Infantile Bisexuality and the 'Complete Oedipal Complex': Freudian Views on Heterosexuality and Homosexuality
Heenen-Wolff, Susann, International Journal of Psychoanalysis
In the psychoanalytical discussion of what is 'mature' sexuality we speak of the 'genital' stage and the 'resolution' of the oedipal complex in the form of identification with the parent of the same sex and a heterosexually-directed object choice. A close reading of Freud's texts about sexuality shows that such a normative view cannot be corroborated by his viewpoint. He suggests that infantile sexuality is bisexually orientated, the final object choice due to repression of either homosexual or heterosexual desires. As Freud puts it, genital heterosexuality occurs out of necessity for procreation. In order to enrich the present psychoanalytical discussion about homosexuality and bisexuality the author returns to Freud's theories in this context.
Keywords: bisexuality, homosexuality, the 'complete oedipal complex', psychopathology
Peter Fonagy, in the book, Identity, Gender and Sexuality, published by the International Psychoanalytical Association, looks backwards to an ongoing evolution in psychoanalysis in the past: ''It is as if there is no space for sexuality within psychoanalysis. We no longer consider it fundamental in all cases or even relevant to current theorization'' (Fonagy, 2009, p. 1). And he adds: ''Psychosexuality is nowadays more frequently considered as disguising other, non-sexual, self- and object-related conflicts than the other way around'' (ibid.).
As Fonagy writes, it is obvious that the subject of sexuality and sexual conflicts occupies a smaller place in contemporary psychoanalytic writings than in Freud's day. The so-called scandal of hysteria, with its intrapsychic conflict between sexual desire and the superego's interdiction, has been supplanted in metapsychological and clinical work by the problem of the analysand's lack of ability to symbolize and 'mentalize'. In this context, attention is especially given to the earliest of object-relations in which - apparently - sexuality does not yet play a role. Moreover, ''It is obvious that we are unable to observe directly what is presented to our examination from the couch, of the elements or expressions of sexuality and destructiveness'' (Green, 1996, p. 832). In the same vein, Gilbert Diatkine remarks that without doubt: ''Many narratives of the cure made by authors claiming in principle to be representatives of Freudian metapsychology might not include any allusion to the drives or to unconscious sexual fantasy'' (Diatkine, 1996, p. 145).
The metapsychology of psychosexuality is a model used to understand clinical phenomena whose understanding by other models was not previously possible. According to drive theory and the concept of après-coup, situations that were not first experienced sexually will inevitably be sexualized après-coup (in a 'deferred action'), in the wake of new experiences - at the latest, during puberty. And the analytic process itself makes possible, neither more nor less, setting off effects après-coup. When considered literally, according to Freudian metapsychology it is unthinkable that non-sexual elements can be found in the unconscious.
However, the reference to drive theory, infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex as its culminating point seems to have become rarer, and this is so in favour of problematics of symbolization. Thus the configuration formerly called 'oedipal' has become 'triangulation' or the 'analytic third'; metapsychological notions in which the implicit psychosexual reference has disappeared have become commonplace. Most major contemporary work treats limit cases and their incapacity - challenging psychoanalysis - to fantasize, to recognize the whole-object and to place itself within an oedipal triangulation. Nevertheless, one may ask the question: Does this making relative of the oedipal 'order' and classic neurosis necessarily justify the disappearance of psychosexual concepts from psychoanalysis?
Attachment theories, with their interests in the relational interactions between mother and child have widely gained in influence in psychoanalysis and have contributed to making the idea of a previous sexualizing of experience lose ground (the extreme example being Dornes, 2006), since it is not observable given that it intervenes après-coup. Fonagy designates the turning of psychosexuality towards attachment theory even as a ''paradigm shift'' (Fonagy, 2009, p. 5) and thinks that we observe a dissociation between psychosexuality and drive theory on one side and attachment on the other, where ''psychosexual causality was pushed away by explanations bearing on the long-term consequences of hurt and on the dependency of the human infans'' (ibid.).
Now, we should emphasize that if the trauma with which the analytic situation is confronted is doubtless not always sexual, it remains that its working-through is governed by infantile sexuality, its libidinal plasticity and polymorphism.
