Paul Broca’s clitoridectomy as a cure for “nymphomania”: A pseudo-medical mutilation


  • Philippe Charlier UVSQ
  • Saudamini Deo Musée du quai Branly



History of torture; psychiatry; sexual mutilation.


Baker Brown, I. (1866). On the curability of certain forms of insanity, epilepsy, catalepsy, and hysteria in females. London.

Broca, P. (1864). Sur un cas de nymphomanie invétérée traitée par l’infibulation. Bulletin de la Société de Chirurgie, 2(5), 10.

Gould, S.J. (1981). The mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton.

Mendez, J.E. (2013). Report of the special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. New York: United Nations. Retrieved from

Mota Gomes, M.D., Engelhardt, E. (2014). A neurological bias in the history of hysteria: from the womb to the nervous system and Charcot. Arq Neuropsiquiatr., 72(12), 972-5 doi: 10.1590/0004-282X20140149

Pérez-Sales, P., Zraly, M. (2018). From sexualized torture and gender-based torture to genderized torture: the urgent need for a conceptual evolution. Torture Journal, 28(3), 1-13. doi: 10.7146/torture.v28i3.111179

Rejali, D. (2007). Torture and democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ryan, C. & Jetha, C. (2010). Sex at dawn. New York: Harper.

Sagan, C. (1979). Broca's brain. New York: Random House.




How to Cite

Charlier, P., & Deo, S. (2019). Paul Broca’s clitoridectomy as a cure for “nymphomania”: A pseudo-medical mutilation. Torture Journal, 29(2), 110–112.