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THE TRANSFORMATION OF PUBERTY
With the beginning of puberty the changes set in which transform the
infantile sexual life into its definite normal form. Hitherto the sexual
impulse has been preponderantly autoerotic; it now finds the sexual
object. Thus far it has manifested itself in single impulses and in
erogenous zones seeking a certain pleasure as a single sexual aim. A new
sexual aim now appears for the production of which all partial impulses
cooeperate, while the erogenous zones subordinate themselves to the
primacy of the genital zone. As the new sexual aim assigns very
different functions to the two sexes their sexual developments now part
company. The sexual development of the man is more consistent and easier
to understand, while in the woman there even appears a form of
regression. The normality of the sexual life is guaranteed only by the
exact concurrence of the two streams directed to the sexual object and
sexual aim. It is like the piercing of a tunnel from opposite sides.
The new sexual aim in the man consists in the discharging of the sexual
products; it is not contradictory to the former sexual aim, that of
obtaining pleasure; on the contrary, the highest amount of pleasure is
connected with this final act in the sexual process. The sexual impulse
now enters into the service of the function of propagation; it becomes,
so to say, altruistic. If this transformation is to succeed its process
must be adjusted to the original dispositions and all the peculiarities
of the impulses.
Just as on every other occasion where new connections and compositions
are to be formed in complicated mechanisms, here, too, there is a
possibility for morbid disturbance if the new order of things does not
get itself established. All morbid disturbances of the sexual life may
justly be considered as inhibitions of development.
THE PRIMACY OF THE GENITAL ZONES AND THE FORE-PLEASURE
From the course of development as described we can clearly see the issue
and the end aim. The intermediary transitions are still quite obscure
and many a riddle will have to be solved in them.
The most striking process of puberty has been selected as its most
characteristic; it is the manifest growth of the external genitals which
have shown a relative inhibition of growth during the latency period of
childhood. Simultaneously the inner genitals develop to such an extent
as to be able to furnish sexual products or to receive them for the
purpose of forming a new living being. A most complicated apparatus is
thus formed which waits to be claimed.
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