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Tausk, V. (1924). A Contribution to the Psychology of Child-Sexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 5:343-357.

(1924). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 5:343-357

A Contribution to the Psychology of Child-Sexuality

Viktor Tausk

When attempting to gather information on the subject of the sexuality of children, one should not overlook the fact that their communicativeness in these matters is a qualified one, even with the greatest possible confidence in their parents. In spite of the gentlest handling, the process of weaning them from their infantile sexual activities has as result a certain amount of taboo upon everything relating to sexuality. This is, moreover, reinforced by two factors; the first is that pointed silence about everything which has to do with sexuality, which is broken only on particular occasions; the second is the unequivocal exclusion from school of everything to do with sexuality. The results of most psycho-analytical attempts with children teach that even in the frankest children these resistances are still strong enough to lead to a toning-down and a falsification of their communications. Apart from this, there is the fact that in the family life of schoolchildren who have already learnt to be clean and to behave properly there is hardly ever occasion to institute an examination into their sexual phantasies without running the danger of isolating to a pronounced degree the child's attention upon sexual things. This risk is avoided when the children are enabled to reveal their sexual phantasies in the course of a personal account, which is different, apparently harmless, and at the same time interesting, as is possible during the analysis of dreams. The children are then completely engrossed in the process of the analysis and the associations, and lead the analyst into their secrets by way of the least possible resistance. How successful this work can be will be shown by the two examples to follow.

Both are dreams of a boy of ten, attending the fourth class of a preparatory school. Dream analysis on the scale shown was only possible because the dreamer, a child of unusual intelligence, displayed a very ripe and shrewd interest in causal and associative connections, often quite spontaneously, and also because the near relationship of the analyst to the little dreamer and his accurate knowledge of the boy's daily life made control of the facts possible.

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