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Levine, H.B. (1998). The Many Faces of Eros. A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Human Sexuality. By Joyce McDougall. New York/London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995. 257 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):320-323.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):320-323

The Many Faces of Eros. A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Human Sexuality. By Joyce McDougall. New York/London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1995. 257 pp.

Review by:
Howard B. Levine

In this book, Joyce McDougall continues her exploration of the archaic conflicts that lie at the core of gender identity, sexual object choice, and human subjectivity. She begins with the provocative statement, “Human sexuality is inherently traumatic” (p. ix), and ends with the conclusion that the fundamental core value of psychoanalysis consists in helping our patients to solidify and ensure their sense of psychic survival (p. 244). In between, in consummate and far-reaching psychoanalytic fashion, she takes her readers through an exploration of the infantile roots of female sexuality (“Femininity and Sexuality”), the relationship between creativity, sexuality, and trauma (“Sexuality and Creativity”), psychosomatic disease (“Sex and the Soma”), sexual deviations, perversions, and addictions (“Deviations of Desire”), and an examination of the value system of psychoanalysis (“Psychoanalysis on the Couch”).

As in her previous works, McDougall's subject continues to be the elaboration of archaic conflicts, infantile narcissistic and instinctual vicissitudes, and the opportunities and difficulties for development to which they give rise.

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