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Robert J. Stoller (1924 – 1991)

Related: psychoanalysis - sexology


Dr. Stoller was an important figure at the University of California Los Angeles gender clinic from 1968 on. He was at heart a psychoanalyst, expounded the model that transsexuality is created by a family constellation of a “too close mother” and a “distant or absent father”... but seriously questioned whether the model held up as he discovered that certain cases of intersex strongly suggested that a biological underpinning to gender identity existed in the sexually dimorphic brain.

Dr. Stoller wrote several books and numerous papers on the topic of human sexuality; transsexuality, transvestism, erotic imagery (porn), sado-masochism, and homosexuality, usually from a psychoanalytic viewpoint.

Dr. Stoller died tragically in an automobile accident in 1991 at the age of 66. The Stoller Foundation sponcors a lecture series in Stoller’s memory.


  1. Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred (1975) - Robert J. Stoller [Amazon.com]

    Robert J. Stoller was a man of intellectual force who was definitely ahead of his time. My review follows the reading of the 1975 edition of Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred.

    I was at first cautious about reading a book from so long ago because I expected it to be dated. However, the title intrigued me. I found it to be quite an enjoyable and informing read, and it expressed views on diagnosis and labeling that are very thought provoking.

    The main premise of the book is that perversion is an outlet people have for their sexual hatred and rage. It develops from the relationship with the parents from an early age, mainly from gender confusion. There is a lot of leaning on Freud's threory, but it is never accepted verbatim by the author.

    Fantasy is seen as a defensive structure that develops to salvage sexual pleasure that would otherwise be lost. A person develops fantasy about a certain object, person, or way of expressing himself sexually in fantasy. From this the perversion develops. In a way, perversion is seen as a tragedy or failure of childhood turned into an adult triumph.

    Where sexual pleasure was threatened to be removed because of trauma from childhood, a situation develops where the childhood situation of victim and oppressor is reversed by the fantasy. The boy/man who can not function sexually with a woman salvages his ability to have sexual pleasure by alternate means. He takes his revenge by inflicting the same humiliation and hatred on the object of his perversion that he sees as having been inflicted on himself as a child.

    There is reference also to how we use diagnosis as a means of labeling persons, like homosexuals, when in actuality there is no one 'homosexual' condition but a multitude of 'homosexualities'. Sexual preference is not seen as something we can write in stone, but is something whose variable nature is inherent in all of us. Perversion is in fact a way that we keep sexual energy channelled into constructive avenues in society instead of destructive ones. Perversions are kept private, allowing us to keep our facade of our idea of good society running smoothly.

    We are all seen as perverse to some extent. It's really a matter of degree as to who gets labeled or not.

    This is a sampling of the ideas in this book. I don't know if these ideas are dated or not, but I found it to be quite informative and a really enjoyable read. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in human sexuality. --arcticfrog for amazon.com

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