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Bernstein, P.P. (2011). Masculinities: Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality: Twentieth Anniversary Edition. By Kenneth Lewes. New York: Jason Aronson, 1989/2009, 330 pp., $50.00.Sex Changes: Transformations in Society and Psychoanalysis. By Mark J. Blechner. New York: Routledge, 2009, 233 pp., $39.95.Heterosexual Masculinities: Contemporary Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory. Edited by Bruce Reis and Robert Grossmark. New York: Routledge, 288 pp., $90.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 59(5):1043-1063.
    

(2011). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 59(5):1043-1063

Book Essay

Masculinities: Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality: Twentieth Anniversary Edition. By Kenneth Lewes. New York: Jason Aronson, 1989/2009, 330 pp., $50.00.Sex Changes: Transformations in Society and Psychoanalysis. By Mark J. Blechner. New York: Routledge, 2009, 233 pp., $39.95.Heterosexual Masculinities: Contemporary Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory. Edited by Bruce Reis and Robert Grossmark. New York: Routledge, 288 pp., $90.00.

Review by:
Paula P. Bernstein

Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality: Twentieth Anniversary Edition by Kenneth Lewes gave me the opportunity to read this oft-cited classic for the first time. Lewes's scholarly review exposed the homophobic bias that permeated psychoanalytic writings on homosexuality. Two books, newly published in 2009, speak to significant changes in psychoanalytic ideas about male homosexuality since Lewes first spoke out. Mark Blechner's Sex Changes tells of a shift in the attitudes of society and psychoanalysis toward homosexuality from the perspective of a gay psychoanalyst who lived through the changes. The papers collected by Bruce Reis and Robert Grossmark in Heterosexual Masculinities show how feminist and queer theory have impacted contemporary views of the psychology of heterosexual men, recalibrating the discourse in the psychoanalytic literature about the “feminine” aspects of man's psyche.

Lewes's review—starting with Freud and ending in 1982—is devastating to read, because of the problems it reveals about the integrity of the psychoanalytic method itself. In his preface to this new edition, Donald Moss writes of this “life/death embrace” between psychoanalysis and male homosexuality: “The two seem bound no less intensively than, say, the police and black people are bound in every urban American center” (p. xix). And yet Lewes still holds out the hope that genuine psychoanalytic inquiry can be fruitful and helpful.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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