Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

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Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory on Instincts: Motivation, Personality and Development

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Budd notes that the explicit contrast group in Britain is France, and the history of these two nations provides as many fantasized differences as actual ones. Analysts who place all their faith in mother-love are as capable of harming patients--by virtually adopting, rather than treating, them--as are sexually predatory clinicians. Budd acknowledges other extra-psychic contributions to theory--male reactions to female power, the debate about the proportionality of the body-mind split, even religious differences--when accounting for the emergence of such different traditions as Winnicott and Lacan.

She presents a more subtle interplay than this, however. She focuses not only on the anti-erotic consequences of maternalizing feminine desire which she attributes in part to the theorizing of women analysts such as Klein , but also on the overlooked envy that underlies efforts to make female sexuality about nurturance rather than lust.

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She includes some specific discussion of Benjamin, Irigaray, and Lacan. But his paper does not recite the familiar rules. Instead, Mendoza argues not only that the judgments still rampant in the field about what gay and lesbian object choice mean are not only homophobic but that the homophobia leads clinicians to miss the analytic point. The goal of mature sexuality is not achieved by choosing a partner of the opposite sex but by relating to a lover from the genital position--that is, as a whole object--rather than from the phallic, where the lover is seen as the means to the end of drive satisfaction.

This distinction may seem familiar, and Mendoza draws a matrix of connection between phallic, paranoid-schizoid, and perversion on one hand and genital, depressive, and polymorphy on the other.

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Not only are some heterosexuals fixated at the phallic stage, but also we rely too superficially on object-choice to diagnose homosexuality. Mendoza gives examples of how overt behavior and unconscious fantasy may row on different sides to navigate Oedipal waters. Analysts who have not themselves gained conscious access to this phantasy may be vulnerable to a similar phallic temptation to project what they fear in themselves onto gay and lesbian patients.

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Other chapters tread more familiar ground. Young is one of many other authors in this book who refer non-critically to evolutionary psychology to support this stance. Although there are numerous, well-reasoned arguments against evolutionary psychology as any more scientific than Freud, the search for some immutable bedrock continues in spite of concessions to the hermeneutic. Fausto-Sterling , an eminent biologist, has argued that the all-knowing biology is a myth, rare as the all-knowing analyst.

Colman, Celebrating the Phallus. Mendoza, Genital and Phallic Homosexuality. Harding, The Power of Sex. Psychoanalytic Perspectives is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to sexuality in psychoanalysis. In this book, a range of distinguished contributors challenge the view that sexuality is nothing other than historically and culturally determined, by covering the historical development of analytic thinking on sexuality, and examining the contemporary range of psychoanalytic theoretical perspectives and their effects on clinical practice.

Psychoanalytic Perspectives will make enlightening and essential reading for both professionals and students involved in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and counselling. Nielsen Book Data Publication date ISBN pbk.