Probably the first such work on the subject in Russia and the USSR

IAKOBZON, Liudvig Iakovlevich

Polovye rasstroistva u muzhchin: polovoe bessilie, muzhskoe besplodie, polovye izvrashcheniia

[Sexual Disorders in Men: Sexual Impotence, Male Infertility, Sexual Perversions]

Publication: Krasnyi Pechatnik for Praktich. Meditsin, Leningrad, 1926.

IAKOBZON, Liudvig Iakovlevich, Polovye rasstroistva u muzhchin: polovoe bessilie, muzhskoe besplodie, polovye izvrashcheniia

Very rare first edition of this study covering many aspects, with few taboos and much nuance – a surprisingly complete, scholarly and cultured work on the subject. Of great rarity: no other copy traced.

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Impressively wide-ranging study by one of the founders of sexopathology in Russia; this being the first such work we could trace. We couldn’t find much previous writings on sexopathology in Russian at all, most being a handful of 20th-c. works on sexual biology, behaviour and culture. V. M. Tarnovskii published some more focused (or limited) books sexual diseases in the 1870-90s., as did Iakobzon himself before his Disorders.

Extremely rare: we could not find any other copy of this first edition. OCLC shows no results for any edition of this work; apparently no copy in the Wellcome Collection nor in the National Library of Medicine (USA), which only owns Iakobzon’s early Latin dictionary. Moreover, the State Library (Moscow) only has a copy of the 2nd edition, and the National Library (St Petersburg) only of the 3rd (indicated as such on titles and wrappers). We could not trace any copy at auction either, including in Russia.

Liudvig Iakovlevich Iakobzon (1873-1943), a Russian physician of Jewish descent, conducted research on the prevention of venereal diseases, sexual disorders and sexual abstinence when it was practically a terra incognita in Russia. He created and edited articles for the successful Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, and in the 1920-30s organised and supervised counselling on sexual disorders in Leningrad hospitals; he died in 1943 in besieged Leningrad.

Iakobzon aimed his Sexual disorders in Men both at specialists and the general public. The ‘comprehensive work consolidates a diverse array of crucial subjects in a compact volume: “brief physiology of the male genital organs” (including sub-chapters on erection, orgasm, effects of sexual intercourse on the body, and influences of the nervous system on erection and ejaculation), “causes of sexual disorders” (gonorrhoea, onanism, interrupted intercourse, sexual excesses, sexual abstinence, sexual neurasthenia, diseases of the nervous system), pathological anatomy, its diagnosis and treatment (electrotherapy, massage and local treatment), “sexual impotence and marriage”, male infertility (azoospermia, oligospermia, asthenospermia, necrospermia), “sexual perversions” (autoeroticism, “erotic symbolism”, “pluralism” and homosexuality), with methods of their diagnosis and treatment.

Very impressive for its multi-sided and nuanced approach, Iakobzon’s work not only references many writers (incl. Sacher-Masoch) and several other scholars (such as Albert Ludwig Sigesmund Neisser, Auguste Ambroise Tardieu and Sigmund Freud), but also contains remarks about the Talmud, plays of Aristophanes, Greek art, and homosexual practices in Russian prisons and baths in the late 19th century. Iakobzon summarises and considers many points of views, and includes figures and statistics.

The 3000 copies of this first edition of Sexual disorders in Men sold out within the first three months (Iakobzon, introduction to the second edition); the second edition was published the same year, and a third followed in 1928. In the 1930s, sexological research was curtailed in Russia, and resumed only in the 1970s, which may have well caused confiscation and destruction of such publications.

The wrappers list other works by the same author, mostly on the same subject but of limited scope, including works to be published (on women too); and a short, specialised catalogue by the same publisher.


Gift inscription in Russian to title; Avenir Alexandrovich Nizoff (a pianist who lived in Edmonton, Canada, in the second half of the 20th century, and gathered a large, wide-ranging library of Russian works, especially covering art, émigré, literature and history).


“Iakobzon, Liudvig Iakovlevich”, Evreiskaia entsiklopediia Brokgauza i Efrona, T. 16.

Item number



Physical Description

Octavo (18 x 13.3 cm). 162 incl. title, and [2] pp. table of contents.


Original publisher’s printed wrappers.


Wrappers a bit discoloured and stained, spine glued back, spine foot restored; light marginal waterstain to first leaves, a couple of pencil annotations, one leaf a bit frayed at edge, the odd minor spot, otherwise fresh internally.

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