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(1964). Symposium on Homosexuality—Some Remarks on the Aetiology of Homosexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:214-216.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:214-216

Symposium on Homosexuality—Some Remarks on the Aetiology of Homosexuality


I would like to limit my discussion to homosexuality which has become manifest in overt homosexual activity, or at least has led to homosexual excitement and homoerotic waking fantasies with masturbatory activity. In other words, we can speak of overt homosexuality when the homosexual object, and not the heterosexual, is predominantly cathected in the conscious psychic life of the individual. Freud (1920) wrote that 'a very considerable measure of latent or unconscious homosexuality can be detected in all normal people.' This, of course, represents a cathectic distribution different from that in overt homosexuality, and a discussion of latent homosexuality would lead into the area of general psychopathology.

Although we observe an occasional breakthrough of homosexual fantasies and behaviour in the heterosexual, this takes place under exceptional circumstances in some persons, for example, under the influence of alcohol when the repressing forces of the ego are weakened. Contingent homosexuality, i.e. the resort to homosexual behaviour when heterosexual partners are not available, was not reported to have increased in the armed forces of Great Britain and the U.S.A. during World War II. Homosexual activity in the armed forces usually occurred in individuals whose homosexuality antedated their service (Lewis and Engle, 1954).

In Three Essays on Sexuality, Freud (1905) describes homosexuality as a deviation in the choice of the sexual object.

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