A Discussion of Lesbians and Psychoanalytic Culture and a Response to Kassoff's Treatment of a Homosexual Woman: Sharone Abramowitz
Second, I appreciated Kassoff' s frank discussion of the sexualized aspects of Paula's transference to her. As it sounds like Kassoff did, it is especially important in analytic work with lesbian patients to emphasize both the symbolic and the embodied realities of their sexual feelings. Uchtenberg, Lachmann, and Fosshage (1992) brought concrete sexuality back into self psychology when they included within their five self-motivational systems, the sensual-sexual system. When self psychology rejected the sexual reductionism of classical psychoanalysis, it left behind (for a time) the very real motivation of our primal sex drive. To ignore the real, adult, and embodied nature of our lesbian patients' sexual desire colludes with shaming of women's sexuality in general, and erasure of lesbian sexuality in particular. Not surprisingly, work with gay men usually does not fall victim to this error. Gay men, as men, typically assert the concrete reality of their sexual desire. This is often not true for lesbians.