"Salvatore N." was a subject of the study "Sex Variants" by Dr. George Henry from 1936 to 1941. From the study we know that Salvatore was born in America sometime between 1906 and 1911 (age 30 when interviewed) and that his entire family, including all 11 older siblings, were born in Italy. I have conducted searches of the 1910 United States Federal Census for men listed as "son" named "Sal* N*" born between 1906 and 1910 for the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. I have not found a single individual that fits the description of Salvatore and his family. The subjects identities were secret even to Dr. Henry, we know this because another subject is mention in which the individual was hesitant to show his body because his identity may be discovered from his tattoos. Therefore, although many of the subjects may have given their real given name, we cannot assume that Salvatore was his real name, or that his surname really began with "N". Unless an in-depth search is done of every Italian family in New England in 1910, we may never discover the true identity of "Salvatore N". He was also a very close friend of another subject in the study, Nora M., with whom he often joked of marriage as a cover.
The following are transcript portions of his case study. The "Examination of Semen" and "X-ray Examination", which are purely medical and observatory, have been omitted here. One bit of interesting information from these examinations is that Salvatore had a "Vigorous reproductive power". His swimmers were incredibly strong!, even five hours after ejaculation they were 80% motile.
In general appearance Salvatore gives the impression of being a well built Italian male, thirty years of age, with no conspicuous structural defects or anomalies except for his eyes. Thick lenses in his glasses fail to rectify an extreme degree of myopia and call attention to a defect which has for many years been a serious handicap. Otherwise his well-proportioned body, fair muscular development, and substantial bony framework equip him for the physical activity of the average male. There is no suggestion of sexual inadequacy in his external genitalia but there is a little of the juvenile in his broad shoulders and comparatively narrow hips. Hair is much more evident on the lower than on the upper half of his body. Fat is not in excess anywhere except on the inner aspect of the upper half of his thighs.
Throughout the interviews he is alert, attentive, cooperative, chatty, now and then complaining that is unable to find employment or to establish a satisfying human relationship He is tenacious in seeking help although somewhat apologetic for his occasional representations that he is in a sad plight financially and socially. A tone of bitterness and protest is evident in his voice as he relates his misfortune. His gross lack of self-confidence is evident in his uncertain and wavering speech. In addition to being an impractical dreamer with radical socialistic ideas, he is too intelligent for contact with other members of his family and too ineffective to command the respect of his friends.
In the eyes of some of his friends he has a grudge against the world because his desire to be of service to others has not been appreciated or even recognized. His uncouth caresses and generally inept sexual rapport with men cause them to avoid him and he has no real desire to form a physical alliance with a woman. For a while he was able to maintain himself as a bill collector but he was too tender hearted to exert pressure with the result that for several years he has led a parasitic existence, dependent upon his friends and family for support.
The last of twelve children and born when my parents were middle aged, my knowledge of the family is fragmentary. I know that my paternal grandparents were of peasant stock from southern Italy and my maternal grandparents were illiterate and without cultural standards. In fact, the whole family are without particular ambitions or ideals They couldn't conceive of any other life than what they have had.
My parents, and most of the older children also, were born in Italy. Mother insisted upon migrating to the United States and took the children with her, leaving my father behind. He let her go without kissing her good-bye and did not come himself until some time later. She was the business head of the family and did all the worrying. No matter what injustice had been done to him he never did anything about it. He would forgive everybody. Mother had to straighten things out At times she was impatient and on one occasion he packed up and was going to leave. Often they had words but no real quarrels and I don't think he had any intention of going away. As far as I know they never slept together.
I knew my father only as an old man. He was then very, very gentle and meek, rather naive and innocent. He smoked a pipe incessantly, even during the night when he couldn't sleep. He wanted us to go to bed early and he wouldn't go to bed himself until I came in.
As a sexton of a church he was on an intimate basis with the priests. They came to visit at our house and although he was religious he always made fun of them, about their demanding steak for themselves on Good Friday. I think he enjoyed the society of men more than that of women. He was a sort of a philosopher.