The backward step of references to psychosexuality and the Oedipus complex in psychoanalytic discourse has at the same time made the discarding of certain theoretical problems possible. An example: the dissolution of the Oedipus complex - that is, the identification with the parent of the same sex following on the renunciation of possessing the parent of the opposite sex - was (and is) considered as the peak of infantile sexuality and as the condition of consequent adult heterosexuality. In recent decades, new visions of sexuality have come to light and the psychoanalytical theoretical position has become jeopardized, particularly concerning the question of homosexuality. Though Freud (1905) says that even the mutual interest of men and women is not evident, but requires a different explanation than one coming under a simple biological attraction and which is the ''result of a number of factors, not all of which are yet known; some are of a constitutional nature but others are accidental'' (Freud, 1915, p. 146, note to the 1915 edition of the Three Essays), it remains that, from a classic psychoanalytic viewpoint, homosexuality is understood as resulting from a regression or a fixation to a stage or to modes of temporal experience preceding the dissolution of the Oedipus complex and, in the end, as a failure of oedipal rivalry, leading to an identification with the parent of the opposite sex - ''inversion'' (Freud, 1915, p. 157 f).
Psychoanalysts no longer state this line of thought loudly, but it does remain operative, above all in the frame of psychoanalytic institutions. In this context, I refer to the virulent discussions published in the IPA Newsletter in 2001-02, notably concerning homosexual candidates and psychoanalytic training. They had long been automatically excluded from training as psychoanalysts. In reply to the reproaches of persistent homophobia in institutionalized psychoanalysis, César Botella wrote:
[...] The candidate approaches the Commission and his analytic future specifically as an analysand. His profession, family situation and sexuality will not be taken into consideration; the Commission will only judge his psychic capacities to exercise psychoanalysis and if, in light of his present capacities, he is already prepared to undertake psychoanalytic treatments. [...] The aim of this procedure is thus to dispel any idea referring to normality, whether medical and / or social.
(Botella, 2001, p. 19)
As if the members of the teaching commissions were not interested in the way that the 'psychic qualities' of the candidate were expressed in his present relational life!
In any case, the retraction of sexuality from contemporary psychoanalysis seems to have made the debate concerning homosexuality superfluous. When looked at closely, one can only regret this turn since only a superficial reading of Freud can justify thinking of homosexuality in and of itself as a 'pathological' solution (i.e. Bergeret 2002). Roudinesco (2002, p. 22) is of the opinion that it is above all the desire for 'normalization' of many homosexuals who, following the example of the traditional nuclear family, wish to live with a partner and children, that makes the psychoanalytic community ill-at-ease.
Given this situation I think it indicative to return to Freud's theories bearing on homosexuality and bisexuality. They give us not only a solid base for participating in the present debate on homosexuality and notably gay and lesbian parenthood, but also in order to provide us with some direction as analysts.
The structural bisexuality of the human
We know that Freud took the idea of bisexuality from his friend Fliess (Freud, 1899), all the while exploring it from the first in an original way. Freud (1905) confers to bisexuality a fundamental role in the organization and evolution of infantile psychosexuality: thus ''every sexual act [is] a process involving four individuals'' (Freud, 1899, letter to Fliess of 1 August). In its amorous impetus and its identifications the child hardly pays any mind to the sexual membership of the primary objects: the bisexual capacity - to desire, to love, to be able to be identified with both sexes without this first being the result of defensive processes - belongs entirely to the subject's psychic life, in more or less unconscious fashion, the end result - the objectchoice's determination - being tied to corporal experiences - which give a sexualized dimension to psychic reality - and to the forces and vicissitudes shaping the singularity of a specific history. Original bisexuality remains responsible for homosexual traces in the experience of each individual.
The bisexuality of every human - the oscillation, then, between homosexual cathexes and heterosexual cathexes - seemed structural to Freud to the point that he speaks of them in Analysis terminable and interminable (Freud, 1937) as an ''underlying bedrock'' (p. 252) - incapable of being analysed - bringing an end to the possible work of the analyst (ibid.), in the same way as the ''constitutional strength of the drives'' (p. 218), the drive thrusts ''at puberty' and 'menopause'' (p. 226), the ''adhesiveness of the libido'' (p. 240) and the conflicted drive play between Eros and Thanatos (p. 243).
It is well known that at all periods there have been [...] people who can take as their sexual objects members of their own sex as well as of the opposite one, without the one trend interfering with the other. We call such people bisexuals, and we accept their existence without feeling much surprise about it. We have come to learn, however, that every human being is bisexual in this sense and that his libido is distributed, either in a manifest or a latent fashion, over objects of both sexes.
