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Kaplan, D.M. (1993). Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective: By Richard C. Friedman. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1988, xvi + 296 pp., $40.00 (paperback, $14.95).. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:309-312.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:309-312

Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective: By Richard C. Friedman. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1988, xvi + 296 pp., $40.00 (paperback, $14.95).

Review by:
Donald M. Kaplan, Ph.D.

The revision in our thinking that is called for by our subscription to a set of revolutionary ideas like psychoanalysis never takes place all at once. That psychoanalysts continue to endorse various conventions of science and society which an alert version of their theory has actually rendered obsolete goes to show that revolution is a drawn-out, piecemeal process. Fresh in our minds is a history of psychoanalytic practice with women patients, who were long regarded as psychological casualties if they preferred a vocation over motherhood.

Part of the process of catching up with the implications of theory entails a controversy between clinical observation and official doctrine, in which the doctrine eventually erodes and the practitioner is liberated to maintain a less conflicted impartiality toward the options of his or her patients. In the meantime the practitioner, who was negligent with reports from female patients of too great a clitoral involvement in their orgastic experience, endured varyingly uneasy relations with supervisors and the rest of the psychoanalytic curriculum. Of course, as the poet tells us, all's well that ends well. But we should add, the sooner, the better.

In line with such admonitions, Richard C. Friedman's Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective has appeared none too soon. It is a thoroughgoing study of male homosexuality, embodying, along the way, a clear argument for clinical neutrality toward the fact of homosexuality, inasmuch as homosexuality is no less plausible for a gay patient than heterosexuality is for a straight patient. Such a position, which has been gaining momentum in recent years, runs counter to a longstanding view of homosexuality as a perversion in need of radical cure.


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