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Ross, N. (1970). The Primacy of Genitality in the Light of Ego Psychology—Introductory Remarks. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 18:267-284.

(1970). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 18:267-284

The Primacy of Genitality in the Light of Ego Psychology—Introductory Remarks

Nathaniel Ross, M.D.

SUMMARY

Although there appears to be no doubt that sexuality plays a unique and leading role in psychic development, with the advances in ego psychology (Hartmann, 1952); (Jacobson, 1964); (Erikson, 1959—to cite very few), it is no longer possible to maintain that libidinal development and the maturation of the personality are dependent variables. The theory of genital primacy, as originally stated, assumes that they are. A refinement of this theory is necessary to provide explanations of the clinical phenomena herewith cited, which can be duplicated in the experience of any seasoned analyst. I have suggested, as the basis of a possible explanation of the rich genital experiences of immature, neurotic individuals, the existence of transitory fusions of early pregenital forms of tenderness with genital orgasm, and/or especially rich constitutional libidinal endowments of relatively autonomous nature. In

such individuals even the most powerful orgasms do not have the reverberating, integrating effect they have on mature individuals, nor do they lead to the postnarcissistic accretions to the personality postulated by Fenichel. As for those much more mature persons whose sex life is not very satisfactory—certainly not truly orgastic—I do not see what we have yet to offer by way of explanation in psychoanalytic terms at the present time.

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