(Freud, 1937, pp. 243-4)
How may we explain that Freud's statements have fallen into obscurity to the point that so many analysts subscribe to the conception of heterosexuality as 'naturally' coming out of the dissolution of the Oedipus complex?
Freud (1930) himself gives us a clue for the reasons of such a reading - which is erroneous - of drive destiny by denouncing a conceptual lacuna:
The theory of bisexuality is still surrounded by many obscurities and we cannot but feel it as a serious impediment in psychoanalysis that it has not yet found any link with the theory of the instincts. However this may be, if we assume it as a fact that each individual seeks to satisfy both male and female wishes in his sexual life, we are prepared for the possibility that those [two sets of] demands are not fulfilled by the same object, and that they interfere with each other unless they can be kept apart and each impulse guided in a particular channel that is suited to it.
(Freud, 1930, p. 106 n.)
Nowhere in his work does Freud suggest an indication of a 'good' or a less 'good' determination of object-choice. Every object-choice is the result of a repression that makes the ''restriction'' (Freud, 1920, p. 151) of impetuses towards a single sex possible. He affirms: ''In general, to undertake to convert a fully developed homosexual into a heterosexual does not offer much more prospect of success than the reverse [...]'' (ibid.).
In Freud's thought, the term 'bisexuality' designates the cathexes and cross-identifications of the subject at the psychic level as his real or potential object-choice. Whence, at times, a certain conceptual confusion in the distinction between sexual identity and object-choice. As Freud (1920) remarks:
The literature of homosexuality usually fails to distinguish clearly enough between the questions of the choice of object on the one hand, and the sexual characteristics and sexual attitude of the subject on the other, as though the answer to the former necessarily involved the answers to the latter. Experience, however, proves the contrary: a man with predominantly male characteristics and also masculine in his erotic life may still be inverted in respect to his object, loving only men instead of women. A man in whose character feminine attributes obviously predominate, who may, indeed, behave in love like a woman, might be expected, from this feminine attitude, to choose a male for his love-object; but he may nevertheless be heterosexual, and show no more inversion in respect to his object than an average normal man. The same is true for women; here also mental sexual character and object-choice do not necessarily coincide. The mystery of homosexuality is therefore by no means so simple as it is commonly depicted in popular expositions - 'a feminine mind, bound therefore to love a man, but unhappily attached to a masculine body; a masculine mind, irresistibly attracted by women, but, alas! imprisoned in a feminine body'.
(1920, p. 170)
The most recent research goes in this direction and questions the coincidence between sexual identity and the determinants of object-choice (Burch, 1993; Philips, 2003).
Moreover, Freud argues that a man's exclusive sexual interest in women (and the opposite) is a phenomenon that is far from evident, established by some 'chemical' attraction. As he says very clearly for both men and women: ''[...] the exclusive sexual interest felt by men for women is also a problem that needs elucidating and is not a self-evident fact [...]'' (Freud, 1905, note added to the 1915 edition of the Three Essays, p. 146). Nearly 20 years later, he argues the same idea: ''[...] psychoanalysis does not try to describe what a woman is [...] but sets about enquiring how she comes into being, how a woman develops out of a child with a bisexual disposition'' (Freud, 1933, p. 116).
However, concerning the notion of the 'inverted' designating the homosexual, Freud based himself on a psychiatric nomenclature that viewed homosexuality as pathological. The term inverti (or interverti) [inverted], alludes to the 'inverse': the adjective qualifies what is exactly opposed and contrary to something or to arrange in an order that is contrary to the ordinary order, for example, in military.
The evolution of human beings is (or was?) necessary for the reproduction of human kind and it is possible to explain the term 'inversion' in this context. Now, unless we resort to this term - unfortunate notably aprèscoup given that reproduction has considerably distanced itself from sexuality, I believe it impossible to draw on Freud to designate, as a rule, the homosexual form of object-choice as being any more pathological than the heterosexual form: ''No vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness'', writes Freud (1935, p. 423, English in the original). Of course, he is speaking of a possible 'inhibition' of sexual development: ''[W]e consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development'' (ibid.). But when he turns to the question of 'healing' a subject of his homosexuality, he concludes that if the homosexual is ''unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains homosexual or gets changed'' (ibid., pp. 423-4.).
Pregenital fixation or failed Oedipus?
