ABSTRACT

FREUD'S MAIN ACCOUNT of female homosexuality is to be found in his one explicit case history on the subject, 'The Psychogenesis of a Case of Female Homosexuality', written in 1920, 1 where the framework he set out in the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) 2 for understanding homosexuality is developed and modified. Subsequent remarks on the subject occur in his later writings on female sexuality and femininity. Compared to his writing on male homosexuality, the extent of Freud's concern with female homosexuality is not great, and Freud himself, at the beginning of 'Psychogenesis', notes this relative neglect by psychoanalysts. He maintains, however, that it is no less common as a phenomenon. Such neglect is also evident in how relatively little 'Psychogenesis' has been discussed compared to Freud's other case histories, of which it is the sixth and last. The secondary literature is sparse. 3 This marginalisation is further reflected in the fact that Freud did not give the patient concerned a name, unlike the patients in his other histories, who are all given pseudonyms. Instead he refers to her as 'the girl'; later writers call her 'the female homosexual'. This omission is striking: not to name someone is to refuse them full subjecthood. It has the effect of creating distance, impersonality and reification, and is perhaps the first indication of the widespread difficulty psychoanalysts have had in approaching this subject.