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Struck, J.M. Buirski, P. (2019). Self-Regulation and Compulsive Sexual Behavior. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 14(2):205-219.

(2019). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 14(2):205-219

Self-Regulation and Compulsive Sexual Behavior

Jennifer M. Struck, Psy.D. and Peter Buirski, Ph.D, ABPP

Using the critical lens of the Intersubjective Systems perspective, this article focuses on making sense of compulsive sexual behavior. From this perspective, the concretization of sexuality provides an antidote to the unbearable affects being warded off. The sexual addiction framework is reconsidered, and compulsive sexual behavior is reconceptualized as a form of emotional concretization born of developmental trauma. Using clinical material from the treatment of Steven, the phenomenological contexts and underlying dynamics from which his sexualized pattern of behavior derives are illuminated. This article highlights how, through pathological accommodation, Steven adopted from his father the very heteronormative, patriarchal values and oppressive realities that led to his deep sense of shame and humiliation. His unsuccessful quest to overcome his organization of experience—that he was fatally flawed, unmanly, and undesirable—resulted in his compulsively playing out misogynistic hypermasculine tropes that became transformed only upon the development of a new understanding of his developmental history and an attuned relationship in the therapy.

[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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