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Notman, M.T. (2002). Changes in Sexual Orientation and Object Choice in Midlife in Women. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(2):182-195.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(2):182-195

Changes in Sexual Orientation and Object Choice in Midlife in Women

Malkah T. Notman, M.D.

Changes in sexual orientation or object choice in midlife can represent many different dynamics. Understanding these involves recognition of the psychological developmental issues of this period, such as changes in self concept, identity, the awareness of time, and changes in expectations and goals, such as the wish to create a family. Other needs, for intimacy and emotional richness, or the revival of wishes for closer ties to one's mother, can then become dominant and be expressed sexually. Earlier, more conventional choices can be abandoned, particularly after children are born. For some women an early homosexual relationship is replaced temporarily or permanently by a heterosexual one. This can represent permission to move outside the world of women, or a wish for a family and children. Fluidity of choice may be more characteristic for women than men and may be related to characteristics of the female body.

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