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Rohleder, P. (2012). Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality: Twentieth-Anniversary Edition. Psychoanal. Psychother., 26(3):256-258.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 26(3):256-258

Psychoanalysis and Male Homosexuality: Twentieth-Anniversary Edition

Review by:
Poul Rohleder

Kenneth Lewes, Plymouth, Jason Aronson, 2009, 334 pp., £31.95 (hardback), ISBN: 9780765706478

Although first published in 1988, this book seems an important work in relation to current psychoanalytic discussions, given the recent statement on homosexuality published by the British Psychoanalytic Council (2011). This 20th anniversary edition contains the text in its original form, with a foreword from Gilbert Cole and Donald Moss, and a new introduction by the author, reflecting on the 20 years since the release of the book.

Lewes provides a critical review of all the published psychoanalytic theories on homosexuality from Freud up until 1982, approximately 500 publications. A strength of his review is that it is informed by an ‘analytical’ analysis of the literature. It is a review written from within the psychoanalytic profession, using the discourse of psychoanalysis, rather than a critique from outside the discipline.

The book is written in 11 chapters, outlining distinct phases in the psychoanalytic writing on homosexuality (mostly male homosexuality). The review begins with the ideas of Freud. Freud considered human sexuality (including homosexuality) to develop from a constitutional bisexuality. Lewes argues that there is some ambiguity in Freud's understanding of the relationship between homosexuality and pathology, but that he did not seem to understand homosexuality as necessarily pathological. Freud understood homosexuality to be a result of an arrest in ‘normal’ sexual development; a variation of sexual development, not a deviation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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