Critical Approaches

Van Spruiell addresses the key questions in his Review of the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexuality : "Comments on the Assault against it". Namely, "Is there one psychoanalytic theory of sexuality? And if so, is that theory global in nature? Does it - can it - include all the influences in life that eventuate in psychological phenomena?" Van Spruiell argues that there is no single universally accepted theory among analysts, and whether the theory can be global or not, can be answered in two ways.

The biological aspect has faced much contradiction - Freud adds in the 4th Edition - "That part of the theory... which lies along the frontiers of biology and the foundations of which are contained in this little work is still faced with undiminished contradiction. It has even led some, who for a time took a very active interest in psychoanalysis to abandon it and to adopt fresh views which were intended to restrict once more the part played by the factor of sexuality in normal and pathological mental life."

The other aspect - an environmental aspect of the global nature of the theory - has faced criticism too, based on arguments that everyday events and impressions, especially in childhood, bear no relation to sexuality. Other critics address the need for attention to be given to sexuality at all. André Green supports Freud though, in his "Has Sexuality anything to do with psychoanalysis?" (1995). Obviously at the time of Freud's publication, many opposed the strong role that he gave sexuality - especially in childhood - since he met with the opposition of the values of Victorian England etc. however, it remains equally shocking today, despite the reduced taboo around the subject, so critics still have some material. However in terms of Freud's psychoanalytic theory this all represents repression of issues that have faced the opposing forces of disgust and shame etc.

The most disputed formulation of Freud, however, is his seemingly innocent treatment of feminine sexuality. Critiques have focused on his phallocentrism and neglect of female sexuality in his theory. However in sum it seems plausible that Freud's skewed ideas about feminine sexuality should not be justification for dismissing what Freud said about other aspects of sexuality, as despite the controversy they provoke they still have some supporters in their ability to explain the psychological phenomena observed today.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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