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Waldhorn, H.H. (1955). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 24:477-478.

(1955). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 24:477-478

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Herbert H. Waldhorn


Although successful sexual intercourse is generally believed to exert a favorable influence in the majority of neuroses, Katan states that under certain conditions it gives rise to an increase of conflict and causes damage to the ego's defensive capacities. The cases cited by Freud as being 'wrecked by success' are noted as representing the forbidding and punitive effect of a superego reaction when the success seemed equivalent to the gratification of an incestuous desire. Katan believes that when psychotic or prepsychotic symptoms have followed successful intercourse, id and ego reactions were predominantly the cause of the difficulties, rather than the effect of the superego. Successful sexual experience mobilized a constitutional id wish to become a woman, in contrast to the mechanisms operating in perversion and neurosis in which homosexuality is a defense against the positive Oedipal drives. The ego is simultaneously weakened by the loss of heterosexual drive which served as a defense against homosexual urges, and can be overwhelmed by a threat of emasculation followed by acute anxiety and delusional projections. A number of clinical studies are reviewed, including the Schreber case, to demonstrate that bisexual conflicts have been predominantly aggravated by sexual intercourse, where disturbances in the pattern of sexual functioning, including premature ejaculation, masturbation, regressive hehavior, and isolation of portions of the sexual response from the whole experience were among the defensive maneuvers used to deal with the intensified conflicts. Often there were homosexual transference situations which mobilized the particular responses noted, passive feminine wishes being experienced as the most dangerous threat to masculinity. Instances of the maintenance of erection after intercourse are examples of the denial of castration by the woman, and the denial of a passive femininity and homosexuality.

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