Psychic Bisexuality: A British-French Dialogue, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Psychic Bisexuality

A British-French Dialogue, 1st Edition

Edited by Rosine Jozef Perelberg


322 pages

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Psychic Bisexuality: A British-French Dialogue clarifies and develops the Freudian conception according to which sexual identity is not reduced to the anatomical difference between the sexes, but is constructed as a psychic bisexuality that is inherent to all human beings.

The book takes the Freudian project into new grounds of clinical practice and theoretical formulations and contributes to a profound psychoanalytic understanding of sexuality. The object of pychoanalysis is psychosexuality, which is not, in the final analysis, determined by having a male or a female body, but by the unconscious phantasies that are reached après coup through tracing the nuanced interplay of identifications as they are projected, enacted and experienced in the transference and the countertransference in the analytic encounter.

Drawing on British and French Freudian and post-Freudian traditions, the book explores questions of love, transference and countertransference, sexual identity and gender to set out the latest clinical understanding of bisexuality, and includes chapters from influential French analysts available in English for the first time. Psychic Bisexuality: A British-French Dialogue will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists as well as gender studies scholars.


"This book is precise and intense, engaging and illuminating. To say that we are all bisexual does not dismiss the psychoanalytic recognition of sexual difference and does not replace it with the phantasy—nowadays increasingly common—of a ‘neutral’ gender. The notion of psychic bisexuality as developed in this profound book recognizes the incompleteness of masculinity and femininity and the conflict inherent in desire. The speaking individual continuously adjusts their sexuality to the subtleties of their own desires and those of the other. Perelberg’s introduction is both brilliant and indispensable; the detailed and nuancedclinical examples open up a space for intimacy, within which psychic bisexuality can be expressed and reinvent itself."-Julia Kristeva, Training Analyst of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society and Professor Emeritus at the University Paris Diderot. Holberg Prize for outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities.

"This is a remarkable book; it celebrates and develops further Freud’s seminal insights on sexuality. The chapters, so aptly gathered and meticulously discussed by Rosine Perelberg, cohere around a search for a deeper understanding of psychic bisexuality, and examine with detailed clinical examples the centrality of this concept to the understanding of the feminine, the masculine, hysteria, psychosis, maternal and paternal transference, castration, and the the primal scene. I strongly recommend this wonderful book, both to analysts in training and to seasoned ones. It is a real gem, contemporary, intellectually stimulating, and a pleasure to read."-Claudio Eizirik, Training Analyst of the Brazilian Psychoanalytical Society of Porto Alegre and Past-President of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

Table of Contents

Introduction: a psychoanalytic understanding of bisexuality Rosine Jozef Perelberg 1. The beautiful differences

Christian David 2. Tell me whom you like best Catherine Chabert 3. The origin of psychoanalysis between bisexuality and transference Monique Cournut-Janin 4. Love and melancholia in the analysis of women by women Rosine Jozef Perelberg 5. From bisexuality to the feminine Jacqueline Godfrind 6. On bisexuality: being born with two eyes Marilia Aisenstein 7. Stumbling blocks of the feminine, stumbling blocks of psychic bisexuality

Nathalie Zilkha 8. Unconscious pacts and the bisexuality of the countertransference in the treatment

Denis Hirsch 9. "No sex, please, we’re British": some reflections on bisexuality in contemporary clinical theory

Rosemary Davies 10. How to be both, by not being both: the articulation of psychic bisexuality within the analytic session Rachel Chaplin 11. Alienating identifications and sexuality Donald Campbell 12. The neuter gender

André Green 13. Bye-bye, sexuality Gregorio Kohon Glossary

About the Editor

Rosine Jozef Perelberg is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society, Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit at University College London and Corresponding Member of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society. Her books include Psychoanalytic Understanding of Violence and Suicide and Female Experience: Four Generations of British Women Psychoanalysts on Work with Women (with Joan Raphael-Leff). She is the author of Time, Space and Phantasy and Murdered Father, Dead Father: Revisiting the Oedipus Complex. In 2007, she was named one of the ten women of the year by the Brazilian National Council of Women.

About the Series

The New Library of Psychoanalysis

The New Library of Psychoanalysis is published by Routledge Mental Health in association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London.

Its purpose is to facilitate a greater and more widespread appreciation of psychoanalysis and to provide a forum for increasing mutual understanding between psychoanalysts and those in other disciplines. The series also aims to make some of the work of continental and other non-English speaking analysts more readily available to English-speaking readers, and to increase the interchange of ideas between British and American analysts.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis published its first book in 1987 under the editorship of David Tuckett, later followed by Elizabeth Bott Spillius, Susan Budd and Dana Birksted-Breen. A considerable number of Associate Editors and readers have assisted the editors.

Under the guidance of Foreign Rights Editors, a considerable number of the New Library books have been published abroad, particularly in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Peru, Spain and Japan.

The aim of the New Library of Psychoanalysis is to maintain the high level of scholarship of the previous series, to provide a forum for increasing understanding between psychoanalysis and other disciplines and to increase the interest of the general book-reading public in psychoanalysis.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis also aims to help the various schools of psychoanalysis to better understand each other. It has published books representing all three schools of thought in British psychoanalysis, including a particularly important work edited by Pearl King and Riccardo Steiner, expounding the intellectual and organisational controversies that developed in the British psychoanalytical Society between Kleinian, Viennese and 'middle group' analysts during the Second World War.

The New Library of Psychoanalysis has also translated and published several books by Continental psychoanalysts, and it plans in the future to continue the policy of publishing books that express as clearly as possible a variety of psychoanalytic points of view.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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