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Straker, G. Winship, J. (2011). The Dangers of the Universal: A Critique of Fonagy and Target's Theory of Sexual Enjoyment. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):288-302.

(2011). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):288-302


The Dangers of the Universal: A Critique of Fonagy and Target's Theory of Sexual Enjoyment

Gillian Straker, Ph.D. and Jacqui Winship, M.A.

Despite the cultural specificity of aspects of attachment theory (Layton, 2006) it remains influential. Disorganized attachment and the alien self are linked to borderline phenomena and attacks upon the body (Fonagy et al., 2002), including sexual attacks (Straker, 2002). Recently (Fonagy, 2006, 2008; Target, 2007) used the concept of the alien self to explain sexuality in general. This article challenges this extension as it again ignores cultural specificity, presents psychoanalysis as the arbiter of “normal” sexuality, and entrenches heteronormativity. It also lends itself to inadvertently condoning sexual harassment, as evidenced in a case study presented by Fonagy (2008).

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