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Zamanian, K. (2011). Attachment Theory as Defense: What Happened to Infantile Sexuality?. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(1):33-47.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(1):33-47

Attachment Theory as Defense: What Happened to Infantile Sexuality?

Kaveh Zamanian, Ph.D.

Nearly a century after the publication of “Wild Psychoanalysis(Freud, 1910) we struggle to grasp the full scope of one of Freud's seminal contributions and perhaps his most controversial idea, infantile sexuality. In 1905, with the publication of the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, we observe Freud's theoretical shift from seduction theory to infantile sexuality as he declares the sexual as the subject of psychoanalysis. Despite this incredible discovery, in the past 50 years, our field has steadily moved away from the concept of infantile sexuality in favor of attachment as the central component in psychological development. It is argued in this paper that Freud always recognized the importance of healthy attachment as an important variable in development, but that he was interested in infantile sexuality as a separate, but related, aspect of development. This paper calls for a reevaluation of this endangered concept for the purpose of rediscovering that infantile sexuality with its emphasis on the body as the earliest means of emotional regulation and self-experience is the conduit to understanding our psychosomatic nature that is fundamental, along with related implications for development of gender, anxiety disorders, perversions, and other significant developmental and clinical variables.

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