The Problem of Sexual Weakness

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According to Freud (1926), the normal performance of the sexual function can only come about as the result of a very complicated process and disturbances may appear at any point in it. In men, the various stages at which inhibition occurs are shown by: a turning away of the libido a the very beginning of the process (psychic unpleasure); an absence of the physical preparation for it (lack of erection); an abridgement of the sexual act (ejaculation praecox), an occurrence which might equally will be regarded as a symptom; an arrest of the act before it has reached its natural conclusion (absence of ejaculation); or a non-appearance of the physical outcome (lack of a feeling of pleasure in orgasm). The commonest sex problems which we have come across are 1. Various degrees of impotency, extending from complete failure to obtain an erection with no interest in coitus, a partial or inadequate erection with limited interest, periodic failure of erection coupled with limited libido, ability to establish erection but lack of sexual gratification with ejaculation in coitus. 2. Premature ejaculation and loss of semen in the urine. For the successful completion of the sexual act there is needed a certain drive (libido), an attractive partner, a situation that provides freedom from distraction and anxiety. These allow in turn erection, penile insertion and the muscular activity that provides penile friction and stimulation to mount to eventual ejaculation accompanied by a distinctive pleasure and climatic orgasm (Noyes, 1963). Importance may follow when there is either lack of attraction to the partner, or when the coital environment is threatening or distracting. Much more common however, are those often unconscious and conflictual loves, due either to persisting infantile attachments to the mother, sister or some other important succouring woman in early life or to instances of latent homosexual attachments. Guilt, anxiety or shame may lead to impotency in which the sufferer fears disapproval by parents or society, or impotence may result when he has unconscious wishes to damage the partner or considers exposure of his body or his sexual performance as subject to ridicule (Benedek, 1959; Gutheil, 1959).

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In the field of psychiatry, where there is a relative dearth of "generally accepted facts" and there are few procedures which are "standard," a textbook by a single author, or one written from a single point of view, would be regarded as incomplete by most, and as totally inadequate by many. A Handbuch, therefore, can fill a peculiar need in psychiatry, and this one does so quite adequately. The authors who have contributed to it are outstanding in American psychiatry. The contents cover the whole range of psychiatry: history; theoretical formulations; methods of examination and interview; clinical, etiological, and therapeutic considerations of the psychoneuroses; the functional psychoses; psychopathic conditions; deviations; addictions; and organic conditions. There are essays on various aspects of "psychosomatic medicine," and on the psychiatric conditions peculiar to childhood and adolescence. There are extensive descriptions of the various psychotherapies, psychoanalytic therapies, and the physical therapies used in psychiatry.
The first four chapters, devoted to a presentation of the fundamental concepts essential to an understanding of the problems of psychiatry, discuss the development of the mind and the levels of behavior attained, the question of psychic energy and the dynamics of behavior, particularly as expressed in emotions, instincts, and wishes, the role of conscious and unconscious processes and the problems of mental mechanisms and their motivations. Chapter 5 surveys the field of causation, presenting both physiogenic and psychogenic views regarding the nature and cause of mental disease. The next two chapters discuss symptomatology and the problems of psychobiological constitution and reaction types. Chapter 8 provides a guide for history-taking, an outline for mental examination, and the official classification of mental diseases. The remaining twenty chapters are devoted to a discussion as to causes, symptoms, variations, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of the various psychoses listed in the official classification, with illustrative case reports. A bibliography is appended to each chapter and the book is indexed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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