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Snyder, J. (1992). Gender Disorders and Paraphilias. W. B. Arndt. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1991. 488 pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 17(1):110-111.

(1992). Modern Psychoanalysis, 17(1):110-111

Gender Disorders and Paraphilias. W. B. Arndt. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1991. 488 pp.

Review by:
Jane Snyder

This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in an sexual deviations. Arndt presents a dispassionate and thorough review of the social science and clinical literature on various gender disorders and “paraphilias” (a “value-fee” label for perversions), including childhood gender identity disorder, transvestism, transsexualism, fetishism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, sasomasochism, and father-daughter incest. The psychoanalytic point of view is heavily represented in each chapter as one among several ways of understanding the phenomenon. Each chapter also presents basic historial information, social science statistics on incidence and demographics, research data on personality and family characteristics and on sexuality (fantasy, type of expression, object choice), as well as theory and reserach on etiology, including biological and object relational components. Chapters are brought to life with quotes from interviews and case material. In general, Arndt reprots a poor prognosis for treatment of these disorders, except for childhood gender identity disorder. In the case of the paraphilias, individuals do not seek treatment.

Dr. Arndt frames the book with thoughtful introductory chapters addressing important questions: what is deviant sexual behavior? What is the normal course of gender development? What is the role of biology in these disorders? How can we best understand their etiology? Why do we see more sexual deviations and gender disorders in males? Arndt proposes that deviancy be defined considering the object relations involved, the mode of relating, and the motive (e.g., aggressive versus sexual), as well as the degree of control the individual can exercise over his behavior.

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