Freud's Summary

Freud then gives a quick summary of all that he has said. He began with the problem of the roles played by innate disposition and experiences in life in producing normal or aberrations in sexual lives of adults. The aberrations themselves can be covered between perversion and its negative: neurosis. Among the forces restricting the direction taken by the sexual instinct he emphasized are shame, disgust, pity and the structures of morality and authority erected by society. These are aberrations, therefore, resulting from developmental inhibition or infantilism, which hinder the process of the putting together of the various components of the sexual instinct. In childhood, Freud notes that the sexual instinct is not unified and at first without object: auto-erotic. The erotogenic zone of the genitals then makes itself noticeable during the years of childhood, and then the onset of sexual development occurs in two phases, as it is interrupted by a period of latency.

Freud then gives a conclusive enumeration of the factors, internal and external that can interfere with development: 'Constitution' and 'Heredity', the main weight being on the variety of sexual constitutions themselves, both in neuroses and perversions. Modification to this constitution then occurs to this (to result in one of three results - neurosis, normal healthy sexual life, or perversion).

1. Repression - of some of the components of excessive strength in the disposition - so their energy finds expression as symptoms.

2. Sublimination - which enables excessively strong excitations arising from particular sources of sexuality to find outlet and use in other fields e.g. artistic activity. Reaction- formation could be described as a sub-species of this.

3. Accidental Experiences - the influence of which is hard to estimate due to their nature, however evidence for their interaction with these other forces is strong.

4. Precocity - manifested in the interruption, abbreviation or bringing to an end of the infantile period of latency.

5. Temporal factors - whilst the order in which the various instinctual impulses come into activity seems to be phylogenetically determined, as is the length of time during which they are able to manifest themselves, variations do occur, which, Freud argues exercise a determining influence on one's final sexual instinct.

6. Pertinacity of Early Impressions - Freud argues that a psychical factor of unknown origin, increases the importance of early sexual manifestations - to give increased pertinacity or susceptibility to fixation in persons who later become neurotics or perverts.

Freud finishes: "The unsatisfactory conclusion, however, that emerges from these investigations of the disturbances of sexual life is that we know far too little of the biological processes constituting the essence of sexuality to be able to construct from our fragmentary information a theory adequate to the understanding alike of normal and of pathological conditions."

  By PanEris using Melati.

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