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Frommer, M.S. (2006). On the Subjectivity of Lustful States of Mind. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(6):639-664.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(6):639-664

On the Subjectivity of Lustful States of Mind

Martin Stephen Frommer, Ph.D.

This paper explores certain subjective dimensions of sexuality by proposing that erotic experience is predicated on an experience of otherness within the self. I suggest that the ability to lust where one loves is contingent on the capacity to bring this otherness of self forward in the context of attachment. The dampening or deadening of desire in long-term relationships may be understood, counterintuitively, not as a failure of the integration of lust with love but as a breakdown of the normative dissociative processes on which the emergence of lust depends. I theorize that the otherness of lustful states of mind emerges via the impact and dynamic interplay of social regulatory intrusions on identity formation. This understanding helps explain both the psychic tensions and potential sources of breakdown present in combining lust with love.


I found that if I allowed these various fantasies to rove uncensored, they would uncover parts of myself that were otherwise entirely hidden. I became particularly interested in the fraction of time that preceded the moment of orgasmic inevitability. What thought, what dynamic, what image would cause that final, magical, loss of control? That was the pivotal moment that seemed to join consciousness to the divine … and more often than not, I found this lofty pathway to be inspired by completely slutty activities. … This meeting of the galaxies in the gutter fascinates me still.

Toni Bentley (2004), The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir

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