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(1964). Symposium on Homosexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:210-213.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:210-213

Symposium on Homosexuality


Male homosexuality undoubtedly shows many variations in its manifestations, and, if we set aside any developmental point of view or any exploration beyond the actual uniqueness of each case, we can describe a great number of types of homosexuals. This multiplicity diminishes considerably when we notice that the same person can present a number of these manifestations in succession, these changes being furthermore much more rapid and marked during psycho-analytic treatment. If we endeavour to distinguish their common characteristics while taking the unconscious into account, we can observe a certain number of traits which, it might be said, constitute basic homosexuality. This we shall define as the sum of behaviour which expresses a feminine attitude to the father.

This type of relationship is evidently the common lot of all men. To begin with, it corresponds in childhood to a normal phase of development; it is the unavoidable negative Oedipus complex, which without it would not be complete. It persists throughout life, at least in the unconscious, and is therefore much more than a mechanism of defence. Heterosexuality is always accompanied by it, and that is the meaning of and the best justification for the Freudian theory of bisexuality.

Thus defined, homosexuality can show itself in four forms: repressed, phantasied, manifest, and sublimated. It would seem that it is destined to be sublimated, and it is evident that its other forms, especially perhaps the first, cause psychic suffering, particularly to the extent to which they disturb the heterosexual tendencies, or give rise to or permit their repression.

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