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Stein, R. (1998). Review of the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexuality: Chaired by Homer Curtis, Philadelphia. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:995-998.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:995-998

Review of the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexuality: Chaired by Homer Curtis, Philadelphia

Review by:
Ruth Stein

In the theme of the present Congress, ‘Psychoanalysis and sexuality’, ‘sexuality’ has been taken out of ‘psychoanalysis’ and juxtaposed to it with an ‘and’. Could the wording of the Congress theme reflect a conscious or unconscious decision to take sexuality outside of psychoanalysis in order to reexamine it in the wake of sexuality's changing place both within psychoanalysis and outside of it? Or have we analysts given up sexuality, being unable to find space either for the idea that sexuality is not fundamental in all cases, or for the precious psychoanalytic insights about the power and dynamic contradictoriness of psychosexuality?

These major questions seemed to reverberate in the foreground and background of the whole Congress, as well as in its first plenary session. In Spruiell's and Green's, as well as in Curtis's statements, it was asked whether the hallmark of psychoanalysis was still sexuality, when we knew that both object relations, intersubjective and self theories postulated a different crux from sexuality and that ‘non-neurotic’ (‘difficult’) cases pointed to factors other than sexual conflicts regarding what had gone wrong and what had to be cured.

The complexity of the implied attitudes mentioned above found prompt expression in Homer Curtis's address, which mentioned highly charged reactions to the Congress theme. Curtis mentioned the embarrassment of analysts in relating to sexual phenomena in clinical work and in case discussions.

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