Footnote 5 Origins of Homosexuality (p.37)

 

*In his Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis, O. Fenichel asserts that the probability of a homosexual orientation increases the more the male child identifies with his mother. This situation results especially when the maternal figure is more compelling than that of the father, or when the father is altogether absent from the family setting, as in cases of death or divorce, or whenever the figure of the father, if in fact present, is deemed repellent because of some serious defect, such as alcoholism, excessive strictness or extreme violence of character. The child has need of an adult hero to serve as a model for conduct: through identification, the child will go on to adopt characteristic parental traits of conduct, and even though, to a certain extent, he rebels against obeying their demands, unconsciously he will incorporate the habits and even the quirks of his progenitors, perpetuating the cultural traits of the society in which he lives. Once having identified with his father, Fenichel continues, the boy takes on a masculine view of the world, and in Occidental society that view includes a strong component of aggressivity a vestige of his formerly indisputable condition of master -which helps the male child impose his new presence. On the other hand, the boy who is already adopting the maternal figure as a model and fails to encounter sufficiently early some masculine figure-to check his fascination for the maternal-will be socially ostracized because of his feminine traits, inasmuch as he fails to display the appropriate toughness of the normal male child.

 

With respect to the same matter, Freud states in On the Transformation of Instincts that within the male homosexual, the most complete masculine attitude can at times be combined with a total sexual inversion-understanding "masculine attitude" to include such traits as bravery, honor, and the spirit of trial and adventure. But in his later work, On Narcissism: an Introduction, he elaborates a theory according to which the male homosexual would begin with a temporary maternal fixation, only to finally identify himself as a woman. If the object of his desire should happen to be a young boy, this is because his mother loved him, as a boy himself. Or because he would actually have wanted his mother to love him in the same way. In other words, the object of his desire is his own image. For Freud, then, the myths of Narcissus and Oedipus are both components of the original conflict which lies at the core of homosexuality. But of all of Freud's observations concerning homosexuality, this one has been most subject to attack, the principal objection being that homosexuals whose identification is deeply feminine seem to feel attracted to very masculine types, or to males of a much older age. Again in the latter work, Freud talks about the development of erotic feelings and about still other aspects of the genesis of homosexuality. He asserts, for instance, that libido in babies is of a rather diffuse character, and has to pass through several stages until finally achieving the education of its impulse and managing to have it devolve upon a person of the opposite sex with whom pleasure can be attained through genital union. The first stage is an oral one, in which pleasure is derived solely from mouth contacts, such as suction. Later on comes the anal stage, in which the child derives his satisfaction from his own intestinal movements. The last and definitive phase is the genital. Freud considers it the only mature form of sexuality, an assertion which years later would be directly attacked by Marcuse.

 

The same Freud amplifies his views in Character and Anal Eroticism, where he elaborates the following theory: certain abnormal types of personality, whose predominant traits are avarice and an obsession with orderliness, may be influenced by repressed anal desires. The pleasure which they derive from the accumulation of goods can arise from the unconscious nostalgia for the pleasure they felt when younger in retaining-a common activity among children-their feces. On the other hand, an obsession for order and cleanliness would have to be a compensation for the guilt which they have felt on account of their impulse to play with feces. As for the role which anal fixation may play in the development of homosexuality, Freud asserts that besides the influences already enumerated-Oedipus, Narcissus--one must take into account the fact that all of those impediments tend to interrupt the development of the child, by bringing about affective inhibitions which cause fixation in an anal phase, without the possibility of acceding to the final phase, which is to say, the genital. To this assertion West responds that homosexuals, upon feeling themselves denied an avenue leading to normal genital relations, are forced to experiment with extra-genital erogenous zones, and in sodomy they encounter - after progressive adjustment-a type of mechanically direct but not exclusive form of gratification. West adds that the male who practices sodomy is not necessarily fixated in the anal phase, just as the heterosexual who kisses his mate is not necessarily fixated in an oral phase. Finally, he points out that sodomy is not an exclusively

homosexual phenomenon, since heterosexual couples also practice the same behavior, while individuals with an "anal character" (which is to say, avaricious, obsessed with cleanliness and order, etc.) do not necessarily feel inclined toward homosexuality.