John Money

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John William Money (8 July 1921 – 7 July 2006) was a psychologist, sexologist and author, specializing in research into sexual identity and biology of gender.

Birth and early life

Money was an American by citizenship, a New Zealander by birth, and British and Welsh by ancestry. He was born in 1921. His father was Australian and his mother English. He attended Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and earned a double MA, one in Philosophy/Psychology and one in Education. His most influential teacher was Yale-educated Ernest Beaglehole, a cultural anthropologist who worked professionally with, among others, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead.[1]

Money was a junior member of the psychology faculty at the University of Otago in Dunedin, but in 1947, at the age of 27, he emigrated to the United States in pursuit of a PhD.[1]

Money proposed and developed several theories and related terminology during his career, including gender identity, gender role,[2] gender-identity/role, and lovemap. Money was a professor of pediatrics and medical psychology at Johns Hopkins University from 1951 until his death. While there, Money was involved with the Sexual Behaviors Unit, which ran studies on sex reassignment surgery. He received the Magnus Hirschfeld Medal in 2002 from the "German Society for Social-Scientific Sexuality Research".


During his professional life, Money was respected as an expert on sexual behavior, especially for allegedly demonstrating that gender was learned rather than innate. Many years later, however, it was revealed that his most famous case involved fraudulent reporting by Money. The subject was the involuntary sex reassignment of David Reimer, in what later became known as the "John/Joan" case. Money reported that he had successfully reassigned Reimer as female after a botched infant circumcision in 1966. In 1997, Milton Diamond reported that the reassignment had failed, that Reimer had never identified as female or behaved in a typically feminine manner. At age 14, Reimer, who had fought against being forced to see Dr. Money since age 7, refused to see him again, threatening suicide if he were made to go. Reimer's parents then decided to tell Reimer the truth about his past and his biological sex. Reimer immediately ended the hormone treatments he had been forced to undergo to stimulate female sex traits and began taking hormones to bring about the male puberty prevented by the removal of his testes by Dr. Money. He ceased using the name Brenda, which his parents had chosen for him after he began treatment with Dr. Money, and chose a new name, David. At 15, with a different medical team, he sought a mastectomy, testosterone therapy, and a phalloplasty. Later he married a woman who had children from a previous marriage and lived as a man until his suicide at age 38.[3]

Money continued to publish that his work with Reimer was a "success" even 30 years later. In 2000, David and his twin brother alleged that Dr. Money had taken numerous naked photos of the twins during their treatment and had forced them to engage in "sexual play" at age 7. In 2003, David's brother was found dead from a drug overdose. This deeply disturbed him, and he visited his brother's grave 4–5 days a week. In 2004, upon being told by his wife of her desire for a separation, Reimer committed suicide. Reimer’s parents have stated that they believe Dr. Money's treatment was responsible for the deaths of both their sons.[4]


Born in Morrinsville, New Zealand to a Brethren family, Money initially studied psychology at Victoria University of Wellington,[5] graduating with a double master's degree at the end of 1944.[6] He emigrated to the United States in 1947 to study at the Psychiatric Institute of the University of Pittsburgh. He left Pittsburgh and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1952. He was married briefly in the 1950s and had no children.

Money was an early supporter of New Zealand's arts, both literary and visual. He was a noted friend and supporter of author Janet Frame. In 2002, as his Parkinson's disease worsened, Money donated a substantial portion of his art collection to the Eastern Southland Art Gallery in Gore, New Zealand.[7]

Money died July 7, 2006, in Towson, Maryland,[8] of complications from Parkinson's disease.[9]

Sexological work

Sexual identity, gender identity and gender roles

Money's definition of gender is based on his understanding of sex differences among human beings. According to Money, the fact that one sex produces ova and the other sex produces sperm is the irreducible criterion of sex difference. However, there are other sex-derivative differences that follow in the wake of this primary dichotomy.

These differences involve the way urine is expelled from the human body and other questions of sexual dimorphism. According to Money's theory, sex-adjunctive differences are typified by the smaller size of females and their problems in moving around while nursing infants. This then makes it more likely that the males do the roaming and hunting. Sex-arbitrary differences are those that are purely conventional; for example, color selection (baby blue for boys, pink for girls). Some of the latter differences apply to life activities, such as career opportunities for men versus women.

