Welcome to Discovering the Male Mysteries with Mel Mystery. This blog is a supplement to my podcast is for and about gay and bi pagan men. My podcasts are about what it is to be gay, what it is to be pagan, what it is to be men — sometimes as separate topics and sometimes all meshed together as one. I started this endeavor after seeing that there were few, if any, podcasts out there on this topic. The podcasts are informative, and present topics that challenge conventional thinking.

Uranian and other 19th Century Terms for Homosexuals

The 19th Century German writer and pioneering homosexual rights activist, Karl Ulrich coined the term Uranian to describe a third sex which he believed was “a female psyche in a male body.”

Ulrich himself was homosexual and remembered wearing girls’ clothes, playing with girls, and wanting to be a girl as a young child. He later had his first homosexual experience with his riding instructor at the age of fourteen. At the age of 37, Ulrich’s came out to his family and friends and began writing about homosexuality and homosexual identities. He even publically petitioned the German Congress to repeal anti-homosexual laws. As a result of his activism, he lost his job as a legal advisor and also was in constant legal trouble – not because of his actions, but because of his words.

Ulrichs called for the inalienable rights (as established by nature) of homosexuals to live and love without persecution. The only things he felt should be prohibited were the seduction of male minors, the violation of other people’s civil rights, and public indecency.

Ulrichs wrote a total of twelve books on the topic of homosexuality. In those books, he came up with a number of terms to describe sexual orientation and gender identity. These terms were inspired by the ancient Greek work Plato’s Symposium which discussed two kinds of love – heterosexual love born from Aphrodite Dione (the Greek goddess of love born of a female) and homosexual love born from Aphrodite Urania (the Greek goddess of love born from a male). Ulrichs coined the terms Urning to describe men who loved men and Dioningin to describe men who are attracted to women. He later came up with terms to describe homosexual women, bisexuals, and intersex people.

Below is the list of the terms he coined:

Urning – A biological male with a female psyche who is attracted to men

Urningin – A biological female with a male psyche who is attracted to women

Dioning – A biological male who is heterosexual and masculine

Dioningin – A biological female who is heterosexual and feminine

Uranodioning – A biological male who is bisexual

Uranodioningin – A biological female who is bisexual

Zwitter – Someone who is intersexual having the biological organs of both sexes

Ulrich further subdivided his terms for male sexuality:

Mannling – A masculine homosexual male interested effeminate men

Weibling – A feminine homosexual male interested in masculine men

Manuring – A feminine heterosexual male

Zwischen-Urning – A homosexual male interested in adolescent males

Conjunctive – Homosexual men with tender and passionate feelings for other men

Disjunctive – Heterosexual men with tender feelings for other men, but who are sexually attracted to women (think of this as a Victorian term for “bromance”).

Virilisierte Mannlinge — Homosexual men who have learned to act heterosexual

Uraniaster or Uranisierter Mann – A heterosexual man who engages in situational homosexuality when females are not available

One thing I find interesting about this list is that Ulrichs had no terms for masculine homosexual men interested in other masculine men or for feminine homosexual men who are interested in other feminine men.

3 responses

  1. I find this topic interesting because of the various forms of categorization. I hadn’t heard of any of them before this.

    Question: If there was a term for “masculine homosexual men interested in other masculine men”, do you have any idea what it might be or how it might translate?


    May 26, 2015 at 10:33 am

    • It doesn’t appear that Karl Ulrich’s or the Victorian “Uranian” movement had a term for masculine men interested in masculine men. There’s seems to be a heterosexual bias in terms of a belief that one has to be masculine and the other feminine and that both partners in a relationship can’t be masculine and both partners can’t be feminine. In modern terms, it’s the equivalent of someone asking a homosexual couple “who’s the husband and who’s the wife?” I’ve noticed a similar bias in other cultures including some that were accepting of some forms of homosexuality. For example, the Navaho Native Americans accepted feminine men who became wives to masculine men, but it was taboo for two masculine men or two feminine men to be married (the same goes for masculine and feminine women). In some ancient cultures relationships between two masculine men might have occurred in military and warrior bands (such as the Ancient Greeks) and such relationships probably existed in many instances outside these conditions.

      There is a modern movement of masculine homosexual men interested in other masculine men. They term themselves “androphiles.” There’s a book called “Androphilia” by a guy named Jack Donovan. He’s written a couple of other books related to the topic. There are some things that I like about his books, but there are other things that (at least to me) come across as a bit homophobic. It’s still a good read if you’re interested in the topic of masculine homosexual men interested in other masculine men.

      May 27, 2015 at 9:42 am

      • Noted and I appreciate the book recommendation. Barring the presence of an explicit term for masc men interested in masc men, which term do you feel would be closest?

        From looking at it, it seems that conjunctive would make the most sense because it mentions homosexual male and feelings for other men, though it doesn’t specify masc or femininity while still being a subcategory of sexuality.

        What led you to be interested in this topic btw?

        May 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

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