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Examination of the Sexuality of Anna Freud


This research examines the life of Anna Freud with a view toward assessing the sexuality of Sigmund Freud's youngest child. Interest in the question of Anna Freud's sexuality derives from descriptions of the woman as being distant and sexually repressed (Heller, 1992, pp. 48-74), the fact that she never married or developed a physically intimate relationship with a man (Young-Bruehl, 1988, p. 63), and her long and close relationship with Dorothy Burlingham, of which Anna Freud herself was concerned that could be misconstrued as being homosexual in character (Young-Bruehl, 1988, p. 196).

The focus of this examination of the sexuality of Anna Freud is on the development of a line of thinking that will indicate that she was homosexually inclined, asexual, or ascetic. To remove any element of mystery from this examination, it should be noted that, in so far as any living person knows, Anna Freud throughout her life had no physical sexual relationship with any other person--male or female, remaining virginal (Young-Bruehl, 1988, p. 137). Thus, the goal of this examination is not to establish that Anna Freud did or did not have a physical sexual relationship with another person, or if she did have such a relationship to establish the character of that relationship. Rather, as it is generally accepted that Anna Freud never throughout her life had a physical sexual relationship with another person, the goal of this examination is to identify the personality orientation that explains this outcome.

Assessment Alternatives and Criteria

Because Anna Freud was chaste throughout her life, it could be inferred that she, indeed, was asexual in that she did not engage in sexual relationship with other persons. Such an inference, however, would represent a quite shallow analysis of a complex individual and a complex subject. Asexuality is not a recognized psychological behavior; however, an ...

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Examination of the Sexuality of Anna Freud. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:11, June 02, 2020, from