Finally, Money created the now-common term, gender role, which he differentiated from the concept of the more traditional terminology, sex role. According to Money, the genitalia and erotic sexual roles were now, by his definition, to be included under the more general term "gender role;" including all the non-genital and non-erotic activities that are defined by the conventions of society to apply to males or to females.

Money made the concept of gender a broader, more inclusive concept than one of male/female. Now, gender includes not only one's status as a man or a woman, but as a matter of personal recognition, social assignment, or legal determination; not only on the basis of one's genitalia but also on the basis of somatic and behavioral criteria that go beyond genital differences.

Gender identity is one's own categorization of one's individuality as male, female, or ambivalent as experienced in self-awareness of one's own mental processes and one's own actual behavior.

Gender role is the public manifestation of one's gender identity, the things that one says and that one does that gives people a basis for inferring whether one is male, female, or fits neither of those categories.

To stress the idea that gender identity and gender role are two aspects of the same thing, Money coined a new term: Gender-Identity/Role, which he frequently abbreviated as "G-I/R."

Money also coined the term lovemap.

In 1972, Money presented his theories in Man & Woman, Boy & Girl, a college-level, mainstream textbook. The book featured David Reimer (see below) as a case in point.

"Gay, Straight and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation"

In this book (Oxford 1988: 116), Money develops a conception of 'bodymind,' as a way for scientists, in developing a science about sexuality, to move on from the platitudes of dichotomy between nature versus nurture, innate versus the acquired, biological versus the social, and psychological versus the physiological. He suggests that all of these capitalize on the ancient, pre-Platonic, prebiblical conception of body versus the mind, and the physical versus the spiritual. In coining the term bodymind, in this sense, Money wishes to move beyond these very ingrained principles of our folk or vernacular psychology.

Money also develops here (Oxford 1988: 114-119) a view of "Concepts of Determinism," which, transcultural, transhistorical, and universal, all people have in common, sexologically or otherwise. These include pairbondage, troopbondage, abidance, ycleptance, foredoomance, with these coping strategies: adhibition (engagement), inhibition, explication.

Money suggests that the concept of threshold (Oxford 1988: 115) - the release or inhibition of sexual (or other) behavior - is most useful for sex research as a substitute for any concept of motivation. It confers a great of advantage of continuity and unity, to what would otherwise be disparate and varied. It also allows for the classification of sexual behavior. For Money, the concept of threshold has great value because of the wide spectrum to which it applies. "It allows one to think developmentally or longitudinally, in terms of stages or experiences that are programmed serially, or hierarchically, or cybernetically (i.e. regulated by mutual feedback)." (Oxford 1988: 116)

In this book, Money (1988: 127-128) suggests that love is like a Rorschach (ink blot) test, where, if projections (shaped by a bodymind's "lovemap") on the other are mutual, pair-bonding occurs, typically in a courtship phase of mating.

David Reimer

Main article: David Reimer

Money's ideas relating to gender and gender identity formation have come under intense criticism in the scientific community. Money argued that a child's gender identity is fluid up to a certain age, after which this gender would become consolidated and more-or-less immutable. This theory was applied in the case of a male child, David Reimer, whose penis was destroyed due to a botched circumcision. This came to be known as the John/Joan case.[10] The child was subsequently sexually reassigned as female. However, even though David Reimer was raised as a girl and never knew his early history, he behaved in a masculine way appropriate to a boy while he was a young child. Later attempts to socialize him as a girl failed.[3] In 1997, Milton Diamond and Keith Sigmundson authored a followup of the Reimer case, suggesting that future cases be managed in light of what occurred.[3]

As for Reimer, when he finally reached the age to make his own medical decisions, he was so distressed by Money's demand for further surgery to complete his "female" genitals, that his parents decided to reveal his medical history to him. He immediately re-transitioned to a male gender role and later underwent genital reassignment surgery again, in order to complete his male gender identity with male genitalia. He underwent four rounds of reconstructive surgery to facilitate his reappropriation of the male sex. Towards the end of his life he lost his job, was separated from his wife, failed a financial investment, and mourned the death of his twin brother Brian, who died in a drug overdose. He committed suicide on May 5 2004. John Colapinto, who publicised Reimer's story in a Rolling Stone article[11] and the book As Nature Made Him,[12] speculated that Reimer never psychologically recovered from his childhood trauma:

