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Muehlleitner, E. Giefer, M. Reichmayr, J. (2009). Fenichel's 175 Topics of Discussion about Freud's “Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex”. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(3):411-430.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(3):411-430

Fenichel's 175 Topics of Discussion about Freud's “Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex”

Elke Muehlleitner, Ph.D., Michael Giefer, M.D. and Johannes Reichmayr, Ph.D.

Sexology and Psychoanalysis1

On June 22, 1915, six days before his final exam at the Vienna Akademische Gymnasium, Otto Fenichel noted in his diary: “Began to read the Three Essays.” At this point, Freud's book (already in its third German printing), had been in Fenichel's possession only for a brief time. He read it shortly after The Interpretation of Dreams, which he purchased that same year. Both works brought him closer to psychoanalysis—his vocation for the next decades. Yet, between 1915 and 1920, sexology was as important to Fenichel as psychoanalysis: In fact, Fenichel's interest in sexology did not subside even after he became a practicing psychoanalyst (Muehlleitner, 2008).

Fenichel begun his studies at the Vienna Medical School in the fall of 1915. He took Freud's Saturday night course, “Introduction to Psychoanalysis,” in his first semester. Fenichel was a guest at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society from 1918 onward; his first talk at the Society, in April 1918, was “About the Derivative of the Incest Conflict.”

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