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Shapiro, T. (2008). Masturbation, Sexuality, and Adaptation: Normalization in Adolescence. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(1):123-146.

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(1):123-146

Masturbation, Sexuality, and Adaptation: Normalization in Adolescence

Theodore Shapiro

During adolescence the central masturbation fantasy that is formulated during childhood takes its final form and paradoxically must now be directed outward for appropriate object finding and pair matching in the service of procreative aims. This is a step in adaptation that requires a further developmental landmark that I have called normalization. The path toward airing these private fantasies is facilitated by chumship relationships as a step toward further exposure to the social surround. Hartmann's structuring application of adaptation within psychoanalysis is used as a framework for understanding the process that simultaneously serves intrapsychic and social demands and permits goals that follow evolutionary principles. Variations in the normalization process from masturbatory isolation to a variety of forms of sexual socialization are examined in sociological data concerning current adolescent sexual behavior and in case examples that indicate some routes to normalized experience and practice.

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