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Whitehead, C.C. (2007). The Annual of Psychoanalysis, Vol. XXX: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and the Homosexualities, Edited by Jerome A. Winer, Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 2002, pp. 313, $49.95.. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 35(2):340-344.

(2007). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 35(2):340-344

The Annual of Psychoanalysis, Vol. XXX: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and the Homosexualities, Edited by Jerome A. Winer, Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 2002, pp. 313, $49.95.

Review by:
Clay C. Whitehead, M.D.

Edited by:
César A. Alfonso, M.D.

The first important assertion of this extremely interesting book on homosexuality is that the dynamics of desire remain an enigma. This assertion applies not only to the foundation of heterosexuality, but also to same gender sexual orientation. This important recognition contrasts sharply with the vast literature of highly authoritative commentary and theorizing in the psychoanalytic literature particularly in the post-World War II era. During that so-called “classical” period, judgmental and critical attitudes were frequently published concerning homosexuality. In recent years, these positions have been elaborated and appropriated by the Religious Right. In contrast, as this volume so beautifully illustrates, enormous gains have been made in the psychoanalytic view and treatment of the homosexualities.

Freud was careful to avoid a moral stance concerning same gender desire, and in his Three Essays (1905) used the term inversion, in contrast to what he termed perversions, which involve a deflection from persons to things or parts. Despite this caution, in the post World War II period, it was believed that a goal of treatment (and of psychoanalytic training) must be the adoption of heterosexuality. However, in the last decades of the 20th century, these views have been transformed by the revision of psychoanalytic theory, the influence of feminism, and, until recently, a general increase in Western social tolerance. Thus, we recognize that the title of this book is not only about rethinking our ideas concerning homosexuality, but also our ideas about psychoanalysis. We will return to this point near the conclusion of this review.

The first large section of the book is devoted to four papers on the historical and cultural context of homosexuality.

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