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Abraham, K. (1926). The Psychological Relations Between Sexuality and Alcoholism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 7:2-10.

(1926). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7:2-10

The Psychological Relations Between Sexuality and Alcoholism

Karl Abraham

It is an undisputed fact that, generally speaking, men are more prone to indulgence in alcohol than women. Though there are places where it is as much a matter of course for women to drink as for men, and others where drunken women are frequently to be seen in the streets, yet alcohol is never bound up with the social life of women in the way it is with that of men. There are large circles of people who regard addiction to drink in men as a token of manliness or even make it a point of honour, but social custom never strictly imposes on women the obligation to drink; our customary moral code is rather inclined to call drinking unwomanly, and it is never a subject of boasting amongst normal women, as it is amongst men.

It seems to me worth while to try to find out whether this different attitude of the two sexes towards alcohol is based on a difference in their sexuality. An investigation of this sort must be based on the more recent conceptions of the psychosexual constitution in men and women, as laid down especially in the works of Freud.

As the study of evolution shows, our bodies contain the rudiments of the genital organs of both sexes. In the course of normal development one set of the rudimentary organs becomes less prominent or takes on other functions, whilst the other continues to develop until it is able to fulfil its functions. A process which is altogether analogous takes place in the psychosexual sphere. Here also the differentiation of the sexes proceeds from an original condition of bisexuality. In childhood the manifestations of the sexual impulse are still very similar in boys and in girls.

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