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Hegener, W. (2009). Seduction and Desire: The Psychoanalytic Sexual Theory After Freud by Ilka Quindeau Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 2008; 320 pp; €34. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(6):1467-1470.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(6):1467-1470

Seduction and Desire: The Psychoanalytic Sexual Theory After Freud by Ilka Quindeau Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 2008; 320 pp; €34

Review by:
Wolfgang Hegener

The Frankfurt psychoanalyst Ilka Quindeau attempts in her new book to provide a kind of inventory and reformulation of the psychoanalytic sexuality and gender theory ‘after Freud’. The starting point of her wide-ranging considerations is the currently observable transformation of the sexual, which the sexologist Volkmar Sigusch has aptly termed the ‘neo-sexual revolution’ (following, according to Sigusch, the two sexual revolutions preceding it in the 1910s and the 1960s). Its three determining features, according to the author, again referring to Sigusch, are (1) Dissociation of the sexual sphere, (2) Dispersion of the sexual fragments, and, finally, (3) Diversification of the forms of relationship. The phenomena of the first feature include above all the decoupling of reproduction and sexual pleasure, the arguably related growing loss of the significance of gender difference, as well as the separation of spheres of sexual experience and physical reactions (keywords here are, for example, Viagra and ‘cybersex’). The dispersion of the sexual, the second dimension, includes the ‘scattering of sexual particles’, i.e. the specialization of subcultures and preferences, which are now being widely marketed. This has led to an immense shifting of the borders between private and public as well as between normality and pathology. Third and finally, the diversification of sexual life includes primarily the changes which arise from the devaluation and break-up of traditional forms of relationship and living.

[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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