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McNamara, S. (2013). Gay Male Desires and Sexuality in the Twenty-First Century: How I Listen. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 61(2):341-361.

(2013). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 61(2):341-361

Panel Report

Gay Male Desires and Sexuality in the Twenty-First Century: How I Listen

Susan McNamara

In opening the panel, Gary Grossman reminded the audience that increased awareness of biases about gender and sexual variance in our culture and profession, and greater understanding of countertrans-ferential anxieties and enactments, allow psychoanalysts to apply our unique skills and insights in understanding the emotional and psychological difficulties for which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans patients seek our help.

The panel deliberately focuses on the experiences of psychoanalysts treating gay men in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Time constraints do not allow addressing the experience of treating lesbian, bisexual, or trans individuals. None of these broad categories of gender and sexuality represent single, unified populations; there are unique differences in the development, emergence, and experience of gender and sexuality. We appreciate the existence and importance of infantile sexuality, but do not yet understand the development of individual adult sexuality and object choice. Efforts to understand the experiences of men who identify as gay may require recognition of a gay (or proto-gay) childhood, as Ken Corbett emphasized in his 1996 paper “Homosexual Boyhood: Notes on Girlyboys.” When we cannot identify which children will grow up to be gay, bisexual, or heterosexual, or how a child will uniquely experience variation and fluidity in sexual desires, we have listened to the recollections of the childhoods of adolescent and adult gay men to generate narratives of their early life experiences.

[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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