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Schafer, R. (2002). On Male Nonnormative Sexuality and Perversion in Psychoanalytic Discourse. Ann. Psychoanal., 30:23-35.

(2002). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 30:23-35

On Male Nonnormative Sexuality and Perversion in Psychoanalytic Discourse

Roy Schafer, Ph.D.

For some time, well-established propositions and forms of argument in the humanities and social sciences have been undergoing critical reappraisal. Strong arguments have been advanced against much of this received wisdom, claiming that it is replete with ideological precommitments, cultural narrowness, ahistorical perspectives, inconclusiveness, and self-contradiction. Meanwhile, pluralistic and antifoundational arguments have been gaining in persuasiveness and acceptance.

In many instances feminists have been showing how pervasive prejudice against women, based on the kind of thinking that is now in serious question, has insinuated itself into the canon in each of these fields of study. As part of this project, they have shown that the traditional and universalized psychoanalytic conceptions of normal and pathological development are biased in favor of men in that, tacitly and sometimes openly, they endorse conventional ideas of masculinity and femininity. Thus, in this major area of human desire, conflict, and forms of human relatedness, psychoanalysts have not consistently lived up to their ideals of sustained curiosity and openmindedness. Instead, they have presented moral value judgments as facts of nature, objective findings, or inevitable assumptions and conclusions, as though all their prejudiced assertions have been based on sound reality testing, rational inference, and biological sophistication.

Phallocentrism in psychoanalysis has already been discussed at length from within psychoanalysis. I have made a few contributions to this literature (Schafer, 1974, 1978, 1992b, 1993, 2001). A comparable upsurge has been taking place in the area of gay and lesbian studies (Abelove, Barale, and Halperin, 1993; Dominici and Lesser, 1995).

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