David's mutilation and his parents' guilt were tightly entwined, multiplying the mental anguish to which the family members were already prone. [...] David's blighted childhood was never far from his mind. Just before he died, he talked to his wife about his sexual "inadequacy," his inability to be a true husband.[13]

Reimer said Money sexually abused him and his brother during superfluous photo shoots. This added stress was harmful to Reimer and instilled in him a fear of Money and his medical "expertise." A 20/20 interview contains this primary source.

Money claimed that media response to the exposé was due to right-wing media bias and "the antifeminist movement." He claimed his detractors believed "masculinity and femininity are built into the genes so women should get back to the mattress and the kitchen."[14] However, intersex activists also criticized Money, stating that the unreported failure had led to the surgical reassignment of thousands of infants as a matter of policy.[15] Privately, Money was mortified by the case, colleagues said, and as a rule did not discuss it.[16] Money's own views also developed and changed over the years.[3][17]

Johns Hopkins University maintains a Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit (SBCU).[18] The Psychiatry Department, however, has concluded that gender identity is primarily innate, and the university no longer performs sex change operations for adults with sexual dysphoria.[19]

On pedophilia

John Money was critical in debates on chronophilias, including infantophilia, ephebophilia, and pedophilia. He felt that both sexual researchers and the public do not make distinctions between affectional pedophilia and sadistic pedophilia. For Money, affectional pedophilia was about love and not sex.

If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or eleven who's intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual...then I would not call it pathological in any way.[20][21]

His view was that affectional pedophilia is caused by a surplus of parental love that became erotic, and is not a behavioral disorder. Rather, he felt that heterosexuality is another example of a societal and therefore, a superficial, ideological concept.


  • Money, John. Hermaphroditism: An Inquiry into the Nature of a Human Paradox. Thesis (Ph.D.), Harvard University, 1952.
  • Money, John. The Psychologic Study of Man (1957) Thomas: ASIN B0007E4LMC
  • Money, John. A Standardized Road-Map Test of Direction Sense (1965) Academic Therapy Publications: ASIN B0006WTB2K
  • Money, John. Sex Errors of the Body and Related Syndromes: A Guide to Counseling Children, Adolescents, and Their Families , 2nd ed. Baltimore: P.H. Brooks Publishing Company, 1994. ISBN 1-55766-150-2
  • Money, John, and Anke Ehrhardt. Man & Woman, Boy & Girl: Gender Identity from Conception to Maturity. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1996. Originally published: Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972. ISBN 1-56821-812-5
  • Money, John, and Patricia Tucker. Sexual Signatures on Being a Man or a Woman. (1975) Little Brown & Co: ISBN 0-316-57825-8
  • Money, John. Love and Love Sickness: the Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-Bonding, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. ISBN 0-8018-2317-X, ISBN 0-8018-2318-8 (pbk.)
  • Money, John. The Destroying Angel: Sex, Fitness & Food in the Legacy of Degeneracy Theory, Graham Crackers, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes & American Health History. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1985. ISBN 0-87975-277-7
  • Money, John. Lovemaps: Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity. New York: Irvington, 1986. ISBN 0-8264-0852-4
  • Money, John. Venuses Penuses: Sexology, Sexosophy, and Exigency Theory. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1986. ISBN 0-87975-327-7
  • Money, John. Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-505407-5
  • Money, John. Vandalized Lovemaps: Paraphilic Outcome of 7 Cases in Pediatric Sexology. (1989) Prometheus Books: ISBN 0-87975-513-X
  • Money, John, and H. Musaph (eds). Biographies of Gender and Hermaphroditism. (1991) Elsevier Publishing Company: ISBN 0-444-81403-5
  • Money, John, Gordon Wainwright, and David Hingsburger. The Breathless Orgasm: A Lovemap Biography of Asphyxiophilia. (1991) Prometheus Books: ISBN 0-87975-664-0
  • Money, John. The Kaspar Hauser Syndrome of "Psychosocial Dwarfism": Deficient Statural, Intellectual, and Social Growth Induced by Child Abuse. Prometheus Books, 1992. ISBN 0-87975-754-X
  • Money, John. The Adam Principle: genes. genitals, hormones, and gender: Selected readings in sexology. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1993. ISBN 0-87975-804-X
  • Ronald W. Keyes and John Money. The Armed Robbery Orgasm: A Lovemap Autobiography of Masochism. (1993) Prometheus Books: ISBN 0-87975-856-2
  • Money, John. Principles of Developmental Sexology. New York: Continuum, 1994. ISBN 0-8264-1026-X
  • Money, John. Reinterpreting the Unspeakable: Human Sexuality 2000 : The Complete Interviewer and Clinical Biographer, Exigency Theory, and Sexology for the Third. New York: Continuum, 1994. ISBN 0-8264-0651-3
  • Money, John. Gendermaps: Social Constructionism, Feminism, and Sexosophical History. New York: Continuum, 1995. ISBN 0-8264-0852-4
  • Money, John. The Lovemap Guidebook: A Definitive Statement. Continuum, 1999. ISBN 0-8264-1203-3
  • Krivacska, James J., and John Money, eds. The Handbook of Forensic Sexology: Biomedical & Criminological Perspectives. (1994) Prometheus: ISBN 0-87975-883-X


