The Psychoanalytic Theory of Male Homosexuality

Kenneth Lewes, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (301p) ISBN 978-0-671-62391-3
Lewes's definitive, rewarding survey demonstrates that the idea of homosexuality as a form of illness owes a lot more to Freud's successors than to Freud himself. The father of psychoanalysis held that everyone has an inborn bisexual potential; he saw homosexuality as a constitutional disposition triggered by psychosocial factors in childhood. Freud's early followers were tolerant of gays, but by the 1930s, notes the author, the psychoanalytic establishment defined homosexuality as a perversion linked to narcissism or paranoia, said to limit one's personal and creative potential. When Kinsey published his 1948 report showing how widespread male homoerotic activity was, neo-Freudians largely ignored it. In private practice, many shrinks adopted an abusive, condescending tone toward gay patients, according to Lewes. A clinical psychologist, he believes that nearly all psychoanalytic studies of male homosexuality are based on too small or nonrepresentative samples. Unfortunately, his study excludes a discussion of lesbian behavior. Even so, it represents a major step in the psychoanalytic profession's reassessment of its own attitudes and practices. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 301 pages - 978-0-452-01003-1
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