Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Synopsis

According to the popular imagination, psychoanalysis is about men wanting to sleep with their mothers and women wanting penises. Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives tells a different story about what has happened to sex in psychoanalysis over the past century.In the book, a range of distinguished contributors challenge the view that sexuality is nothing other than historically and culturally determined. Introducing the ideas of sexuality from the viewpoint of a number of theoretical schools, they then go on to offer contemporary psychoanalytic views of* Sexuality in childhood* Female and male sexuality (heterosexual and homosexual)* Sexual perversionsSexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives is a comprehensive introduction to the subject, covering its development over the last 100 years, and bringing it up to date for the 21st century. The book will make enlightening and essential reading for both professional and students involved in psychoanalyis, psychotherapy and counselling.

Excerpt

There is more to life than sex. Even so, life begins with sex and sexuality is integral to a person's identity. Sex comes to mind unbidden even when sex or babies are not - apparently - on the agenda. Sex is such a natural human preoccupation that it is most conspicuous in its absence. Whenever two people find themselves together they have to negotiate the hetero-erotic or the homo-erotic potential of their relationship in some way (Mann1997:55). Oneof themysteriesof human sexuality is its pivotal and pervasive influence in human psychology.

Another mystery is why many people feel sexually inhibited, when sex is a biological function that we might reasonably expect to come as naturally as any other. Since sex is something we all share and know about (even chaste minds recognise sexual puns), the anxieties that proverbially surround it beg explanation.

Freud addressed these questions. He believed that sexuality is ubiquitous because we are born with a sexual drive which, along with its counterpart the aggressive drive, is subject to formidable social restraints. Our basic drives are destined for relegation to the unconscious except in their most socially acceptable forms. Human sexuality is often concealed or indirectly expressed because unrestrained sexual and destructive inclinations threaten our social relationships, indeed civilisation as we know it. Understanding how sexual and destructive drives become integrated into conscious life and relationships (or disrupters from their sojourn in the unconscious) became Freud's work, developed by his psychoanalytic successors. In this introduction I place the ideas developed by the contributors to this book into theoretical and historical context. I go on to examine some of the recurring debates in the literature: What are the limits to sexuality? Is the concept of sexual drive relevant today? Whatever happened to erotic transference? Why is sex so difficult? . . .

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