Post-Freudian psychoanalytic theories concerning the determination of object-choice have sought to relate manifest homosexuality either to a preoedipal fixation (i.e. Bergeret, 2002) or to an Oedipus complex organized in a specific way (i.e. Goldsmith, 2001). The hypothesis that homosexuality is constituted more in pregenital than genital experience implies the conviction that pregenital experience would be 'earlier', thus more 'archaic', less 'mature', more 'primitive'. These definitions are unconvincing. We know that pregenital experiences remain active beyond the Oedipus complex and govern the sex life of all adults. One may also observe the importance of the capacity of pregenital experiences, in light of the conflicts inherent to human sexuality defined as genital, which includes a structural non-satisfaction. Freud himself left no doubt concerning this:
In the early phases the different component instincts set about their pursuit of pleasure independently of one another [...]. The complete organization is only achieved at puberty, in a fourth, genital stage. A state of things is then established in which (1) some earlier libidinal cathexes are retained, (2) others are taken into the sexual function as preparatory, auxiliary acts, the satisfaction of which produces what is known as fore-pleasure, and (3) other urges are excluded from the organization, and are either suppressed altogether (repressed) or are employed in the ego in another way, forming character-traits or undergoing sublimation with a displacement of their aims.
(1940, p. 155)
Each sexual experience of the adult is thus to a large extent tinged with modalities of pregential satisfaction, which are constituted at different periods of life; these modalities may become particularly significant and operative at different periods of life.
But how do we know that homosexuality is 'pregenital'? What do we mean by 'genital sexuality'? Is it when the male genitalia and the female genitalia unite in order to experience orgasm in a sexual relationship? Is it a matter of experiencing orgasm during the sex act? Or can it still be called 'genital sexuality' when satisfaction is experienced by only one of the partners? Or, lastly, can one consider that there is genital sexuality when the fantasies accompanying the sex act have a 'genital' aspect? If it is above all the fantasies that matter for the definition, then the actual sex acts completing the union of penis and vagina would be less important for the definition. Moreover, the acts may be 'pregenital' but based on genital fantasies.
Or still more, do we believe that it is a matter of genital sexuality when, generally speaking, the two partners experience orgasm - simultaneously! - through the genital sex act (penetration) with fantasies centred on genitality? It would be a question of a sexual relationship, which, on the strength of clinical psychoanalytic experience and the experience of life itself, would be quite daunting. Does the mere fact that the homosexual act, as it does not consist of genital union in the sense of intromission of the penis into the vagina, prove that it cannot be a matter of genital sexuality?
Freud himself was rather pessimistic as to sexuality known as genital. In his Contributions to the psychology of love 2, he wrote: ''It is my belief that, however strange it may sound, we must reckon with the possibility that something in the nature of the sexual instinct itself is unfavorable to the realization of complete satisfaction'' (1912, pp. 188-9).
In the same text, he laid out the general ideas of the human being's structural sexual non-satisfaction:
* Neither in women nor in men do the 'affectionate' current and the 'sensual' current sufficiently meet up. ''Where they love they do not desire and where they desire they cannot love'' (ibid., p. 183).
* ''[A]s a result of the diphasic onset of object-choice, and the interposition of the barrier against incest, the final object of the sexual instinct is never any longer the original object but only a surrogate for it. [... I]t is frequently represented by an endless series of substitutive objects none of which, however, brings full satisfaction. This may explain the inconstancy in object-choice, the 'craving for stimulation' which is so often a feature of the love of adults'' (ibid., p. 189).
* Moreover, ''we know that the sexual instinct is originally divided into a great number of components - or, rather, it develops out of them - some of which cannot be taken up into the instinct in its later form, but have at an earlier stage to be suppressed or put to other uses'' (ibid., p. 189). According to Freud, partial or complete impotence in men and frigidity in women may result from this, while the constant push of the drives, indeed, the search for excitation, continues. ''What civilization aims at making out of [the drives] seems unattainable except at the price of a sensible loss of pleasure; the persistence of the impulses that could not be made use of can be detected in sexual activity in the form of non-satisfaction'' (ibid., pp. 189-90).
* To this is added - to top it all - that ''if sexual freedom is unrestricted from the outset the result is no better. It can easily be shown that the psychical value of erotic needs is reduced as soon as their satisfaction becomes easy. An obstacle is required in order to heighten libido; and where natural resistances to satisfaction have not been sufficient men have at all times erected conventional ones so as to be able to enjoy love'' (ibid., p. 187).
