Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 821–824 | Cite as

“Frotteuristic Disorder”: Etymological and Historical Note

  • Diederik F. Janssen
Letter to the Editor

The supposed entity of frotteurism entered psychiatric classifications on misty, in any case questionable, grounds (Hinderliter, 2010, p. 1236). The term is virtually always traced back to quasi-technical use of the word frotteur in 1890 texts by Parisian psychiatrist Valentin Magnan (1835–1916), but essentially nothing has been written on its medical or cultural history. Magnan’s use of terms is not the earliest in the literature, however. Below I very briefly discuss frotteurism’s entries into criminological and ensuing nosological parlance in and beyond France, and its enduringly problematic status in sexual nosology.

Entries into European Nosology

The general French nouns frotteur and frottage (rubber, rubbing) occur widely in non-sexual denotations1 before entering the sexological work by Magnan (1890a, see pp. 267–271; 1890b, p. 448; 1893, pp. 214–218). Unattributed by Magnan, in an 1887 book, former Chief of the Paris Security Police Gustave Macé documents policemen trying to...


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NijmegenThe Netherlands

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