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Miller, J.B. (1972). Sexual Inequality: Men's Dilemma (A Note on the Oedipus Complex, Paranoia and other Psychological Concepts). Am. J. Psychoanal., 32(2):147-155.

(1972). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 32(2):147-155

Sexual Inequality: Men's Dilemma (A Note on the Oedipus Complex, Paranoia and other Psychological Concepts)

Jean B. Miller, M.D.

When men are becoming acutely paranoid, they often talk about persecution by other men and the long-dominant theory about paranoia is based on the presumed underlying homosexuality. When women are becoming paranoid they, too, tend to talk about assault by men, not by other women.1 The theory of underlying homosexuality does not seem to cover this data.

“Normal” men dream about men twice as often as they dream about women. Women do not dream correspondingly about women; instead they dream about men and women in roughly equal proportions. If aggression occurs, the attacking figure is most often a male in both men's and women's dreams.2

Such phenomena may represent surface manifestations of the many problems produced in men by our situation of sexual inequality. This paper seeks to explore one aspect of these problems.

It has long been apparent though not often made explicit that the problem of understanding women has plagued psychoanalysis from its beginning.3, 4, 5, 6, 7 What has not been as clear is that this problem has affected our understanding of men just as importantly. Only a few psychoanalysts have asked what the condition of sexual inequality entails for men.

One of those who raised this question was Gregory Zilboorg.4 Zilboorg cited the many obvious assets and abilities of women and contrasted these with the massive historical and anthropological evidence of man's extreme contempt and hostility to women. He arrived at the typical psychoanalytic conclusion that there must be some hidden force which drives men to such lengths to protest his superiority in obvious contradiction to reality.

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