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Huschka, M. (1938). The Incidence and Character of Masturbation Threats in a Group of Problem Children. Psychoanal Q., 7:338-356.

(1938). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 7:338-356

The Incidence and Character of Masturbation Threats in a Group of Problem Children

Mabel Huschka

The great volume of scientific literature on the subject of masturbation is evidence of man's repeated endeavor to solve the problems related to this particular means of genital excitation. Most of the earlier writings were concerned with such questions as the incidence of masturbation with respect to age, sex, and culture, the methods by which masturbation is practiced, whether it is normal or perverse, the harmful physical, mental, and moral consequences of the habit, and finally its treatment.

Since the time when Freud began making his profound contributions to our understanding of emotional problems, however, there has been a change in emphasis in the literature on masturbation. Students in this field have begun to show an increasing interest in such phases of the problem as what masturbation means to the individual in terms of his attitude toward it, the social and psychological factors influencing those attitudes, and the relation of his feeling about masturbation to such fundamentally important emotions as guilt, fear and anxiety. Discerning students also have begun to consider the bearing which the latter unhealthy emotions have upon repression and upon the individual's feelings later in life regarding his genitals and genital functioning.

Today it is generally agreed that conflict over masturbation is a fertile source of emotional trouble. It is the belief of most psychiatrists that when a child masturbates, his parents or those functioning as parent substitutes usually threaten him in some way in an effort to insure his breaking off the habit. It would not be surprising if clinical investigation substantiated this belief, for until recently drastic treatment has been the form of management most writers on the subject have advised.

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