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Keiser, S. (1956). Female Sexuality. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:563-574.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:563-574

Female Sexuality

Sylvan Keiser, M.D.

The enigma of female sexuality has confronted psychoanalysts since Freud first posed the problem. He expressed the hope that women would be better suited to solve the specific psychology of feminine sexuality, but although many magnificent contributions have since enriched our knowledge (Lampl-de Groot, Deutsch, etc.), many questions remain unanswered. Two female analysts, Therese F. Benedek and Marie Bonaparte, have recently published stimulating books dealing with the subject. Though both have an organic approach, they differ vastly in their treatment of the subject. Benedek studies hormonal fluctuations, whereas Marie Bonaparte deals with anatomic and hereditary factors. The former relates current physiological fluctuations to psychological manifestations, while the latter constructs a psychoanalytic theory based on the hereditary and anatomical uniqueness of the female.

Benedek attempts to collate hormonal laboratory findings with psychoanalytic data provided by a subject's personal therapeutic psychoanalysis. The patient takes her own daily vaginal smears which are studied in the laboratory and evaluations of hormonal levels made. Independently, the psychoanalyst prognosticates the hormonal levels from the dynamic material of the corresponding day. Thus the daily current physiological variations during the complete menstrual cycle are compared with the corresponding analytic sessions.

Unhappily, many questions raised by this procedure are left unanswered by the text.

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