Heterosexual Masculinities: Contemporary Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Heterosexual Masculinities

Contemporary Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory, 1st Edition

Edited by Bruce Reis, Robert Grossmark


240 pages

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In recent years there have been substantial changes in approaches to how genders are made and what functions genders fulfill. Most of the scholarly focus in this area has been in the areas of feminist, gay, and lesbian studies, and heterosexual masculinity - which tended to be defined by lack and absence - has not received the critical and scholarly attention these other areas have received. Heterosexual Masculinities rethinks a psychoanalytic tradition that has long thought of masculinity as a sort of brittle defense against femininity, softness, and emotionality. Reflecting current trends in psychoanalytic thinking, this book seeks to understand heterosexual masculinity as fluid, multiple, and emergent. The contributors to this insightful volume take new perspectives on relations between men, men’s positions as fathers in relation to their sons and daughters, the clinical encounter with heterosexual men, the social contexts of masculinity, and the multiplicity of heterosexual masculine subjectivities. What to a previous generation would have appeared as pathological or defensive, we now encounter as forms of masculine subjectivity that include wishes for intimacy, receptivity, and surrender, alongside ambition and the pleasures of "phallic narcissism."


"The time has come when men can stop complaining that psychoanalysis sells them short. This erudite, compassionate and beautifully edited collection is going to be a benchmark for the engagement of psychoanalysis with the masculinities. Many clinicians are all at sea with the men in their practices. We need authors like these who can, with elegance and punch, traverse gender, cultural and queer studies, balancing the intrapsychic and social dimensions of the work, knowing when that distinction breaks down. Poetically, here's a confirmation of masculinity as a metaphor of being and experiencing for all. Politically, here's a contribution from the clinic to healing a world whose problems reflect those of the men who run it." - Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex, UK

"Heterosexual Masculinities is a long overdue book of essays examining the multiple configurations and subjective experiences of male heterosexuality. Long the stepchild in discussions of gender and sexuality, male heterosexuality is, as the various authors argue, as varied, complex and multiple as female hetero- and homosexuality. Far from being merely the opposite of female sexuality, male heterosexuality has been undertheorized as the "one," rather fixed sexuality. The editors of this book, Bruce Reis and Robert Grossmark, have accomplished a remarkable job of filling this theoretical lacuna by assembling a broad range of texts from contemporary relational psychoanalysts, who demonstrate in their own respective ways the degree of variety and fluidity that exists in the large spectrum of male heterosexuality." - Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, USA

"Heterosexual Masculinities makes commendable strides towards filling the gender gap…this book consists of a theoretically and clinically rich chapter from each of the contributing authors…a much-needed addition to the psychoanalytic field… Reis and Grossmark's excellent read is sure to be appreciated by any analytically oriented pracitioner. [The book] will significantly help one's clinical work…a worthy purchase as having this collection of well-written works as a reference in one place is quite handy…a true asset to any clinician wishing to better undserstand the men with whome they work." - Anthony F. Tasso, Division/REVIEW

Table of Contents

Person, Masculinities, Plural. Diamond, Masculinity and its Discontents: Making Room for the "Mother" Inside the Male – An Essential Achievement for the Healthy Male Gender Identity. Reis, Names of the Father. Grossmark, Two Men Talking: The Emergence of Multiple Masculinities in Psychoanalytic Treatment. Hirsch, Imperfect Love, Imperfect Lives: Making Love, Making Sex, Making Moral Judgments. Kaftal, On Intimacy Between Men. Cornell, An Eruption of Erotic Vitality Between a Male Analyst and a Male Patient. Rozmarin, David and Jonathan. Adams, Psychotherapy with Poor African-American Men: Challenges Around the Construction of Masculinities. Harris, "Fathers" and "Daughters." Rothschild, Finding a Father: Repetition, Difference, and Fantasy in Finding Nemo. Fogel, Interiority and Inner Genital Space in Men: What Else Can Be Lost in Castration?

About the Editors

Bruce Reis, Ph.D., is on the relational faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and a Contributing Editor Studies in Gender and Sexuality.

Robert Grossmark, Ph.D., is a member of the faculty at the Psychoanalytic Training Institute at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies and adjunct faculty in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is Clinical Supervisor at the Doctoral Programs at City University and Yeshiva University and at the Psychoanalytic Institute at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.

About the Series

Psychoanalysis in a New Key Book Series

When music is played in a new key, the melody does not change, but the notes that make up the composition do: change in the context of continuity, continuity that perseveres through change. Psychoanalysis in a New Key publishes books that share the aims psychoanalysts have always had, but that approach them differently. The books in the series are not expected to advance any particular theoretical agenda, although to this date most have been written by analysts from the Interpersonal and Relational orientations.

The most important contribution of a psychoanalytic book is the communication of something that nudges the reader’s grasp of clinical theory and practice in an unexpected direction. Psychoanalysis in a New Key creates a deliberate focus on innovative and unsettling clinical thinking. Because that kind of thinking is encouraged by exploration of the sometimes surprising contributions to psychoanalysis of ideas and findings from other fields, Psychoanalysis in a New Key particularly encourages interdisciplinary studies. Books in the series have married psychoanalysis with dissociation, trauma theory, sociology, and criminology. The series is open to the consideration of studies examining the relationship between psychoanalysis and any other field – for instance, biology, literary and art criticism, philosophy, systems theory, anthropology, and political theory.

But innovation also takes place within the boundaries of psychoanalysis, and Psychoanalysis in a New Key therefore also presents work that reformulates thought and practice without leaving the precincts of the field. Books in the series focus, for example, on the significance of personal values in psychoanalytic practice, on the complex interrelationship between the analyst’s clinical work and personal life, on the consequences for the clinical situation when patient and analyst are from different cultures, and on the need for psychoanalysts to accept the degree to which they knowingly satisfy their own wishes during treatment hours, often to the patient’s detriment.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health