Aside from this I know nothing of my father's family except for two uncles Both of them were shoemakers. One died before I was born. This uncle was most uprighteous and religious, the essence of goodness. Mother likes him the best. The other uncle was the black sheep of the family. He left a wife and family in Italy, never went back to them and lived with a Dutch woman whom he called his wife. He was very proud, stubborn as hell, very sensitive, always right and not very logical. He held things against people for no reason at all but was generous to the point of being made a fool of. People could take what they wanted from him and he would never do anything about it. We never knew how he was going to act and we always looked upon him as being a queer person. Nevertheless he was rather superior and I couldn't help but like him. I would call him a sort of ladies' man.
Mother is still an active, aggressive woman, very sensitive and not very demonstrative. Circumstances have forced her to be that way. Her parents died when she was five and she knows nothing of her brothers and sisters. She was reared by an uncle who was exploited by his wife. Mother refused to accept any inheritance from him because she didn't want to give his wife a chance to retaliate. She lived to see this aunt die a pauper.
In order to get away from this uncle and aunt Mother married when she was seventeen. I doubt that she obtained much satisfaction through marriage except from her children, and they were a source of worry. She was gentle and tender to all of us and would stay up all night if necessary to care for us. She would make almost any sacrifice to help me. She worries about me and knows something is bothering me but doesn't know what.
There isn't much that I can tell you about my own brothers and sisters because they are all older and some of them died before I was born. The oldest living brother now past middle age, married and has four children. He is nearest to myself in mental make-up, rather artistic and willing to go without food in order to attend the opera. Perhaps his artistic temperament accounts for his sudden marriage at thirty. In any case he should never have married because he has no idea of responsibility. All of my brothers and sister feel uncomfortable in his presence. He rarely talks and ever since his wife's death he has become rather sour. He has become attached to me and says now that I am his only friend.
The next in the family is a sister who is happily married and is the mother of nine children. She has always been a little devil, romantic and very popular. She has a passion for flowers and is crazy about gardening. Another sister eight years older than myself has had a lot of romantic escapades without having a single great love affair. She is now married and has three children.
Then there is an unmarried brother five years older than I am, a really handsome fellow who has a touch of homosexuality. He always acted silly when he tried to kiss a girl and wasn't able to function when taken places to see them. He could live without women and I know he has had affairs with men. We are much alike and he competes with his sisters in displaying his interest in flowers.
Birth control was never practiced in our family with the result that Mother had a child every two or three years. I was the only one born in America, after my parents were separated. I don't think I was unwelcome. I was physically well until six months old when I became cross-eyed following convulsions. Several of the children were lost in that way. Probably because of my poor eyesight my parents kept me sheltered as a child. They were always afraid something was going to happen to me.
I was always a very nervous, cranky child, always puny and difficult to feed. Mother had plenty of milk and nursed me until I was three. She believed she was doing me a favor. I slept with her until I was nine and while in bed with her I used to play with her breasts. I would go to sleep with my hands on them. At first she just tolerated it but later on she slapped my hands. Otherwise I recall nothing unusual in my early childhood except that I would never go into a dark room or into the cellar until the light was turned on. Very often also when being scolded I would threaten to jump out of the window although I knew I wouldn't do it. In kindergarten I was in deadly fear of a boy who had been appointed monitor and I had a tough time because the teacher didn't like me. I was always being punished for things I didn't do and without being given a chance to explain. Every day for about three weeks I was put in a close for an hour. Finally one of my sisters bawled the teacher out and she didn't do it again.
I can trace my homosexual interests back to the age of seven when I became obsessed with a desire for a man in the neighborhood who passed our house. I wanted to press my face against his buttocks and to kiss them. I knew I shouldn't do anything like that and I used to ask myself why I had such a desire. I didn't know the man and he paid no attention to me. I don't know what his face looked like and the closest I ever got to him was about fifty yards. During the next three years I was attracted to a man twenty years old, living with our family. I wanted to kiss him on the mouth and to have him take me on his lap. One day I made use of a scheme to gratify my desires. I told him that I had something to tell him in his ear. He bent down and I kissed him. He just patted me. With a young man courting one of my sisters I was more successful. He permitted me to climb on his lap.
From the age of ten until sixteen I was much attracted to the husband of another sister. I wanted to embrace him and to press my face against his buttocks but I never did anything about it. I still have this desire. Several other men have attracted me in the same way including my first male teacher at thirteen. He was very tall and very easy going. I like him a lot - just liked to be with him. I would have given anything if I could have embraced him.
