PROBLEMS OF AN
As sexology entered the twentieth century, it had become essentially another aspect of medical research. As such, research was based on patient populations and was aimed at helping physicians diagnose and treat individuals who consulted them. The course of the twentieth century saw the field broaden its horizons to include large numbers of nonphysician researchers who were not so much interested in establishing new diagnostic categories and treatment modalities as exploring new frontiers. Data were gathered not only from patients but also from carefully chosen statistical samples. Even many of the physicians who continued to do research in the field, such as Ellis, Hirschfeld, Bloch, Dickinson, and Masters, tended to abandon the diagnostic categories and to turn to data-gathering methods of the social sciences and even humanities. Biochemists, geneticists, physiologists, and endocrinologists all established a strong presence in the field, helping strengthen the scientific knowledge about sex.
The very complexity of the subject, however, worked against the dominance of research by any one discipline. While biology in its various specialties is essential to understanding sexual functioning, so is a knowledge of the social, cultural, and psychological aspects of sexuality. This requires the expertise of anthropologists, historians, psychologists, sociologists, literary specialists, art historians, musicologists, and others. If help or treatment is sought by an individual, a number of professions can become involved, not only the physicians who dominated the field in the nineteenth century but nurses, social workers, psychologists, social psychologists, and various kinds