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Freud was just plain wrong about sex
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Freud was just plain wrong about the sexual underpinnings of neurosis. I don't know why it took me so long to realize exactly how wrong. Today, sitting on my terrace in Rome reading Lou Breger's biography of Freud, I finally got it.

What is strange is that I wrote a memoir ten years ago writing ruefully about my various analysts giving me sexual interpretations. The most ill advised came from the analyst I had as a young teenager who kept trying to get me to talk about masturbation when what I was suffering from was the loss of my father and my mother's breakdown. I related that but somehow failed to fully realize that it wasn't just the quirky emphasis of my particular analyst, it was doctrine being imposed on me the way Freud tried to impose it on Emma and Dora and his own daughter. I hadn't quite realized the extent to which Freud was blind to other possibilities. For instance during WW1, he insisted that the shell shocked soldiers had underlying sexual problems even though Rivers and others who worked with them said they didn't, said that they were traumatized by actual events, combat and fear of death! How did I miss this? I can feel a paradigm shift going on in my head, rather like the slow grinding of tectonic plates. Wow!

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Right on Brenda

I love Freud as a story teller and he is great to engage with but he misses opening you could drive a truck through. When I teach the RAT MAN I always linger on the fact that the death of the Rat Man's sister is not worth more than a stray comment.

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Freud was wrong about sex

Right on Matthew, Do you know Lou Breger's biography?It seems very sensible about the importance of actual trauma..

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Freud's Last Session


Your blog will be either devastating news or "fighting words" for all those academics in English whose Phd theses were premised on Freudian interpretations of literature. May I ask what key revelations in Breger's biography converted you? Were other influences at work as well in changing your views?

With your interests, have you read or perchance seen a performance of Mark St. Germain's recent play FREUD'S LAST SESSION? I understand it's still in performance off Broadway, meaning it must have generated a considerable following to have had such a long run. I was able to obtain and read the script, courtesy of the inter-library loan program.

As you may know, the play consists entirely of a dialogue between the dying Freud and C.S. Lewis in his early years, exploring their conflicting views on life, sex, religion (God) and so on. With your skepticism /rejection of Freud's views on sex, C.S. Lewis's differences/ verbal clashes with Freud in this play would undoubtedly make this play
interesting reading/viewing for you.