Freud in America Part 4: Freud and American Women

About Sigmund Freud's trip to America, his feelings about the women there and the American way of marriage.

Dr. Freud Visits America

By Irving Wallace

Many members of the audience wanted to hear more from Freud about sex. One lady made this desire known. Jones translated her request into German, and then he relayed Freud's reply to the lady saying that, as to sex, Freud "is not to be driven to the subject any more than away from it."

Yet, Freud did discuss sex, and when the dean of the University of Toronto read the lectures, he announced: "An ordinary reader would gather that Freud advocates free love, removal of all restraints, and a relapse into savagery."

Also, Freud's remarks on and off the platform provoked misunderstandings that generated controversy. Among other things, Freud was accused of advocating parricide, and of predicting that Negroes would eventually control the U.S. The parricide rumor grew out of a joke. President Hall had asked Freud's advice on what could be done for a sick male friend whose problem was an overly strict father, and Freud had replied, "Why, kill his father." The prediction about Negroes dominating the U.S. had also been a joke. Freud had told his follower Marie Bonaparte that in a few thousand years the white race might be extinct, to be replaced by the black race, and then he added lightly, "America is already threatened by the black race. And it serves her right. A country without even wild strawberries!"

It was at Clark University, one morning during breakfast, that Freud confided to Jung how much he was disconcerted by American women, admitting they gave him erotic dreams. "I haven't been able to sleep since I came to America," said Freud. "I continue to dream of prostitutes."

"Well, why don't you do something about it?" asked Jung.

Freud shrank back in horror. "But I'm a married man!" he exclaimed.

During his time in the U.S., Freud got a bad impression of American women and American sexual life. Years later he spoke his mind to an American caller: "You have a real rule of women in America. Your young men go to college with girls fall in love and marry at an age when girls are usually much more mature then the men. They lead the men around by the nose, make fools of them, and the result is matriarchy. That is why marriage is so unsuccessful in America--that is why your divorce rate is so high. Your average American man approaches marriage without any experience at all. You wouldn't expect a person to step up to an orchestra and play 1st fiddle without some training. . . . In Europe, things are different. Men take the lead. That is as it should be. . . . [Equality in marriage] is a practical impossibility. There must be inequality, and the superiority of the man is the lesser of 2 evils." Freud made only one favorable observation about the American woman: "She hasn't got the European woman's constant fear of seduction."

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