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Roth, D. (2009). (Imagining) Erotic Mutuality: Negotiating Difference in Sexual Orientation in an Analysis. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 10(4):173-184.

(2009). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 10(4):173-184

(Imagining) Erotic Mutuality: Negotiating Difference in Sexual Orientation in an Analysis

Debra Roth, LCSW

This article explores the clinical limitations of an exclusive adherence to the oedipal paradigm for the understanding of erotic material in the transference/countertransference in analytic treatments where the participants identify with differing sexual orientations. Its central argument posits that possibilities for recognizing developmentally significant, evolved connections with patients of all genders and sexual orientations is subtly circumscribed when understanding of these phenomena is partitioned chiefly by the “either/or” of a positive or negative form of oedipal desire.

The argument goes on to query and challenge formulations of a universal bisexuality as a satisfactory resolution to this conundrum, again, particularly when the 2 analytic partners claim different sexual orientations. Part object relations as residue of an early and ubiquitous polymorphous perversity are proposed as useful theoretical and clinical alternatives. Case material is also provided.

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