In high school I had several male teachers and for the first time learned about sex. Before that all my friends were good. There was also a radical change in my desires in that the front of a man from the hips to the knees became attractive to me. I began haunting public lavatories and other places where I might observe the penis. I always looked at the organ of one of my teachers. He sort of liked me and wrote to me a couple of times but I don't think he was aware of anything unusual.
At fourteen one of the boys on my block invited me to the cellar and asked me if I ever jerked off. He then masturbated me and tried sodomy. He asked me to do the same thing and I tried it but didn't like it. That started me masturbating regularly. For the next few years whenever I masturbated I thought of my brother-in-law. I would picture myself kneeling before him with my face pressed against his organ. I didn't know about the actual act of fellatio at that time. I just knew I wanted to be near him. For five or six years I masturbated every day, always with the fantasy of kneeling before my brother-in-law. I wanted to kiss it and finally I wanted it in my mouth. I don't think he would have attracted me at all if he had been naked. Properly dressed men always have been more exciting to me.
My friends were of the better type of boy. They always treated me nicely-protected me. I was always considered a sissy at school and they called me "four-eyed." I was always a little backward and I had no feeling whatever for girls and no sex desire for boys of my own age. I have always been attracted to older men. By the time I was eighteen I began to think I was different from other boys. I had heard about fairies and I began to be alarmed. I would cringe at the thought that I was one of them although there was always some man I desired. I was then going to evening high school and having passionate feelings for my instructor. I loved him completely. I wanted to kiss him, to embrace him and finally to take his penis in my mouth. He always treated me decently and I was very happy whenever I could do any favors for him. I never gave in to my desires and I don't think he knew anything about them. I think he would have resented it if he had known.
Finally, when I was twenty-one, I decided I was a homosexual. Every now and then I was seeing a man between the age of thirty and forty with whom I wanted to have relations but nothing happened until two years later. Then a married man, four years older, came to live at our house. His wife was in Europe and he was extremely sensual. Before I knew it I had fallen head over heels in love with him. The first real affair with him was not until a year after we got acquainted although when we were alone I would snuggle up close to him, lean my head back on his shoulder and kiss his ear. He didn't object to this. Moreover, while he would be walking around with his clothes on I would be looking at his back or front. Gradually I would hold him tight and I found excuses to sleep with him. At such times I would hold his organ, put my leg between his and kiss him continuously. I did everything but take his organ in my mouth. I was getting a nervous breakdown thinking that he wouldn't object to my using my mouth and yet not having courage enough to do anything about it.
I wanted to prove myself whether or not that was really what I wanted and after he moved away I did it to him three times. Each time I had to talk him into it. He didn't want to do anything that would hurt me but he submitted. I really loved him. I never expected anything from him - I knew I was giving and not receiving. I would have an erection and he would have his satisfaction.
With only a partial high school education and with the handicap of very poor eyesight I was unable to command more than a minor position in an office. The work didn't hold my attention but after I told my employer my whole history he took a personal interest in me. He wouldn't believe that I was not attracted to women and took me out for a spree. With the first woman I couldn't get an erection but with the second I did by thinking of this man. When it came the woman slipped it in. The contact with her was not pleasant.
Probably my inability to have sexual desire for women or to obtain satisfaction from relations with them was due to my backwardness. Until I was fourteen I had never associated the sexual act with birth and I looked upon it as something filthy. The thought of my parents doing such a thing was terrible. I was a prude and there was no question about it.
Then there was a woman in the office who brought me candy and who was always very nice to me. She was religious and was looked upon as being very respectable. At the theater she held my hand and tried to kiss me. I felt ashamed but tried to act like a man. The second time she asked me into her room. It was obvious that she was expecting something but I did nothing. Then she helped me on with my coat and buttoned it for me. When she came to the last button she grasped my organ and asked if it was hers. I said "yes," and bolted.
The next time I made myself act as though I loved her. I couldn't kiss her but I did want to find out whether I liked it. I got an erection by thinking of the man in the office and we then had relations. When I was about to come she said to hold it. I then lost the erection and she finally masturbated me on her vagina. She was passionate and enjoyed it. That was my first and last affair with a woman.
