Historical story

The most archaic views of PRL sexologists

French love as a perversion? Insulin coma is a reliable way to heal the need for sex reassignment? We present the dark sides of the "progressive" Polish school of sexology. The famous Wisłocka was also not without sin.

Abortion on request, unlimited access to contraceptives ... It is easy to believe that People's Poland in the field of sex was a bastion of tolerance. The authorities did not look under the quilts of citizens. However, not all Poles had the right to exercise moral liberties. For example, homosexuals could not count on equal treatment.

How to cure a homosexual?

During the Polish People's Republic, homosexuality was perceived as a sexual perversion and a disease. It was believed that those affected by this "disorder" could be treated with electroconvulsive therapy. It was a common practice. Even Professor Zbigniew Lew-Starowicz, one of the greatest authorities in contemporary sexology, admitted that at the beginning of his professional practice he sometimes prescribed electric therapy to homosexual patients.

According to the research and guidelines of the time, sexologists directed men with homosexual inclinations to aversive therapy. It consisted in the fact that the "sick" was browsing gay pornographic newspapers. If it caused him sexual arousal, he was… electrocuted . Through pain, they tried to evoke bad associations with homosexuality and direct the libido to the "right direction".

This was the reaction to a homosexual couple caught red-handed according to an 18th-century Persian manuscript. It was not much better in the People's Republic of Poland… (public domain).

It was also believed that the problem of a different sexual orientation mainly affects the prison community, where men are forced to stay in each other's company for long periods. No wonder homosexuals were automatically treated as suspects. Four years before the change of the political system, in 1985 the militia and the SB initiated the action "Hyacinth" against them. Gay men were interrogated by policemen at police stations and special pink files were put on them. It is estimated that about 11,000 files were collected in this way.

The invisible wall (for transsexuals)

Transgender people were in an even worse position. One of the pioneers of Polish sexology, Kazimierz Imieliński, in his book "The Apocalypse of Gender" described the case of a patient who turned to him for help in the early 1960s. This person felt trapped in his body and was looking for an opportunity to undergo sex reassignment surgery. / P>

The article was based on, among others, the book by Konrad Szołajski entitled "Wisłocka, or how it was with the art of love" (Świat Książki 2017).

Professor Imieliński had to confess to the patient that he was helpless in the face of his drama. Commenting on this situation, the sexologist stated that the medical model of that time was an invisible wall that could not be penetrated in any way . Desperate patient committed suicide. Before his death, he wrote a letter to the professor and expressed the hope that his act would draw attention to the problem of transgender people in Poland and pave the way for others.

In fact, during the communist era, transsexuals faced a similar "treatment" to homosexuals. They were given electroconvulsive therapy, insulin coma or psychotropic drugs , administered to schizophrenics. Sexologists considered the need to change sex to be a serious identity disorder, so even partners of transsexuals were advised to be monitored psychologically.

How to cure homosexuality? Preferably, as with transsexualism - brutally and painfully. For example, electroshock ... Here we see a World War I device in action (Photo:Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine, Flickr, license CC BY 2.0).

Świerszczyki? Only with capitalists

Unlimited access to pornography is a sign of our times. Publications of the People's Republic of Poland did not offer such "indecent" publications. There was also a strict ban on importing pornographic magazines from abroad. This is what Konrad Szołajski wrote about the situation in the country in his book "Wisłocka, or how it was with the art of love":

At strictly guarded borders, customs officers pull travelers out of their luggage and confiscate all "lawns". In the country, censorship controls all media and makes sure that the citizens of the People's Republic of Poland not only do not read subversive literature, but also do not have any "indecent" models and live (at least officially) in virtue.

It was, of course, a recommendation from the authorities, but also the sexologists of the time did not have a favorable opinion of the "spruce". The official definition of pornography was "dehumanized sex." Michalina Wisłocka had a more blunt definition: there is no man there, only ass there .

Allowed from 18 years

Despite access to contraception and abortion, the authorities made it clear - the overriding goal was the family, and sex was to serve family happiness. Maybe that is why sex in the People's Republic of Poland was reserved only for adults . As the authors of the book "Selected Issues of Sexual Education in the Military" stated, age 18 is also generally considered to be the lower limit of sexual intercourse .

Świerszczyki? Behind the Iron Curtain, it hasn't been allowed, not even for eighteen years. Because "there is no man there, only ass there". Such as this Japanese vending machine for magazines and movies for adults was like the forbidden fruit (photo:Daniel Axelson - Flickr, license CC BY-SA 2.0).

Some sexologists believed that a sexual life started before the age of 18 may disappoint adolescents and develop a "cynical attitude towards love". But not all of them had such a conservative approach to youth. From the book "Wisłocka, or how it was with the art of love" by Konrad Szołajski, we learn that:

Docent Jaczewski did his habilitation and came up with the crazy idea of ​​establishing a sexology clinic for schoolchildren (...). He knew that running such an institution would inevitably become inconvenient for those who did not like sex education and contraception, especially for underage youth.

Michalina Wisłocka was also active in the clinic founded by Andrzej Jaczewski. For the sake of decency, it was conducted at the Warsaw Youth Clinic.

Full-fledged ratio in People's Poland

With so many limitations on apparent sexual freedom, it is no longer surprising that the excessive erotic fantasies of adult heterosexual couples were also restrained. Among other things, French love aroused controversy. It was accepted by Polish sexologists, but only ... as a form of foreplay, an introduction to "full" intercourse.

Oral sex as a form of intercourse was even considered a sexual perversion. Agnieszka Kościańska writes about it in her book "Gender, pleasure and violence". Not everyone posed the matter so radically:Professor Lew-Starowicz mentioned many advantages of French love, such as easing tension or improving the quality of foreplay. But as a rule, if the tongue replaced the penis, it was considered pathology .

Only one type of intercourse was full-fledged. And replacing the penis with the tongue was considered a pathology ... Illustrative illustration (source:public domain).

The views of Polish sexologists on orgasms were similarly rigid. If oral sex couldn't replace full intercourse, then clitoral orgasm couldn't compare to vaginal orgasm either. In the famous "The Art of Loving", Michalina Wisłocka only linked the latter with a full-fledged relationship shared by partners.

The famous sexologist warned women against perpetuating the clitoral reflex and stopping at this stage of sexual development . Wisłocka recommended that her patients, who had problems with reaching orgasm during intercourse, change their position and exercise special vaginal muscles exercises. She considered the clitoral orgasm to be an expression of immaturity and even a threat to marriage.


  1. Department of Healthcare of the Polish Armed Forces on behalf of Propaganda Board of GZP WP, Selected issues of sexual education in the army , pub. MON 1964.
  2. Kazimierz Imieliński, Stanisław Dulko, The Apocalypse of Gender , Glob 1989.
  3. Agnieszka Kościańska, Gender, pleasure and violence. Shaping expert knowledge about sexuality in Poland , Publishing House of the University of Warsaw 2014.
  4. Zbigniew Lew-Starowicz, Pan of sex , Character Literanova 2013.
  5. Violetta Ozminkowski, Michalina Wisłocka:the art of loving the scandal. A story about the first lady of Polish sexology , Prószyński i S-ka, 2014.
  6. Konrad Szołajski, Wisłocka, or how it was with the art of love , World of Books 2017.
  7. Krzysztof Tomasik, Gejerel. Sexual minorities in the People's Republic of Poland , Krytyki Polityczna Publishing House 2012.
  8. Article 18 , documentary, dir. Bartosz Staszewski, 2015.