Understanding Freud’s conflicted view of the object-relatedness of sexuality 1 and its implications for contemporary psychoanalysis
This chapter is an examination of Freud's thinking on the role of object in his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. It shows that Freud's reflections on the nature of sexuality contain some of his most direct and forceful statements on the role of the object, but interestingly these statements go both ways. They emphasize both (a) the individual's primary unrelatedness, his sexual instincts being basically independent of object relations, and (b) the fact that the individual and his sexuality are fundamentally object-related from the start. Moreover, Freud presents these seemingly opposing positions in a complex, self-contradictory way and without making any effort to reconcile them. The limited and late role that Freud attributes to the object stands in sharp contrast to another view that Freud strongly puts forth on this matter and in the very same text, namely, the view that the object is inherent to the individual and his sexuality.