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Sigmund Freud

Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 1905.

3 - Die Umgestaltungen der Pubertät


[Prevention of inversion]

One problem arising in object choice consists in not missing the target of the opposite sex. It is well known that this problem is not solved without some fumbling around. The first arousals after puberty often enough miss the mark - without permanent damage. Dessoir has justly called attention to the regularity of the passionate friendships of young boys and girls for their same-sex mates. The greatest power that defends against a lasting inversion of the sexual object is certainly the attraction that the opposing sex characteristics express for one another; nothing to explain it can be offered in connection with these discussions. But this factor alone is not sufficient to exclude inversion; there are indeed all sorts of supporting aspects. Above all the inhibiting authority of society; where inversion is not viewed as a crime, one discovers that it fully matches the sexual inclinations of no small number of individuals. In addition, one may assume in the case of the man that the childhood memory of the tenderness of the mother and of other female persons into whose care he was entrusted as a child helps powerfully to direct his choice toward the female, while the early sexual intimidation on the part of the father and his competitive position towards him steers him away from the same sex. The same aspects also apply however for the girl, whose sexual activity is under the special monitoring of the mother. This results in an inimical relationship to her own sex, which decisively influences her object choice in the direction deemed normal. The raising of boys by male persons (slaves in the ancient world) appears to foster homosexuality; in today's nobility the frequency of inversion becomes somewhat more understandable due to the employment of male servants and the lesser personal attention paid by the mother to her children. With many hysterical types it happens that the early loss of one of the parents (by death, divorce, separation), after which the remaining parent draws the entire love of the child to him or herself, has fixed the condition for the sex of the person later chosen as the sexual object and thus made possible a lasting inversion.