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Seduction and Desire

Modern society has introduced many new relationships and family forms and the pluralisation of sexual lifestyles in the hundred years since Freud. This book provides a systematic account of the current state of theory, developing a gender-wide model of human sexuality and outlining the implications of this for psychotherapy practice. The author argues that the development of human sexuality follows no innate biological programs, but takes place in an interpersonal relationship, often established in the early parent-child relationship. Whereas the current psychoanalytic discourse emanates from a rather rigid division of gender relations emphasizing the differences between men and women, Ilka Quindeau develops a gender-wide model of human sexuality in which the 'masculine' and 'feminine' are integrated and contribute to the full diversity of gender identities and sexual varieties. She points to structural similarities of hetero-and homosexuality and perversion and calls for a general human sexuality that is based less on differences between men and women than with each other. Freud's postulation of the the primacy of the genital is thereby called into question, as is the cultural primacy of heterosexuality. The author concludes by asking what the consequences are of this new perspective for the development of psychotherapy practice.
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About the Author

Ilka Quindeau is Professor for Clinical Psychology at the University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt, and Adjunct Professor at the Goethe University Frankfurt. She is president of the Sigmund Freud Foundation in Germany and also runs her own practice. She is a clinical psychologist and sociologist, and training and supervising analyst in the German Psychoanalytical Society. She has published over 100 chapters and articles, and has authored and edited several books.


'Quindeau's book is path-breaking and luminously beautiful. Strewn with judicious insights, it is at once the very best critical account of the evolution of Freud's and post-Freudian analysts' thoughts on sex, and a breathtakingly brilliant, innovative reformulation of psychoanalytic theories of desire, fantasy, arousal, pleasure, and attachment. A must-read for psychoanalysts and other therapists, gender theorists, and historians alike.'- Dagmar Herzog, Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History'Seduction and Desire is an outstanding, ground-breaking contribution to the scientific literature on sexuality. It presents an up to date review and critique of the psychoanalytic studies and formulations regarding the psychological origins, development and clinical manifestations of normal and pathological sexual experience and behavior. Dr Quindeau proposes a fundamental review of our understanding of the Freudian concept of drive, and, inspired by Laplanche's theoretical formulations, points to the crucial consequences of the earliest, conscious and unconscious interactions of infant and mother in the activation of the psychological functions of sexual desire. The vicissitudes of unconscious desire lead to a world of bisexual dispositions, fantasies and identifications that structure the manifest character of masculinity and femininity, heterosexual and homosexual orientations, and reveal a remarkable combination of basic unity and yet differentiated multiplicity of sexual identities.While progress in the study of the neurobiological predisposition to sexual behavior has advanced rapidly in recent times, with efforts to link various findings in an integrative model, recent psychoanalytic and psychosocial studies of human sexuality, in contrast, have lacked an overall, integrative conceptualization. This volume is a major effort in that latter direction, an original integrative psychoanalytic model that bridges American and European contributions, and should be of great interest to all clinicians and researchers interested in the complex world of human sexuality.'- Otto F. Kernberg, MD, past president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and author of The Inseparable Nature of Love and Aggression: Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives'This book is a unique contribution to our psychoanalytic studies of gender and sexuality. Its value can be seen in not only giving an overview of historic and contemporary contributions to the issue and discussing and integrating numerous aspects widely, but also in giving a frame to new conceptualizations. It will fascinate professionals and students alike and help us further develop thinking about 'dark continents'.'- Ingrid Moeslein-Teising, Committee on Women and Psychoanalysis (COWAP), Germany

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