A paper dealing with the popular criticism that psycho-analysts over emphasize the importance of sex, and with the psycho-analyst's attitude to sex.
It is pointed out how all such criticism is subjective in origin, springs from unconscious sources and is really in the nature of a psycho-neuroticdefence. It is quite childish to quarrel about the results of the psycho-analyst's method, if there is no understanding or criticism of the method itself. Since none of the critics challenge or criticize the methods of observation, the inference is that they are not functioning on an objective and scientific basis. In one sense psycho-analysts do over-emphasize the importance of sex, but only in the sense that the astronomer over-emphasizes the movement of the heavenly bodies in comparison, say, with his interest in sociology or embryology. But the critics of psycho-analysis mean this as a reproach. What is objectionable to them is not the method but the psycho-analyst's attitude of mind towards sex, that is what they are unable to tolerate because in reality it stimulates their own sexual conflicts.
Another form of criticism rests upon the claim that there is such a thing as pre-adolescent sexuality. The Freudian, however, considers the human animal as an organic unity. Adolescence produces nothing new. It is but the fruition of processes which have been going on more or less unconsciously since before birth. Psycho-analysts only insist on the desirability of enlarging our consciousness of these matters. Observation shows that pre-adolescent sexuality has its own manifestations and experiences, and develops its own sense of values, emotional tones, ideational associations and reaction patterns, and so fixes the preparedness to face the storm and stress of pubescence and adolescence.
What is the psycho-analyst's conception of a scientific attitude to sex problems? He must be free from emotional disturbances over every manifestation of sex. He must have submitted himself to a Freudian psycho-analysis in order to become aware of that part of his mental life working below the level of consciousness.
Another offence to many minds is the presumption of a rigid psychological determinism. If the psycho-analyst has reached a stage of development in which he is able to act in harmony with the hypothesis of a complete and rigid psychological determinism, he will have outgrown all moral values and judgments, even about sex. Intellectually he is indifferent to all moral creeds. When he becomes conscious of his subjectivism he applies the checks and correctives required by his conception of mature intellectual methods. Since all moral appeals are unconsciously and subjectively conditioned and are emotional in their nature and effect, they
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are infantile and become a hindrance to the maturing of intellectual methods. When such psychological maturity has been reached we no longer regulate our sexual life according to the conventional moral creeds, nor according to any code of the psycho-neurotic sex reformer. Only in this way can we achieve greater self-understanding resulting in greater poise and efficiency in social adjustment.
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Brown, W. (1927). Sexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 8:532-533