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Hoffman, L. (2000). Sexuality as Compromise Formation. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 9(3):301-305.

(2000). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 9(3):301-305

Sexuality as Compromise Formation

Dr. Leon Hoffman, M.D.

In response to a statement by Mme. Chasseguet-Smirgel, the editors of this Journal noted their belief that in America, psychoanalysts are “losing their freedom” to discuss issues of homosexuality in a reasoned manner, in contrast to a lack of inhibition of discussion in France. The editors of the Journal therefore ask the question, “What, in your opinion, is the place of Homosexuality in current psychoanalytic theory, practice, and training?”

In order to address this question cogently I will repeat the quote by Mme. Chasseguet-Smirgel, which the editors found commendable in its openness with regard to the topic of homosexuality. An analysis of this statement is critical because the editors seem to assume that this statement reflects a positively framed psychoanalytic approach toward homosexuality in particular, and sexuality in general. My brief comment reflects a point of view that by conceptualizing the issue as she does, Mme. Chasseguet-Smirgel inhibits reasoned discussion and provokes counterpassions and does not foster a psychoanalytic discussion of the topic.

Chasseguet-Smirgel in her article states,

We, in France, are not until now, so thoroughly dominated by the “politically correct” that it would be impossible for psychoanalysts to raise doubts about the existence of “normal” homosexuality. Of course, nobody is silly enough to consider a heterosexual as being per se more “normal” than a homosexual. However, it is permissible to think that each homosexual individual presents, as with Mr. B, but not always to the same extent, a deficiency in his sexual identity, i.e., in his identity as a whole.

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