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Levine, R. (2004). Afterthoughts: Comments and Reactions to the N.I.P. 15th Annual Conference: Shame and Sexuality. Psychoanal. Perspect., 2(1):101-105.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 2(1):101-105

Conference Review

Afterthoughts: Comments and Reactions to the N.I.P. 15th Annual Conference: Shame and Sexuality

Review by:
Ronnie Levine, Ph.D.

At the N.I.P. 15th Annual Conference, entitled “Shame and Sexuality,” Dr. Jody Davies presented her ideas about love, passion, and sexuality in her paper “The Times We Sizzle, and The Times We Sigh: The Multiple Erotics of Arousal Anticipation and Pleasure.” Speaking in the sanctuary of The New York Theological Seminary chapel, Davies posed some fascinating questions. What is meant by the sexual, the erotic, and the romantic? Are there two kinds of sex, one of romantic attachment and another of erotic passion? What place does aggression and, specifically, perversity have in our sexuality: one of shame? disgust? passion?

Drawing on Fairbain's theory of endopsychic structure, Davies proposed that there are two generalizable, universal, sexual self-state systems. Good object sexuality is characteristic of romantic love and “clean” loving sexuality. Bad or exciting object sexuality is characterized by “dark,” stimulating, hot sex. Each self-state exists dissociated from the other. Each self-state has its own characteristic sets of ideas, affects, and body experiences. The capacity to bridge these dissociated systems of self organization allows them, as Davies put it, to coexist, to modulate, to contain each other. It represents a developmental achievement that makes possible a mature sexual response that is neither prudish nor sadistic.

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