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March 1967

Homosexuality: A Search for the Ego-Ideal

Author Affiliations

Syracuse, NY
From the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(3):355-358. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730210095014

HOMOSEXUAL behavior has fascinated theorists and vexed clinicians from Freud's time to the present. Hypotheses about the cause (or causes) of such behavior have ranged widely, from organic-genetic theories to the intrapsychic or interpersonal formulations proposed by psychosocially oriented therapists. These latter formulations, when applied to male homosexuality, have included such factors as unresolved oedipal problems, castration anxiety, fear of heterosexuality, fear of women, identification with the female, role confusion, and the problem of dependency.1,2

There has been an increasing and presumably more sophisticated tendency to ascribe homosexual behavior to any one, or a combination, of these factors, rather than to insist upon a unitary hypothesis, eg, that all homosexual behavior is motivated by castration anxiety, or that all such behavior is an expression of psychic masochism. In this sense, homosexual behavior may be seen as a final common pathway chosen

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