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Keiser, S. (1968). Discussion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 16:449-456.

(1968). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 16:449-456


Sylvan Keiser, M.D.

Sherfey's undertaking is most admirable and necessary and one which could contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex problems of sexuality. In particular, she addresses herself to the problem of psychoanalytic theory of female sexuality and its relationship to observations culled from other scientific disciplines. Recent advances in embryology, anthropology, sociology, and sexual physiology are brought together here. From them she has developed revolutionary concepts about female sexuality and presented them with great vigor.

Specifically, it seems to be Sherfey's goal to effect changes in the psychoanalytic theories of female sexuality, and to discount or displace all previously accepted theories of female sexual development. It seems a rather difficult task to change a psychoanalytic theory without psychoanalytic observations, of which none are offered by the author. Although she does refer to some statements by some psychoanalysts whose opinions may lend some support to her contentions, she disregards the opinions of others. This study by Sherfey reflects her intensive and wide-ranging search for data in the various fields she regards as relevant for her theoretical formulations. Her scientific persistence and the novelty of her ideas and the possible contribution these might make to our deeper understanding of the complex mystery of sexuality are marred and, for me, almost invalidated by certain unscientific attitudes and a disregard of accepted scientific principles.

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