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Ruggiero, M.E. (2011). Defensive Sexualization: A Neurobiologically Informed Explanatory Model. Am. J. Psychoanal., 71(3):264-277.

(2011). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 71(3):264-277

Defensive Sexualization: A Neurobiologically Informed Explanatory Model

Matthew E. Ruggiero, B.Psych

Sexualization is a defense mechanism frequently referred to in clinical psychoanalytic literature. Despite this, there is no research linking the theoretical nature of this observed phenomenon to social or neurobiological theory. This discussion paper proposes an interaction between social learning and neural maturation in the development of sexualized tendencies. When anxiety within peer interactions is alleviated repeatedly through sexualized behavior, learned associations develop. This explanation allows understanding and empathy for individuals demonstrating a broad spectrum of sexualized responses since such learning is argued to be functional within their historic social climate.

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