A Morally Contagious Category. Male Homosexual Prostitution in the Italian Scientific Debate (1880-1910 ca.)
This article aims at investigating the phenomenon of male prostitution in Italy between 1880s and the first decade of the twentieth century. Starting from the analysis of the most accredited European scientific theories about male masturbation and homosexuality, it illustrates how the gender-oriented stereotype of virility has contributed to making the “male prostitute” the most iconic symbol of the socially dangerous man. A man whose existence has been judged by most Italian scientists as a vehicle of sexual corruption and moral contagion of Italian youth.
keywords: male identity; history of prostitution; moral contagion; sexual corruption; male masturbation; male homosexuality; male prostitution