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Barron, J.W. (1999). Disorienting Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Reappraisals of Sexual Identities: Thomas Domenici and Ronnie C. Lesser. New York: Routledge, 1995, v + 299 pp., $59.95 hardcover, $18.95 paperback.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(1):272.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(1):272

Disorienting Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Reappraisals of Sexual Identities: Thomas Domenici and Ronnie C. Lesser. New York: Routledge, 1995, v + 299 pp., $59.95 hardcover, $18.95 paperback.

Review by:
James W. Barron

As psychoanalysts we are accustomed to orienting ourselves in relation to familiar points on our theoretical compass, with particular reference to our privileged ideas about sexuality and gender. Sometimes, in order to find something radically new, we need first to get lost. The editors of this volume, along with their distinguished contributors, many of whom are openly gay and lesbian analysts, help us get lost by critiquing prevailing normative, essentialist assumptions, exploring the multiplicities of sexual identities, and mapping the complexities of erotic desire. The clumsy binary terms homosexuality and heterosexuality obscure rather than illuminate these fluid unconscious configurations.

Historically, psychoanalysis has problematized and stigmatized same-sex desire. Several of the contributors articulate their painful encounters with antihomosexual bias in their personal analyses and in their analytic training. Their voices, which are still marginalized within the larger analytic community, are beginning to challenge our theoretical predilections and clinical practices.

The editors and contributors do not propose a unified point of view. Instead they bring contemporary psychoanalysis into conversation with feminism, gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, and postmodernism. They invite us on a disorienting journey that is well worth taking.

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