Freud defined successful love by the meeting up of the 'affectionate' current and the 'sensual' current, and it would be difficult to think that homosexuals are excluded from this experience.
The 'complete' Oedipus complex
Nor does the hypothesis that homosexuality results from a failed Oedipus complex succeed in convincing, if one follows Freud closely. It was in 1923 that Freud reconsidered his first conception of the Oedipus complex and highlighted the potential for a bisexual orientation; only a superficial and partial reading of the theory of the Oedipus complex makes it possible to think that it is obvious that the young boy identifies with the paternal imago while the young girl, with the maternal imago so as to arrive at a heterosexual object-choice and that, moreover, this dynamic is 'better' than another. Concerning the evolution of the concept of the Oedipus complex within Freud's oeuvre, Freud writes:
[...] the relative strength of the masculine and feminine sexual dispositions is what determines whether the outcome of the Oedipus situation shall be an identification with the father or with the mother. This is one of the ways in which bisexuality takes a hand in the subsequent vicissitudes of the Oedipus complex. The other way is even more important. For one gets an impression that the simple Oedipus complex is by no means its commonest form, but rather represents a simplification or schematization which, to be sure, is often enough justified for practical purposes. Closer study usually discloses the more complete Oedipus complex, which is twofold, positive and negative, and is due to the bisexuality originally present in children: that is to say, a boy has not merely an ambivalent object-choice towards his mother, but at the same time he also behaves like a girl and displays an affectionate feminine attitude to his father and a corresponding jealousy and hostility towards his mother. It is this complicating element introduced by bisexuality that makes it so difficult to obtain a clear view of the facts in connection with the earliest object-choices and identifications, and still more difficult to describe them intelligently. It may even be that the ambivalence displayed in the relations to the parents should be attributed entirely to bisexuality and that it is not, as I have represented above, developed out of identification in consequence of rivalry.
(1923, p. 33, my emphasis)
The 'complete' Oedipus complex consists in the fact that, beyond the 'positive' and 'negative' complex, one observes ''a whole series of mixed cases in which these two forms co-exist in a dialectical relationship'' (Laplanche and Pontalis, 1967, p. 80).
All psychosexual development, for Freud, takes as its departure primary bisexuality. As to maintaining a manifest bisexual orientation as an adult, Freud does not say either that it is structurally more pathological than another drive destiny.
Against the backdrop of what Freud formulated at a metapsychological level, it would thus be mistaken to take the following sentences, which are well-known and often quoted as just an opinion:
Psycho-analytic research is most decidedly opposed to any attempt at separating off homosexuals from the rest of mankind as a group of special character. By studying sexual excitations other than those that are manifestly displayed, it is found that all human beings are capable of making a homosexual object-choice and have in fact made one in their unconscious. [... P]sycho-analysis considers that a choice of an object independently of its sex - freedom to range equally over male and female objects [...]- is the original basis from which [...] both the normal and the inverted types develop.
(Freud, 1905, pp. 145-6, note of 1915, my emphasis)
After Freud: Homosexualities
Following Ferenczi (1914), who bewailed that very diverse states could be brought together by the term 'homosexuality', numerous contemporary authors prefer speaking, not of 'homosexuality' but homosexualities, thus emphasizing that their features are far from uniform and univocal. Seeing homosexuality as non-pathological in the modern age began with Freud and it continues at the societal level, and in a certain way too within psychoanalysis, moreover, the notion of homosexuality has been removed from the DSM (beginning with the DSM-III).
Knowing the sexual orientation of a person tells us nothing about his health or his psychic maturity, nor about his character, his inner conflicts or his integrity: ''A borderline homosexual patient has more in common with a borderline heterosexual patient than with a psychologically healthy homosexual person'' (Roughton, 1999, p. 1291).
Oedipus as meta-narrative
Jean Laplanche's most recent work is interesting in the framework of understanding the Oedipus complex and its connection to bisexuality:
That the 'structure' (Oedipus, incest, castration) is generally widespread does not imply that, from a metapsychological viewpoint, we have to localize it in the unconscious. It is the realm of the preconscious, in its task of helping to put the subject's history - conscious - preconscious - unconscious - into narrative.
(Laplanche, 2006, p. 280)
With this viewpoint, we only 'tell' ourselves that we are heterosexual or homosexual; the narrative formalization of the oedipal configuration - originally 'complete'- would determine the definitive sexual object-choice - which is always 'restrictive' (Freud speaks of 'Einschränkung') -, whereas the unconscious (and the id's urge) is and remains bisexual.
