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Rose, S.H. (2007). Complications in Gay Men's Intimacy: Unconscious Derivatives. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 14(2):65-88.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 14(2):65-88

Complications in Gay Men's Intimacy: Unconscious Derivatives

Scott Harms Rose, Ph.D., LCSW

This study was designed to explore in depth the relational experiences of five gay men who identified themselves as having difficulty developing intimate relationships with other men. The premise of the study was that these men's early paternal object relations, represented in unconscious phantasy, influence their adult object relations, also represented in unconscious phantasy, as powerfully mediated by the internalization of a heterosexist interpersonal environment during boyhood. The chief hypothesis was that the experience of growing up within a heterosexist environment would have a strong and negative influence on these men's subsequent relationships.

I found that, for these five men, the dominant factor in their adult relationships was their internalized childhood relationships with their fathers, as represented in their unique, unconscious phantasies. However, a further, unexpected cross-case finding was that these men's phantasies about the experience of a painful outcome to the Oedipus (the loss of the primary oedipal object), seemed to have been powerfully re-stimulated by later experiences of rejection, or fear of rejection, by adolescent male peers. The consequence of this particular, psychically resonating experience appeared to be that these men re-worked their unconscious phantasies, incorporating their painful adolescent experiences into their negative underlying phantasies about themselves in relation to other males.

[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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