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foreground the importance of the infantile factor for sexuality.
THE SEXUAL LATENCY PERIOD OF CHILDHOOD AND ITS INTERRUPTIONS
The extraordinary frequent discoveries of apparently abnormal and
exceptional sexual manifestations in childhood, as well as the
discovery of infantile reminiscences in neurotics, which were hitherto
unconscious, allow us to sketch the following picture of the sexual
behavior of childhood.
It seems certain that the newborn child brings with it the germs of
sexual feelings which continue to develop for some time and then succumb
to a progressive suppression, which is in turn broken through by the
proper advances of the sexual development and which can be checked by
individual idiosyncrasies. Nothing is known concerning the laws and
periodicity of this oscillating course of development. It seems,
however, that the sexual life of the child mostly manifests itself in
the third or fourth year in some form accessible to observation.
*The Sexual Inhibition.*--It is during this period of total or at least
partial latency that the psychic forces develop which later act as
inhibitions on the sexual life, and narrow its direction like dams.
These psychic forces are loathing, shame, and moral and esthetic ideal
demands. We may gain the impression that the erection of these dams in
the civilized child is the work of education; and surely education
contributes much to it. In reality, however, this development is
organically determined and can occasionally be produced without the help
of education. Indeed education remains properly within its assigned
realm only if it strictly follows the path of the organic determinant
and impresses it somewhat cleaner and deeper.
*Reaction Formation and Sublimation.*--What are the means that
accomplish these very important constructions so significant for the
later personal culture and normality? They are probably brought about at
the cost of the infantile sexuality itself, the influx of which has not
stopped even in this latency period--the energy of which indeed has been
turned away either wholly or partially from sexual utilization and
conducted to other aims. The historians of civilization seem to be
unanimous in the opinion that such deviation of sexual motive powers
from sexual aims to new aims, a process which merits the name of
_sublimation_, has furnished powerful components for all cultural
accomplishments. We will therefore add that the same process acts in the
development of every individual, and that it begins to act in the sexual
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