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Phillips, S.H. (2002). The Overstimulation of Everyday Life: II. Male Homosexuality, Countertransference, and Psychoanalytic Treatment. Ann. Psychoanal., 30:131-145.

(2002). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 30:131-145

IV. The Meaning of Sexualization in Clinical Psychoanalysis

The Overstimulation of Everyday Life: II. Male Homosexuality, Countertransference, and Psychoanalytic Treatment

Sidney H. Phillips, M.D.

In Part I, I asserted that everyday life within Western, heterosexual culture is overstimulating for the homosexual boy. Certain common child-rearing practices and regular school activities—all based on implicit heterosexual norms—surround the homosexually inclined boy in an atmosphere of sexual overstimulation that affects his development, symptom formation, and adult sexual adaptation. I only discovered this when I began to look more carefully at the adolescent longing of some homosexual boys for heterosexual boys so frequently reported in the analyses and psychotherapies of gay men. I explored the common finding in psychoanalytic work with my adult gay male patients that they described one or more experiences during midadolescence of falling in love with and pining away for heterosexual adolescent boys.

I acknowledged in Part I somewhat of a paradox in referring to sexual overstimulation as being “everyday.” The central case presentation in Part I of a gay man who grew up from early childhood into adolescence sharing a family bed with his younger brother is hardly a universal or “everyday” experience. One might even call it the sexual overstimulation of overcrowded family life. Yet on the other hand, the analytic literature is so accustomed to associating sexual overstimulation with the extreme cases of brutal molestation that Shengold (1967) described in his classic paper on rat people that the case in Part I, which did not involve any molestation, seemed quotidian by comparison. There was another way in which the sexual overstimulation of everyday life seemed an apt description of my subject matter.

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