This book presents a wide range of psychoanalytic writing on masculinity and femininity from British, European, and North and South American perspectives, exploring how masculine and feminine aspects are structured and evolve in the child, adolescent and adult. The authors address from a background of considerable clinical experience how masculinity and femininity manifest in the body, gender, sex, sexuality and the life-cycle, and cover aspects both productive and generative, constricted and defended. The importance of the parenting couple and their bond with the child in the forming of masculine and feminine idenitities is emphasized. Beginning with an overview of the development of masculinity, the developmental perspective is explored in how adolescents discover their sexuality and come to 'own' their sexual bodies. Different types of disturbance are explored including the early defence mechanism of disavowal of difference. The development of the masculine and feminine aspects of the psychoanalyst and how these aspects influence analytic work are considered, in particular the role of the male analyst in transformations of masculinity. The analyst must have sufficiently worked through his/her own mental bisexuality, to have internalized a good parental couple in order to be able to listen to the mental bisexuality of the patient. The book ends with a glimpse of the young child's struggle with issues of sexuality and difficulties in constructing a gender identity. The authors aim to explore what constitutes masculinity and femininity in an accessible way not only for psychoanalytic psychotherapists but also for the wider public.
Ester Palerm Mari