FROM FREUD TO
BIOLOGY TO KINSEY
A major factor in bringing about a change in attitudes toward sexuality in the United States was the growing importance of Freud and Freudian ideas. Though Ellis was widely read, as were the writers of marriage manuals, it was Freudian ideas that captured the interest of the intellectual community. Freud's concept of sexuality was widely adopted by anthropologists, psychologists, literary critics, and others who carried his message to a larger audience. His ideas were also important in treatment. While there were some psychiatrists who did not adopt the Freudian viewpoint and others who belonged to variant schools of psychoanalytic thought, it was Freudian-based concepts that dominated American writing on variant sexuality and exercised great influence over American ideas about sex, in general, and about the diagnosis and treatment of patients' sexual problems, in particular. Psychiatrists saw both private patients and those sent to them by the courts. There was, however, a difference between Freud himself and most of his American followers, because where Freud had emphasized nature and biology as much as nurture, the American psychoanalysts put much more emphasis on nurture.
The historian John Burnham argued that in the 1920s and 1930s
enthusiasts of dynamic psychiatry and psychoanalysis, like the Menninger brothers, were asserting that they and their colleagues could contribute to a better world because they knew the causes of human unhappiness. Later a conservative cult of contentment ... may have