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Cole, G.W. (2011). A Strange Invitation: On the Ordinary Problem of Pornography. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):254-267.

(2011). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):254-267

Thoughts on Porn: Countertransference, a New Desire, and an Undreamt-Dream

A Strange Invitation: On the Ordinary Problem of Pornography

Gilbert W. Cole, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Pornography in the clinical psychoanalytic situation is an ordinary problem that is most effectively approached in the manner a psychoanalyst would any other part of a patient's experience that registers in the transference/countertransference in order to be worked with. However, because pornography often seems to do with sexual excitement, it may evoke more anxiety than other kinds of material in an analysis and so may lead to a transference/countertransference situation that can feel difficult to handle. This essay examines several aspects of pornography—how it produces its effects and what sort of product it is—but also discusses how an analyst works to regain what feels like a useful therapeutic stance when pornography has been part of the clinical dialogue. This involves the tension that grabs hold when ideas generated by applied psychoanalysis combined with volatile subjective experience of pornography produce a specific countertransference situation.

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