  1. 1.0 1.1 Anon. John Money. American Psychologist. 1986 Apr;Vol. 41(4):354-62.
  2. Diamond, Milton ‘Sex, gender, and identity over the years: a changing perspective’, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 13 (2004): 591-607. PMID 15183375 Full text
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Diamond M, Sigmundson HK (1997). Sex reassignment at birth. Long-term review and clinical implications. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 1997 Mar;151(3):298-304. PMID 9080940. Full text
  4. "Born a Boy, Raised as a Girl" Documentary, The Learning Channel
  5. (July 10, 2006) Kiwi sexologist dies in US hospital, New Zealand Herald
  6. John Money, Ph.D.. Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  7. Brewington, Kelly (July 9, 2006). Dr. John Money 1921-2006: Hopkins pioneer in gender identity. Baltimore Sun
  8. Highleyman, Liz. "Sex researcher John Money dies", The Bay Area Reporter, 3 August 2006. Retrieved on 2009-03-01. 
  9. Fitzgerald, John Warner. "Obituaries in the News", Associated Press via Fox News, 9 July 2006. Retrieved on 2009-03-01. 
  10. Money J (1975). Ablatio penis: normal male infant sex-reassigned as a girl.] Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1975 Jan;4(1):65-71. PMID 1130980
  11. Colapinto, John (December 11, 1997). The True Story of John/Joan. Rolling Stone 54–97
  12. Colapinto, John (2000). As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As a Girl. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-092959-6
  13. Colapinto, John (June 3, 2004). Gender Gap: What were the real reasons behind David Reimer's Suicide? Slate
  14. Walker, Jesse (May 24, 2004). The Death of David Reimer: A tale of sex, science, and abuse. Reason
  15. Who was David Reimer (also, sadly, known as "John/Joan")? via Intersex Society of North America. Retrieved July 10, 2006.
  16. Carey, Benedict (July 11, 2006). John William Money, 84, Sexual Identity Researcher, Dies, New York Times
  17. Wisniewski AB, Migeon CJ, Gearhart JP, Rock JA, Berkovitz GD, Plotnick LP, Meyer-Bahlburg HF, Money J. Congenital micropenis: long-term medical, surgical and psychosexual follow-up of individuals raised male or female. Hormone Research 2001;56(1-2):3-11. PMID 11815721 Press release
  18. Duffy, J. (Winter 1999). Sexual Healing, Hopkins Medical News
  19. "Hopkins announced that it would stop doing these procedures in adults with sexual dysphoria. . ." McHugh, Paul (November, 2004).Surgical Sex, First Things
  20. Interview: John Money. PAIDIKA: The Journal of Paedophilia, Spring 1991, vol. 2, no. 3, p. 5.
  21. Cited online in John Colapinto,'The True Story of John / Joan', Rolling Stone December (1997): 54-97.

External links


Ehrhardt, Anke A. 'John Money, Ph.D.' Journal of Sex Research 44 (2007): 1-2.


*Some information provided in whole or in part by