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Laufer, M. (1976). The Central Masturbation Fantasy, the Final Sexual Organization, and Adolescence. Psychoanal. St. Child, 31:297-316.

(1976). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 31:297-316

The Central Masturbation Fantasy, the Final Sexual Organization, and Adolescence

Moses Laufer, Ph.D.

FOR SOME TIME NOW IN MY ANALYTIC WORK WITH LATE ADOLESCENTS and young adults, I have felt hampered in my ability to understand the meaning of certain clinical material. In a number of instances I found that, although the clinical material of some patients in late adolescence (ages 18 to 21) seemed similar to that of some patients who were young adults (ages 22 to 25 or so), the fact that the patient was either "an adolescent" or a "young adult" seemed fundamentally to affect the meaning of this material. This division of "adolescent" and "young adult" also has determined my diagnostic and prognostic views, as well as my day-to-day technique of work. My first inclination was to explain the difference in meaning by thinking of adolescence as a developmental phase and of young adulthood as a time when structural development is fixed and when the "character" is less amenable to change. As a sweeping definition of the differences between adolescence and young adulthood, this may be correct, but it was not very helpful to


Director, Centre for the Study of Adolescence/Brent Consultation Centre, London; part-time staff member, Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic.

Revised version of a paper presented to the British Psycho-Analytical Society, November 1974, to the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic, February 1975, and to the Finnish Psycho-Analytical Society, April 1975.

Although the clinical illustrations are from male patients, the thesis of this paper is relevant to male and female adolescence.

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