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Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Thirteen: The Early Basis of Adult Female Sexuality and Motherliness (1975). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 189-205.

Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Thirteen: The Early Basis of Adult Female Sexuality and Motherliness (1975). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 189-205

Chapter Thirteen: The Early Basis of Adult Female Sexuality and Motherliness (1975) Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

The author begins by summarizing changes in the psychoanalytic theory of sexuality from Freud through Klein, Bion and Meltzer, that result in a clear distinction between infantile sexuality (gratification) and adult sexuality (creativity). Adult sexuality and thinking have the same origins in the introjection of a receptive and resilient bisexual (combined) object, initially the prototypal part-object pleasure between nipple and mouth; and disturbances in “fit” between mother and baby (such as, those deriving from postnatal depression), hinder realistic self-appraisal and adult sexual pleasure, which is founded on “feeling at home with oneself”. The paper then relates a baby observation to a case study of a young woman who struggles to know her “unacceptable parts” and to achieve a “rebirth of herself in identification with the baby” through an internalized breast that is “soft and receptive yet firm”.

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