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Sehgal, A. (2012). Viewing the Absence of Sex from Couple Relationships through the “Core Complex” Lens. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 2(2):149-164.

(2012). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 2(2):149-164

Viewing the Absence of Sex from Couple Relationships through the “Core Complex” Lens

Amita Sehgal, M.A., Ph.D.

This paper attempts to understand the absence of sex in intimate couple relationships from a pre-oedipal perspective, using Glasser's (1979) concept of the “core complex”. It draws on two clinical cases, one where the couple named lack of sex as the principal problem during their assessment interview, and another where the partners' sex was absent from their long-standing relationship once therapy was well underway. These two clinical cases are thought about using a contemporary Freudian perspective, where the anxieties that arise in the earliest relationship between infant and mother are believed to contribute to the claustro-agoraphobic anxieties in adult relating. Additionally, the unconscious dynamics that may be operating in couple relationships in which sex is absent is explored in the context of the relationship where partners seem intently caught up in the struggle of balancing their need for intimacy alongside preserving their sense of self.

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