Culture has entered into a 'state of constant revision' of tradition and life styles, as a result, have become reflexive. Narratives have become more open-ended and varied. This 'permissiveness' might encourage the lifting of certain repressions, in this case that of bisexually orientated desires, leading to heterosexual object-choices as well as homosexual ones.
If the Oedipus complex, as Laplanche suggests, may be understood as a cultural, universal and prevailing meta-narrative, lasting for but a certain time, in order to organize our fantasy life and structure the unconscious, then we must take into consideration the fact that ''mentalities are forms that the compromise between drive exigency and cultural necessity take'' (Kahn, 2004, p. 213). These cultural necessities are subject to great changes.
Following Freud's logic, heterosexual object-choice determination is the result of the repression of homosexual drive impulses, a repression that was long necessary in order to ensure the continuity of human kind, which depended on heterosexual union. One can hypothesize that the growing division between sexuality and procreation requires less repression. Logically, one would see more bisexual orientations since, as Freud (1913) observed, ''The combination of all the component instincts for the choice of an object, under the primacy of the genitals, [acts] on behalf of reproduction'' (1913, p. 321, my emphasis). In the pregenital phase, ''We find [...] the antithesis between trends with an active and with a passive aim, an antithesis which later becomes firmly attached to that between the sexes'' (1913, p. 322). Whether this 'attachment' leads to a specific (heterosexual) object-choice, Freud does not say.
Gay and lesbian parenthood
In today's world, reproduction no longer requires the sex act, and the sex act may be dissociated from reproduction. One might call this phenomenon a 'second cultural birth' of sexuality, a birth of what one may think of as 'pure' sexuality. New reproductive techniques make possible the split between reproduction and the actual sexual relationship. As a result, men and women do not inevitably meet up with each other, nor do parents and children. As statistical work carried out in recent years shows (though one need only observe what is happening around oneself), biological parents of former times are increasingly replaced by social parents - notably in reconstructed families. Against the backdrop of social reality, which means that nearly half of children live with a single parent or with a reconstructed couple, the question of the parenthood of same-sex couples must thus be posed sooner or later and, especially in the United States, considerable research on homosexual couples as parents has been realized in the last two decades.
In such a context, it is useful to recall that, according to Freud, in all cases, the method of clinical investigation must take precedence over preconceived ideas; in other words, we should, as psychoanalysts, try to analyse what is happening without, beforehand, deciding what is 'right' or 'wrong'. This means that psychoanalysis is in no case a 'Weltanschauung', a vision of the world. It is, moreover, foreign to psychoanalysis to attribute to the real familial composition greater importance than to the child's primary and secondary fantasies. We should also point out that we do not possess clinical work which has revealed, among children growing up in a family with homosexual parents, a specific symptomatology.
Infantile sexuality has not - yet - experienced a definitive object-choice and the heterosexual genital constellation is but one of the forms which infantile sexuality may arrive at, the 'polymorphic perverse' elements always remaining alive and active. This is why it is more appropriate to define the 'mature' psychic structure as a potential for the complete Oedipus complex and its 'dissolution', which is subject to updating throughout life. We have seen, with Freud, that the Oedipus complex is organized bisexually and that it remains a potential challenge for life. This aim alone might explain moreover the phenomenon of changing sexual orientation throughout the life of a subject (heterosexual and homosexual relationships following each other).
The fact that we see on our couches homosexual patients presenting serious narcissistic and sexually enacted pathologies ought not blind us as to the fact that we see, firstly, as many heterosexual patients with, in turn, serious narcissistic and sexually enacted pathologies, and that, secondly, many homosexual patients with less telling pathologies presumably seek support from non-analytic therapists, who have a reputation for being less homophobic than many members of psychoanalytic communities. I also think that it is for this reason indicated to recall the fundamental metapsychological psychoanalytic reflections concerning human sexuality. Freud tersely remarked concerning the latent bisexuality of all people:
I cannot neglect this opportunity of expressing for once my astonishment that human beings can go through such great and important moments of their erotic life without noticing them much, sometimes even, indeed, without having the faintest suspicion of their existence, or else, having become aware of those moments, deceive themselves so thoroughly in their judgment of them. This happens not only under neurotic conditions, where we are familiar with the phenomenon, but seems also to be common enough in ordinary life.
