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Masculine Aspirations, Pseudohomosexual Anxiety, and Homosexuality Part I
Posted on 02-7-2012

The conflict engendered by masculine aspirations in neurotic women is analogous to the pseudohomosexual conflict in men, since both stern from the motivations of dependency and power. In the man, however, the conflict terminates in an anxiety about being homosexual, while in the woman it usually does not. The reasons for this difference require elucidation. In the man, the wish for dependency, as well as a defeat in a power struggle, may lead to a feminine identification, which may then through symbolic extension be equated with homosexuality. The end result of this symbolic equation is a pseudohomosexual anxiety. This is an anxiety that is derived from the motivations of dependency and power, but is misinterpreted by the patient as homosexual in its intent. In the woman, the same motivations, as I have shown in this chapter, may lead to the desire to be a man, and hence to a masculine identification, but only rarely do they create an anxiety about being homosexual.

How does it happen that feminine identification in the male almost always generates a pseudohomosexual anxiety, whereas masculine identification in the female almost always fails to do so? The answer is not difficult to find. It lies in the social institutions previously described that assign a positive value to masculinity and a negative value to femininity. These judgments make it much harder for a man to accept a homosexual label than for a woman to do so, because in the man it connotes femininity, which has a low status value, while in the woman it connotes masculinity, which has a high status value. Thus, for status reasons, the male rejects his feminine identification and becomes anxious about the homosexuality it symbolizes; the female, on the other hand, readily accepts her masculine identification, since she aspires to be a man, and, therefore, has little reason to be anxious about the homosexuality that is symbolically associated with it. (see MASCULINE ASPIRATIONS, PSEUDOHOMOSEXUAL ANXIETY, AND HOMOSEXUALITY PART II)

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