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Harte, J.B. (1967). Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 27(1):30-33.
  

(1967). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 27(1):30-33

Discussion

Joan B. Harte, M.D.

When we speak about the changing sexual image of man, we have to be aware of the multiplicity of images depending on the cultural background of the individual and his or her reaction to this background. As Dr. Gershman pointed out, we are in a transitional period in regard to sex with many contradictory forces at work. The trend towards more openness and freedom in sex is a trend towards greater autonomy of the individual, towards more freedom of choice, and it necessitates acceptance of responsibility for choice in order not to become a series of meaningless gestures. Relationships based on compulsive drives are not free choices and do not satisfy the individual, as is testified to by the increasing number of divorces and the increasing amount of sexual acting out without real relatedness between the partners engaged in the sexual activity.

Adolescence is a turbulent period, and our society is in its adolescence sexually; new ways are being tried, older ideas are at war with newer ones. We have a need to find ourselves and are in a period of changing values, changing ideas, new situations, and we have fears, anxieties and doubts in every area, including the area of sex or, should I say, especially in the sexual area? Individuals are caught in the conflict between traditionally taught values and newer, freer, more open ideas, with a range of reactions from outright rebellion to outright conformity. Real desires give way to cultural pressures which in turn give way to rebellion or evolution.

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