My last serious love affair began when I was twenty-six, with a boy two years younger (brother of Nora M.). He had come with his sister to live in our home. [Conversely, Nora M. suggested that she and Salvatore met at the officer where they worked together. Perhaps they met there, and later moved in together. At that point he met her brother.] I knew he was oversexed and finally I told him that I wanted to kiss him. He said to go ahead and he then allowed me to do anything I wanted. He was eccentric but I loved him nevertheless. His penis was very large and for two or three years I took it in my mouth. My one big passion was to see him happy. Then he met a girl and after he had become engaged to her I stopped touching him. I wanted him to be happily married.
Altogether I lived with him in the same house for five years. I made it my business to make him happy. If he was blue I would be also. I used to tell myself that I would find happiness in his happiness. He leaned on my from an emotional standpoint. He never got along very well with the opposite sex and when he was having trouble with this girl I tried to patch things up for him. I used to kid myself that I didn't care about his interest in this girl but I guess I did. I always felt that while he was around nothing could be wrong. About a year ago I stopped living with him but being so close to a man and sleeping with him has ruined my health.
He has since returned to his home in Europe. I get a letter from him every two weeks and when it doesn't come I fear that he is forgetting about me. Sometimes I wish he wouldn't meet new friends so that there would be no one to take my place. The intelligent part of my wishes for his happiness and the selfish part wants him to come back.
I have also had a brotherly attachment for his sister (Nora M.). Except for sex I have been her best friend. She has never been without Lesbian love and men are repulsive to her. She is very masculine in her way of thinking, wears tailored clothes, likes to drink and smoke, and is no good in the house because she is so clumsy. She slept upstairs and when she felt blue she would come downstairs and creep in bed with me. She confides all her difficulties in me. I kiss her good night but have no further desire. Sometimes when I tease her by putting my arms around her she almost throws me out of the bed.
We have often kiddingly suggested that we get married so that she could have her friends and I could have mine. She thinks that's evil. She hates men and to her they are all beasts. She almost went crazy once trying to have relations with a man. It made her feel like vomiting and she didn't feel well for weeks afterward. She says that if she hadn't controlled herself she would have killed him.
I think I have started her on a different life. She didn't know about homosexuality until I told her from that time she has opened up and blossomed. A year ago I encouraged her to leave our home to live with a girl. She doesn't want to be cured. Since she has come to realize that she is a homosexual she has thrown all conventions to the winds. I guess she has a notion that she might as well live her life while she can.
In the last two years, without much success, I have made a deliberate effort to satisfy my sexual desires. I can't pay for favors like others do and after I have explained the whole situation to a man I feel too embarrassed to go on. I'm just love starved. I don't function any more. I would like to be relieved of all sex feelings. I am obsessed with sex - the desire for satisfaction - twenty out of the twenty-four hours.
I often ask myself I am really a homosexual or merely a person who performs homosexual acts through association. I never went to have an affair with another homosexual. Taking the penis in my mouth does not satisfy me. Homosexual practices disgust me. Men who speak with an effeminate voice, who refer to each other as "she" or who make feminine gestures, are repugnant to me. My desire is for virile men who never think of such things and so I can see no hope of complete satisfaction. that is what makes me unhappy, that I will never be able to satisfy myself.
Masturbation has been a plague to me for many years because I was taught by the church all kinds of nonsense about the body being a temple and that this habit was sinful and would lead to consumption or idiocy. I soon found out however that everybody did it. Although I don't want to do it and try to stop I still masturbate every day. I know I am a slave to the habit and this bothers me. It makes me weak. Most of the time I am thinking of people I am very fond of. I would give anything to have an affair with our family physician and then question him about my behavior. I always enjoyed being with a man of intelligence and culture. Are there any doctors who are homosexual? I always fear that in approaching a normal man I will get socked on the jaw and I just turn away.
After I have this relation I'm not satisfied. There's something lacking. There are times when I want to embrace a man and hold him in my arms but I want him to embrace me, to lie on top of me, to merge with me. I want that more than anything else. I want to feel the weight of his body. I get pleasure out of exciting him. I want to see him come. I want to be like a woman. I want the complete act. That explains to me why the homosexual has to use his mouth. It's the only opening. Several times I was so excited I swallowed the semen. I enjoyed it. It was the most complete sex relation. As a rule I want to court, embrace, kiss and then as a climax use my mouth. I wish I was a member of the opposite sex so I could gratify him. In some way I want the organ.
