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Silverman, D.K. (2001). Sexuality and Attachment: A Passionate Relationship or a Marriage of Convenience?. Psychoanal Q., 70(2):325-358.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(2):325-358

Sexuality and Attachment: A Passionate Relationship or a Marriage of Convenience?

Doris K. Silverman, Ph.D.

The ubiquitous and persistent bodily urges of sexuality and their vicissitudes are explored in this paper, focusing on the complex relationship between libidinal desire and the attachment system, especially the latter's affect-regulating function. This complicated interrelationship is highlighted with clinical vignettes. Implications for transference and countertransference are explored in the discussion of affect regulation and its possible sexual entwining. Clinical data is presented to highlight the plasticity of sexuality. Sexuality's protean nature allows for a reassessment of the case of Little Hans, with emphasis on the unique interconnections between sexuality and the vital need for an attachment relationship. Stressing such interconnections raises important questions about the traditional concept of psychosexual stages.

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