Freud three essays on sexuality summary

Brief Overview

In it, Breuer discusses the "cathartic method" he used to cure Anna O. Although Freud was enthusiastic about the new method, his emphasis on the exclusively sexual causes of hysteria made his theories unpopular, not only with his superiors at the University, but also with Breuer.

From —, in a period of isolation from his colleagues, Freud developed the basics of psychoanalytic theory out of the raw material of his patients, his conversations with Breuer, and his correspondence with a new friend, the Berlin nose and throat doctor Wilhelm Fliess. In , Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams, the first fully fleshed-out psychoanalytic work, was published.

Freud was deeply disappointed by its lackluster reception, but he continued writing. In the s, Freud finally emerged from the isolation that had characterized his professional life in the s.

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He began to have weekly meetings at his house to discuss psychoanalytic theory. The group that met at his house was called the "Wednesday Psychological Society," and eventually it grew into the Vienna Psycho-Analytic Society. By , Freud had begun to hear of other neurologists and psychiatrists using his techniques.

He was particularly excited to hear that the well-respected Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler and one of Bleuler's staff members, Carl G. Jung, had taken an interest. Toward the end of the decade, psychoanalysis became a truly international affair: the International Psychoanalytic Association was founded with the help of supporters from Germany, Austria Alfred Adler and Wilhelm Stekel , Switzerland, Hungary Sandor Ferenczi , and England Ernest Jones.

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Three essays on the theory of sexuality

In the years before the First World War, psychoanalysis experienced its first growing pains: first Jung, then Adler and Stekel, left the organization after bitter disagreements with Freud. In response to these defections, Jones and Freud created a secret "Committee" to protect psychoanalysis. During World War I, Freud continued to write and lecture, but patients were few and international communications were impossible.

When the war ended, however, the International Psychoanalytic Association resumed its meetings in an atmosphere much more conducive to psychoanalysis than that before the war. Unfortunately, the post-war years were extremely difficult in Vienna: inflation was rampant, supplies were few, and patients were rare.

Freud's Theories About Sex As Relevant as Ever

Freud's reputation, however, was growing, and in he was made a full professor at the University of Vienna. Freud's work from to the end of his life in became increasingly speculative. He became concerned with applying psychoanalysis to questions of civilization and society, an approach that he had first tried in his Totem and Taboo. In , he published Beyond the Pleasure Principle, which suggested that human existence is a struggle between Eros, or the sex drive, and an instinct toward death.

In , Freud was diagnosed with mouth cancer, a consequence of his life-long habit of cigar smoking. His illness would trouble him until his death in , demanding in the meantime thirty-three separate operations that caused him pain and made it difficult for him to speak and eat. The s were a complicated decade for Freud. He was undeniably successful, even famous, but his own health, several deaths in his family, and the disintegration of the Committee made his success bittersweet.

One reason for this may be that the needs of the developing individual at any particular stage may not have been adequately met in which case there is frustration. Both frustration and overindulgence or any combination of the two may lead to what psychoanalysts call fixation at a particular psychosexual stage. Fixation refers to the theoretical notion that a portion of the individual's libido has been permanently 'invested' in a particular stage of his development.

In the first stage of personality development, the libido is centered in a baby's mouth. It gets much satisfaction from putting all sorts of things in its mouth to satisfy the libido, and thus its id demands.

Sigmund Freud. Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory

Which at this stage in life are oral, or mouth orientated, such as sucking, biting, and breastfeeding. Freud said oral stimulation could lead to an oral fixation in later life. We see oral personalities all around us such as smokers, nail-biters, finger-chewers, and thumb suckers. Oral personalities engage in such oral behaviors, particularly when under stress.

The libido now becomes focused on the anus, and the child derives great pleasure from defecating. The child is now fully aware that they are a person in their own right and that their wishes can bring them into conflict with the demands of the outside world i. Freud believed that this type of conflict tends to come to a head in potty training, in which adults impose restrictions on when and where the child can defecate.


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The nature of this first conflict with authority can determine the child's future relationship with all forms of authority. Early or harsh potty training can lead to the child becoming an anal-retentive personality who hates mess, is obsessively tidy, punctual and respectful of authority. They can be stubborn and tight-fisted with their cash and possessions.

This is all related to pleasure got from holding on to their faeces when toddlers, and their mum's then insisting that they get rid of it by placing them on the potty until they perform! Not as daft as it sounds. The anal expulsive, on the other hand, underwent a liberal toilet-training regime during the anal stage. In adulthood, the anal expulsive is the person who wants to share things with you. They like giving things away. Sensitivity now becomes concentrated in the genitals and masturbation in both sexes becomes a new source of pleasure.

The child becomes aware of anatomical sex differences, which sets in motion the conflict between erotic attraction, resentment, rivalry, jealousy and fear which Freud called the Oedipus complex in boys and the Electra complex in girls. This is resolved through the process of identification, which involves the child adopting the characteristics of the same sex parent. The most important aspect of the phallic stage is the Oedipus complex.

This is one of Freud's most controversial ideas and one that many people reject outright.

short book review: "3 essays on sexuality" by Dr. Sigmund Freud (1905)

The name of the Oedipus complex derives from the Greek myth where Oedipus, a young man, kills his father and marries his mother. Upon discovering this, he pokes his eyes out and becomes blind. This Oedipal is the generic i. In the young boy, the Oedipus complex or more correctly, conflict, arises because the boy develops sexual pleasurable desires for his mother. He wants to possess his mother exclusively and get rid of his father to enable him to do so. Irrationally, the boy thinks that if his father were to find out about all this, his father would take away what he loves the most.

During the phallic stage what the boy loves most is his penis. Hence the boy develops castration anxiety. The little boy then sets out to resolve this problem by imitating, copying and joining in masculine dad-type behaviors. This is called identification , and is how the three-to-five year old boy resolves his Oedipus complex.

Identification means internally adopting the values, attitudes, and behaviors of another person. The consequence of this is that the boy takes on the male gender role, and adopts an ego ideal and values that become the superego.

Freud offered the Little Hans case study as evidence of the Oedipus complex. For girls, the Oedipus or Electra complex is less than satisfactory. Briefly, the girl desires the father, but realizes that she does not have a penis. This leads to the development of penis envy and the wish to be a boy.

The girl resolves this by repressing her desire for her father and substituting the wish for a penis with the wish for a baby.

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The girl blames her mother for her 'castrated state,' and this creates great tension. The girl then represses her feelings to remove the tension and identifies with the mother to take on the female gender role. No further psychosexual development takes place during this stage latent means hidden. The libido is dormant.

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