Last year a homosexual friend sent me to Will G. He was in a house run by two college men and people were coming and going all the time. I didn't know what it was all about until I was there three hours. The host then took me aside and explained that these men were for sale. He knew that I had no money and he told me that they would take my teeth out - that they were mercenary. It disgusted me. I can't see how a man can submit to such things. They were all youngsters in their early twenties and late teens. I'm willing to try anything once but I just can't go to a man and have relations. I expect a little sympathy and mental toleration - so nothing happened.
My dreams are always about men. I try to get certain men in a position alone where I can go ahead with my desires. Something always interferes and then I wake up. I dream about men I have had relations with but more often about other men. Sometimes it's about composite men. Once I dreamed about pressing my body against a man. I always wanted that in reality. In my dreams I want the man fully clothed and gradually get his penis out. It's much more satisfactory that way then in seeing him in the nude.
This has been in my make-up since childhood. I used to think it was because my father didn't give my mother all she wanted. Maybe while my mother was carrying me she wanted him sexually and he didn't respond. There was no reason for his belief. I was never jealous of any member of the family. I don't care to be kissed by them and I never wanted to kiss my mother. It seems difficult to find my niche in life. I would like to be normal or to live normally in an abnormal way. I know too homosexuals who have been mutually attracted but their life seems too empty. Practically all of my life I have been reaching out for something which has always eluded me. I guess I'm a bit too romantic and too idealistic.
For three years I was with a friend as a sort of a caretaker. I did all the odd jobs and kept an eye on the home. I did the shopping and cleaning and acted as the host. We slept together most of the time. Then he became attached to some girl and I tried to create other interests. Doing the work of women didn't help me to become more masculine. Now I'm afraid to walk into a place and demand a job. I'm very clumsy with tools. That's been my big drawback - poor vision and no leaning toward manual work. I don't know where to turn. I felt I was cut out for a profession. I like to be surrounded by books and music and I have no business ambitions. As long as I could earn a living a would be satisfied.
The future looks dark because I have lost courage. I either want to be cured or to be able to live my life as I want. I look like a man and I have to act like one. All my energy is going into this daydreaming. I'm starved for affection. I'm afraid I am a very lazy individual. It's either that or there's something wrong. I lack the aggressiveness of a man. Conditions at home are very unpleasant and they can't keep me much longer. They don't know about my homosexuality and that's a strain. They just think I am in poor health. I'm thinking more and more that I don't give a darn any more. Thoughts of suicide have entered my mind frequently but I am too much of a coward. If things go on this way there is bound to be a crash.
Asthenic-athletic type with immature oval face. Mouth average. Pharynx red. Teeth regular with widely separated upper central incisors. Ears normal. Eyes brown; small discs; very near-sighted. Skin smooth. Hair fine; beard normal; masculine hair distribution with hair on upper and lower back and buttocks; shaving at 15 1/2, daily. Chest normal. Nipples normal; areolae medium. Heart average, rate 72. Blood pressure 125/65. Radials and brachials barely palpable; temporals not visible; retinals straights. Muscles medium. Fat firm, moderate on breasts and thighs. Skeleton heavy. Height 181 cm. Weight 67.5 kg. Torso-leg ratio 49.3 x 87 x 97. Biacromial 41.3 cm. Bicristal 24.8 cm. Interspinal 30.5 cm. Carrying angle - right 173 degrees; left 164. Phallus 8.8 x 3.5 cm. Testicles large and firm. Sphincter moderately right. Prostate small.
Impression: Young man with immature oval face and relatively long body; differing arm angles; some vascular hypoplasia; more hairy below waist than above.
Some of Salvatore's difficulties may have had their origin in the circumstances under which his mother was reared. An orphan at the age of five, with no contact with members of her family except an uncle and an aunt whom she disliked, she may have been led by these circumstances to be aggressive, very sensitive and undemonstritive. She was the head of the family and she assumed the responsibility for her home and her eight children.
It was no advantage to Salvatore to be the twelfth and last child of these parents and it was a serious handicap to start off in life with poor health and poor eyesight. To these disabilities was added the constant apprehension on the part of the family that something was going to happen to him. Practically all his life Salvatore has been reaching out for something which has eluded him. It may be that he missed his father and that he was too dependent upon his mother.
