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Sherman, E. (2002). “Dirty,” “Clean,” and In-Between—Rolling with Uncertainty in Homoerotic Countertransference: Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(4):687-691.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(4):687-691

“Dirty,” “Clean,” and In-Between—Rolling with Uncertainty in Homoerotic Countertransference: Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Eric Sherman, C.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Elise and Frommer Further “Roll out” my Ideas on Erotic countertransference by introducing important aspects of gender, development, transgression, and power dynamics between gay men. Their insights contribute rich new ways to consider my work with Kevin and add to the complexity that makes same-sex desire such a Janus-faced dilemma of danger and potential.

In addressing the transgressive nature of same-sex desire, both authors further explicate (and necessarily complicate) the sense of “badness,” “dirtiness,” excitement, and dread that pervade male homoerotic transference dynamics. The prevalence of both avoidance and dissociation—even the sense that sexual feelings have been “thrust” upon us—is further understood through this important dynamic. Elise's conceptualization of terror of the vulnerable, “vaginal” opening in men fits well with Frommer's ideas on the strutting of sexualized hypermasculinity to repudiate what is thought to be feminine. I was particularly interested in Elise's consideration of same-sex desire as a doubly transgressive action against the heterosexual, reproductive couple. It made me think about all the interconnected layers of shame, transgression, and taboo that have had a stranglehold on Kevin, including the terrible, literal playing out of “Lauis's curse” with Fred. In this case, the son was taken by the stepfather, “killing off” both the mother and the already (symbolically) dead father (longed for all the more as Kevin struggled with his sexuality without a strong male role model). Also transgressed was society's—and the patient's—sense of what is normal and acceptable.

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