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Perlman, L. (2019). Breastfeeding and Female Sexuality. Psychoanal. Rev., 106(2):131-148.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Review, 106(2):131-148

Breastfeeding and Female Sexuality

Lynn Perlman, Ph.D.

This paper explores the apparent reluctance in the world to recognizing the sexuality of breastfeeding. It demonstrates the ways in which the experience of breastfeeding is desexualized and attempts an understanding of why this occurs. Breastfeeding is looked at from a psychobiological perspective and situates it within the complexity of female sexuality. Female sexuality is understood to have both maternal and erotic components. Maternal and erotic sexuality is examined from a hormonal, neurological, and anatomical perspective, in order to demonstrate the similarities. Resistances to experiencing breastfeeding as sexual are looked at from both an oedipal and preoedipal perspective. An attempt is made to understand the biochemical processes underlying the transformation of breastfeeding from its potentially erotic sexual position to a position of maternal sexuality. Maternal sexuality is looked at as a maturational achievement, perhaps an additional psychosexual stage following genital sexuality.

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