Salvatore traces his homosexual interests back to the age of seven when he became aware of a desire to press his face against the buttocks of a man in the neighborhood. He could not explain to himself why he had such a desire but he knows that he was nursed by his mother until he was three and that he derived pleasure from playing with her breasts, also that he was in the habit of falling asleep while in close contact with her breasts. From this nursing stage of psychosexual development Salvatore progressed slowly to nestling, to his desire to be held in the lap of a man, to kiss him and be petted by him. He never outgrew the nursing stage however, as he still has the desire to press his face against the buttocks of men.
In high school he learned about sex and this knowledge seems to have been associated with his male teachers. Libidinous desires were then transferred to the penis. He was always looking at the organ of one of his teachers; he began haunting public lavatories in order to observe the penis. At about that same time he was introduced to masturbation and passive sodomy. The desire to engage in oral caresses of the penis of his brother-in-law has persisted in fantasies which he has had while he was masturbating. He had no actual knowledge of fellatio prior to experience but he knew he wanted to kiss the penis. These oral desires arose apparently without instruction or actual experience. They may have been a residual of his infantile desires for the breast, and a result of their accidental displacement to the penis at a time when genital erotism was occupying his attention.
So firmly fixed was Salvatore's preference for men that when he would no longer escape trying to act like a man he had a fantasy being with a man in order to get an erection with a woman. With the help of a passionate woman he was able to penetrate and to complete the act of vaginal masturbation. He couldn't even kiss this woman and he had no further sexual curiosity about women to be satisfied.
Thereafter his attitude toward men was strictly feminine. He wanted to satisfy them. The proximity of a masculine Lesbian and her feminine brother gave him opportunity to discuss his sexual problems with the Lesbian and through active fellatio to make the brother happy. He found happiness in the brother's happiness. So unselfish was Salvatore in his attentions and devotion that he was ready to sacrifice himself at any time. He demonstrated this by relinquishing him to a girl. Salvatore wants a man to embrace him, to lie on top of him, to merge with him. He wants to be like a woman. He wants the complete act. He has to use his mouth to accomplish this because he feels it is the only opening he has by which he can serve as a woman.
Unfortunately Salvatore is not fully satisfied with this relationship. Homosexual practices disgust him. His desire is for virile men who never think of such things. Perhaps he still has fantasies of an affectionate relationship with his brother-in-law, or with the man who some years ago was courting his sister. For two years, without much success, he has made a deliberate effort to satisfy his sexual desires. He is obsessed with sex. After he has explained his predicament to a man he is too embarrassed to go on. He would like to be relieved of all sex feelings.
The future looks dark. He believes that he looks like a man and that he has to act like one. His family just think he is in poor health. More and more he has thought of suicide. He is too much of a coward to do anything about it but if things go on this way there is bound to be a crash.
- Family: Father gentle and impractical. Mother worrisome but the head of the family.
- Childhood: Nursed three years. Not robust. Cross-eyed. Fear of darkness. Slept with mother. Fondled her breasts. Considered a sissy. Homoerotism. Desire to press face against buttocks of a man. Peeping at men in lavatories.
- Adolescence: Masturbation. Homosexual relations. Conflict over homosexuality.
- Adult Life: Acknowledges homosexuality. Peeping at male genitals. Heterosexual experimentation. Platonic friendship with aggressive Lesbian. Homosexual relations with her brother. Wishes he was a woman. Craves appreciation and affection of a man.
- Impression: Homosexuality probably in large part acquired; an expression of physical insecurity, of identification with mother, a substitution of phallic desire for earlier libidinous interest in mother's brest.
Notes for Identification:
- Youngest of 12 children.
- Parents and all older siblings born in Italy, Salvatore only one born in America.
- Age 30 in late 1930's, born between 1906 and 1911.
- His memories of his father is only as an old man, probably born in 1860s or earlier.
- Family was Catholic, highly active in the church.
- Had two uncles on fathers side, both shoe salesman.
- His siblings are much older and some died before he was born.
- Oldest living sibling is a brother past middle aged, married at 30 (since widowed), has four children.
- Sister, much older, married with nine kids.
- Sister age 37 (born 1899 to 1904) is married with three kids
- Brother age 35 (born 1901 to 1906) is homosexual, unmarried, no kids.