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Escosteguy Carneiro, M.I. (2008). Three Boys and Their Stories: Atypical Eating and Primitive Relations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(6):1145-1163.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(6):1145-1163

Three Boys and Their Stories: Atypical Eating and Primitive Relations

Maria Inês Neuenschwander Escosteguy Carneiro

Eating disorders of whatever category, especially the most severe ones such as anorexia or bulimia, are often considered typical of the female sex. While this is correct concerning these two disorders, I suggest that there are other eating disorders that are more frequent among boys, especially the ones concerning atypical relations to food, notwithstanding the evidence that the already very well-known syndromes of bulimia and anorexia are also gaining ground among males. However, similar, unspecified eating disorders do not seem to occur so often among girls. Clinical data from my private practice should be taken for granted considering these matters, since I do not yet have statistical data to back up my thesis. In examples from three clinical cases involving boys and one female vignette, I shall attempt to establish a relation between eating disorders and primitive relations with men and women. This relation goes well beyond the oft-cited ‘contemporary’ causes of eating disorders. In addition, I shall situate these differences among symptoms of both sexes and relate them to impasses in different stages of emotional development, as well as to the extent to which girls' identification with their mother's sex can influence their acquisition of eating disorders.

(Final version accepted 16 September 2008)

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