From Psychoanalytic Bisexuality to Bisexual Psychoanalysis: Desiring in the Real, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

From Psychoanalytic Bisexuality to Bisexual Psychoanalysis

Desiring in the Real, 1st Edition

By Esther Rapoport


170 pages

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This is the first book to assess bisexuality through a range of psychoanalytic and critical perspectives, highlighting both the issues faced by bisexual people in contemporary society and the challenges that can be presented by bisexual clients within a clinical setting.

Examining bisexuality through the lenses of Lacanian, Winnicottian and Relational psychoanalytic theories, the book outlines the ways in which the concept is at once both dated and yet still tremendously important. It includes case studies to explore the issue of widespread countertransference responses in the clinical setting, as well as using both bisexual theory and empirical research on biphobia to comment on the social pressures facing bisexual men and women, and the resultant psychological effects.

Bisexual identities and practices have become increasingly visible in recent years, and this important book addresses the lack of critical reckoning with this topic within the psychoanalytic community. It will be of great interest to practicing psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, as well as to researchers across the fields of psychoanalysis and gender & sexuality studies.


"Curiously, despite far-reaching social changes in both the mainstream culture and within psychoanalysis, the tendency to deploy bisexuality in psychoanalytic texts in ways that perpetuate gender binaries and obliterate bisexual desires persists. This book is refreshing in that it pointedly critiques this erasure and firmly inscribes bisexuality as an identity and practice into our clinical theory. Rapoport's cogent theoretical formulations and vivid clinical examples make it clear that psychoanalysis has not succeeded in theorizing bisexuals out of existence." --Lynne Layton, Harvard Medical School, Past Editor, Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society

"Rapoport eloquently asks us to consider the centrality of bisexuality to our theoretical knowledges - and lived experiences - of the sexual, the erotic, the intimate. Long misunderstood as a phase, an aberration and even a perversity within queerness itself, bisexuality is both a potential out of which narrower experiences of sexuality and gender are conditioned and a particular form desire can take. What kind of healing may occur if we recognize a bi-erotic subjectivity? Desiring will transform how we understand not just bisexuality but sex, sexuality, and gender." --Jonathan Alexander, Chancellor’s Professor of English and of Gender & Sexuality, UC, Irvine

"In this compelling book Dr. Rapoport addresses the complicated meeting point between sex, gender, identity and subjectivity within psychoanalysis through the question of Bisexuality. Using bisexuality as a subjectivity, a vantage point and signifier for unknowability, the book offers an important critique of identitarian approaches to sexuality while also insisting on a discourse of bisexuality that accounts for its subjective experience and representation. Drawing on psychoanalytic, queer and social theories, Rapoport places bisexuality at the centre of interdisciplinary discussion in ways that widen its clinical and theoretical scope without settling its meaning." --Oren Gozlan, Psy.D., ABPP, Author, Transsexuality and the Art of Transitioning: A Lacanian Perspective

"An exciting and sophisticated reassessment of the foundational psychoanalytic concept of bisexuality. Unlike femininity or homosexuality, bisexuality in psychoanalysis has remained strangely untouched by critique. The author moves deftly among different psychoanalytic schools, demonstrating that Freud’s early propositions still have us equating bisexuality with infantile lack of differentiation, providing us with no capacity to account for mature adults who identify as bisexual. By bringing psychoanalysis into conversation with contemporary theories of bisexuality, Rapoport opens up new horizons, theoretical and clinical, of how psychoanalysis might revision bisexual subjectivity. A necessary and timely contribution." --Celia Brickman, Ph.D., Author, Race in Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Bisexuality: the undead (m)other of psychoanalysis

Chapter 2: Which traditional psychoanalytic meanings of bisexuality are worth keeping, and which

had better go?

Chapter 3: Object choice: choosing objects of psychoanalytic inquiry from among the different meanings of bisexuality

Chapter 4: Bisexual subjectivity through the lenses of Lacanian, Object Relations and Relational theories

Chapter 5: Epistemologies of the fence: meeting points between bisexual and contemporary psychoanalytic epistemologies

Chapter 6: Bisexuality and Oedipus, a strained relationship: anti-Oedipal, post-Oedipal, and extra-Oedipal bisexualities

Chapter 7: Abjection in action: bisexual patient and transference-countertransference dynamics

Chapter 8: Women and men: overlapping experiences, different pressures

Chapter 9: Masters of transformation: bisexual and transgender bodies and the problem of death

About the Author

Esther Rapoport, Psy.D is a clinical psychologist maintaining a full-time private practice in Tel Aviv. She is on the board of the Israeli Chapter of IARPP (International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy) and is a candidate at the Academy for Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in New Jersey.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis