Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life?

first publication date:  1956
original title:  Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life?
original language:  English
main subject:  homosexuality

Homosexuality: Disease or Way of Life? is a 1956 book by the psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler, in which the author argues that homosexuality is a curable illness. Bergler denies that homosexuality is caused by hormonal or other biological factors, the Oedipus complex, or having a dominant mother and a weak or absent father, instead attributing both male and female homosexuality to pre-Oedipal factors involving an unsolved masochistic conflict with the mother during the earliest period of infancy. According to Bergler, homosexuality in men reflects unconscious fear and hatred of women. Bergler argues that there are several different types of homosexuality, each with a distinct clinical profile. Bergler rejects the existence of bisexuality, maintaining that all supposed bisexuals are homosexuals, and criticizes the work of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. He characterizes homosexual men as sexually promiscuous, and argues that this promiscuity is a result of their unsatisfying sex lives and masochistic craving for danger. Bergler argues against immediately repealing laws against homosexuality, though he suggests that such laws could perhaps be repealed in the future if other measures against homosexuality proved effective. Bergler proposes the publicizing of his ideas as a measure against homosexuality. Unlike previous works by authors who had argued that homosexuality is a disease, the book provoked denunciation. It was criticized in gay publications such as the Mattachine Review and The Ladder, and its hostile reception was partly due to awareness that it could be used by opponents of gay rights. Bergler's critics argued that he had based his conclusions on an unrepresentative sample of homosexuals. The criticism influenced the reception of later works such as Bieber and colleagues's Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study of Male Homosexuals (1962). The book has also been criticized for the excessive and intemperate language Bergler used in discussing homosexuality. Bergler's views about homosexuality have been compared to those of analysts such as Melanie Klein, Irving Bieber, and Charles W. Socarides, and he has been seen as expressing the psychoanalytic consensus about gay people current in the 1950s. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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