(1920, p. 166)
Translations of summary
Infantile Bisexualität und der ''vollständige Ödipuskomplex''. Freudsche Sichtweisen auf Heterosexualität und Homosexualität. In der psychoanalytischen Diskussion über die Frage, was ''reif'' bedeutet, sprechen wir von der ,,genitalen'' Stufe und der ,,Auflösung'' des Ödipuskomplexes durch Identifizierung mit dem gleichgeschlechtlichen Elternteil und einer heterosexuell-gerichteten Objektwahl. Die genaue Lektüre von Freuds Texten über die Sexualität zeigt, dass eine solche normative Auffassung durch seine Sichtweise nicht gestützt wird. Er vertritt die Ansicht, dass die infantile Sexualität bisexuell orientiert ist und die endgültige Objektwahl auf der Verdrängung entweder der homosexuellen oder der heterosexuellen Wünsche beruht. Wie Freud es formuliert, resultiert die genitale Heterosexualität aus der Notwendigkeit der Fortpflanzung. Um die aktuelle psychoanalytische Diskussion über Homosexualität und Bisexualität zu bereichern, kehrt die Autorin zu Freuds einschlägigen Theorien zurück.
La bisexualidad infantil y el 'complejo de Edipo completo': El punto de vista freudiano acerca de la heterosexualidad y la homosexualidad. En el debate psicoanaltico acerca de qué es la sexualidad 'madura', hablamos de la 'fase genital' y de la 'resolución' del complejo de Edipo mediante la identificación con el progenitor del mismo sexo y una elección de objeto de dirección heterosexual. Una lectura minuciosa de los textos de Freud sobre la sexualidad muestra que dicha visión normativa no puede ser corroborada por su punto de vista. Freud sugiere que la sexualidad infantil es de orientación bisexual, y que la elección de objeto final se debe a la represión de los deseos homosexuales o heterosexuales. Como lo plantea este autor, la heterosexualidad genital es consecuencia de la necesidad de procreación. Para enriquecer el debate psicoanaltico actual sobre homosexualidad y bisexualidad, la autora vuelve a las teoras de Freud en este contexto.
La bisexualitéinfantile et le « complexe d'OEdipe complet ». Points de vue freudiens sur l'hétérosexualitéet l'homosexualité. L'examen psychanalytique de la sexualité « adulte » met l'accent sur le stade « génital » et la « résolution » du complexe d'OEdipe sous la forme d'une identification au parent du même sexe et un choix d'objet hétérosexuel. Une lecture attentive des textes de Freud sur la sexualité montre que son point de vue ne permet pas de corroborer une vision aussi normative. En effet, Freud suggère l'idée que la sexualité infantile est orientée bisexuellement et que le choix d'objet définitif est la conséquence du refoulement ou bien des désirs homosexuels ou bien des désirs hétérosexuels. Selon Freud, le choix de l'hétérosexualité génitale est dicté par la nécessité de la procréation. Afin d'enrichir la discussion psychanalytique actuelle de l'homosexualité et de la bisexualité, l'auteur retourne aux théories de Freud dans ce domaine.
Bisessualità Infantile e risoluzione del complesso edipico. Posizioni freudiane sull'eterosessualitàe l'omosessualità . Quando, in psicoanalisi, si parla di sessualità 'matura' si fa generalmente riferimento allo 'stadio genitale' e alla 'risoluzione del complesso edipico' - quest'ultima intesa come identificazione con il genitore dello stesso sesso accompagnata da una scelta eterossessuale dell'oggetto sessuale. Un'attenta lettura dei lavori freudiani sulla sessualità rivela che queste norme teoriche attribuite a Freud non trovano conferma. Egli suggerisce infatti che la sessualità infantile sia per natura bisessuale e che la scelta oggettuale finale sia dovuta alla repressione del desiderio omosessuale o di quello eterosessuale. Secondo Freud, l'eterossessualità genitale nascerebbe dalla necessità di procreare. L'autore rivisita le teorie freudiane su questo argomento allo scopo di apportare una nuova prospettiva all'attuale dibattito psicoanalitico su omosessualità e bisessualità.
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(Final version accepted 21 December 2010)
1Translated by Steven Jaron.…
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Publication information: Article title: Infantile Bisexuality and the 'Complete Oedipal Complex': Freudian Views on Heterosexuality and Homosexuality. Contributors: Heenen-Wolff, Susann - Author. Journal title: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. Volume: 92. Issue: 5 Publication date: October 2011. Page number: 1209+. © International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJP) Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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