially no punishment, castigation or discipline. Money also says that pedophilia is caused by a surplus of parental love, that has become erotic, and that it is no disorder. Instead he says that normal heterosexuality is an ideological norm. Such norms are defined by those who have the strongest army and policeforces to force their own ideology onto others. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money [Jun 2004]

On Deep Throat [...]

Professor of Medical Psychology Dr. John Money: "It indicates that women have a right to a sex life of their own, and they are not simply an instrumentality of men's sex life which is the way things used to be... There is a theme in the film which implies that women should get sexual satisfaction and sexual gratification." --source unknown


  1. Lovemaps: Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity by John Money [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This is the most accessible of John Money's books. It is the real "Venus and Mars" book about relationships. Dr. Money has a long history of solid research and writing in the field of sexology that predates Comfort and others. His intense intellectual power limits the audience to those willing to struggle through complex descriptions of very complex concepts...you see our sexual brain is not so simple as to be covered in the prime time attention span of 30 minutes. If you take the time with this one, I am sure you will come away with more than that which the 10 most popular lay books out there COMBINED have to offer. This is the REAL truth, and not in a fancy package...all the best to Dr. Money...former student and author, Kenneth Giuffre MD, "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain", Career Press 1999. -- kenbrain@neurostuff.com

  2. The Breathless Orgasm: A Lovemap Biography of Asphyxiophilia - John Money, Gordon Wainwright, David Hingsburger [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    An account of one man's triumph over the unusual compulsion of asphyxiophilia, a disorder in which sexual arousal and orgasm are dependent upon self-strangulation and asphyxiation. (Asphyxiophiliac rituals are often the unmentioned--or unrecognized--causes of the accidental suicide of young men.) Written by a sexologist, a creative- writing student, and a therapist, incorporating poems and narratives written by the victim himself.

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