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Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

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Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality was a 1905 work by Sigmund Freud which advanced his theory of sexuality, in particular its relation to childhood. In short, Freud argued that "perversion" was present even among the healthy, and that the path towards a mature and normal sexual attitude began not at puberty but at early childhood (see psychosexual development). Looking at children, Freud claimed to find a number of practices which looked innocuous but were really forms of sexual activity (thumb sucking was a primary example, the implications being fairly obvious). Freud also sought to link his theory of the unconscious put forward in The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) and his work on hysteria by means of positing sexuality as the driving force of both neuroses (through repression) and perversion. It also included the concepts of penis envy, castration anxiety, and the yet-unnamed Oedipal conflict.

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  • Freud, Sigmund 1996 Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie. Fischer: Frankfurt am Main. Reprint of the 1905 editionTemplate:EnW

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