Genders and Sexualities

Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2021-22, 2nd Trimester — Fridays, 1:45-3:15pm
Karen Weisbard, PsyD


Karen Weisbard: When I taught this course with John Cardinali in Fall 2019 the world was a different place. We met in a classroom, there was no knowledge/fear of a virus that would threaten/transform our lives, George Floyd was still alive, I was married to a man, and both my boys were where they were supposed to be – senior in high school, sophomore in college. Two and a half years later, I feel dramatically changed, and the world feels like another place entirely.

Amy Ferlazzo: I am curious about ongoing and current social changes, and particularly in ongoing changes in the areas of genders and sexualities. In June 2019 APSaA issued an overdue apology for “past views that pathologized homosexuality and transgender identities.” I’d like to continue exploring that history, the formulations that engendered understanding as well as myopia, and move into a deeper exploration of current theories and views. I hope we can ground this in discussions of our work with patients, as well as our self-explorations.

This course, this term, is situated in the changes of these past few years, thus the title of the class has been changed to pluralities. The objectives of this nine-week course are for us to learn together how to occupy the worlds of genders and sexualities; how to think pluralistically; and how to find deeper access to the lived experiences of ourselves, our family members, and our patients through interdisciplinary readings and self-reflections. We hope to cover the short psychoanalytic history of the development of these ideas, while mindful that this history is white, male, heterosexual. We will bring in other voices – and even though they won’t be white, male ones, they will be biased by the systemic structures of psychoanalytic institutes and journals. Only some can speak. Thus, we will seek access to other voices through literature, poetry, social media, film, tv, music. We invite all of you to contribute to this developing pluralistic canon of what are genders and sexualities.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this class, candidates will:

  1. learn to think more pluralistically about genders and sexualities. This will enable candidates to have greater self-knowledge of their own development and greater access to their patients’ lived experiences of genders and sexualities.
  2. have greater knowledge of the psychoanalytic contributions to theory and practice of genders and sexualities, and will have greater awareness of the limitedness of these contributions. This will enable candidates to seek out many interdisciplinary resources as they work with their clients.
  3. have a deeper understanding of the ranges of genders and sexualities, which will enable them to have a greater empathic and less pathologizing lens from which to view others.

February 25, 2022 — Karen to lead discussion

[38 pages]

Only read Part 1 of Freud’s “Three Essays”; on PEP-Web, pages 135-172.

Freud, Three Essays: We will read the first 2 essays over the 1st 2 weeks of classes as Freud’s contribution to the concept of infantile sexuality was/and still is revolutionary.

Freud, S. (1905) Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 7:123-246

March 4, 2022 — Amy to lead discussion

[49 pages]

Only read Part 2 of Freud’s “Three Essays”; on PEP-Web, pages 172-206.

Freud, S. (1905) Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 7:123-246

Chodorow, N. (2011). Freud’s Three Essays on Sexuality, ch. 4 in Individualizing Gender and Sexuality, pp26-39.

March 11, 2022 — Amy to lead discussion

[58 pages]

Dimen, M. & Goldner, V. (2011). Ch10, “Gender and Sexuality” in Textbook of Psychoanalysis (2nd Edition), pp133-152.

Chodorow, N.J. (1992). Heterosexuality as a Compromise Formation: Reflections on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexual Development. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 15:267-304.

We will continue to explore history of psychoanalytic contributions with some seminal female voices.

March 25, 2022 — Karen to lead discussion

[35 pages]

Saketopolu, A. (2018). “The Draw to Overwhelm: Consent, Risk, and the Re-translation of Enigma”. Unpublished paper presented at the International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. 

This paper will introduce us to another way of conceptualizing infantile sexuality, the unconscious, and transmission of desire. The concept of enigma will be explored.

April 1, 2022 — Amy to lead discussion

[35 pages]

(Additionally, there will be two poems and a brief excerpt, forthcoming.)

Elise, D. (2002). The Primary Maternal Oedipal Situation and Female Homoerotic Desire. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(2):209-228.

Roughton, R. (2000). Sometimes a Desire is Just a Desire: Gay Men and Their Analysts. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 5(3):259-273.

We will explore what it means to love/desire a person of the same gender. We realize this is already a limiting idea for we know more at this point in the class that being of the same physical anatomy is neither the same anatomy nor the same psychic experiences.

We will add some firsthand accounts (2 poems, and possibly an excerpt from a novel) so that our discussion is not merely clinical/theoretical.

Halfway mark: We will discuss how the class is going thus far, and revise syllabus accordingly. Thus the remaining readings are not set in stone.

April 8, 2022 — Karen to lead discussion

[38 pages]

Butler, J. (1995). Melancholy Gender—Refused Identification. Psychoanal. Dial., 5(2):165-180.

Dyess, C. & Dean, T. (2000) Gender: The Impossibility of Meaning. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 10:735-756

We will read a classic paper by Judith Butler, and then a sophisticated critique of the ideas from a Lacanian perspective.

April 15, 2022 — Karen to lead discussion; Amy is absent

[36 pages]

Lemma, A. (2013). The body one has and the body one is: Understanding the transsexual’s need to be seen. In International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 94, pp. 277-292

Suchet, M. (2011). Crossing Over. Psychoanal. Dial., 21(2):172-191.

  • Ken Corbett, Trans States, from his book, Boyhoods as a possible other choice.
  • Watch Pose (the TV show); a few episodes

We will be exploring the ideas and practices of trans. We will question together whether this is still a relevant term, and we will consider the alternatives in queerness.

Or, and this is our preference, read things outside the psychoanalytic world, and attain first-hand experiences of Trans/Queer.

April 22, 2022 — Karen to lead discussion

[51 pages]

Saketopoulou, A. (2015). “On sexual perversions’ capacity to act as portal to psychic states that have evaded representation”, in Sexualities: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspectives, A. Lemma and P.E. Lynch (Eds.), pp203-217.

Dimen, M. (2001). Perversion Is Us? Eight Notes. Psychoanal. Dial., 11(6):825-860.

We will explore the idea of perversion and examine some social critiques of how racist and phobic ideas have damaged and marginalized others who we think/feel are not like us, do not look like us, do not practice life like us. I am including here how we might also view the differently abled, and how we might think about their sexualities.

April 29, 2022 — Open Discussion

We would like to explore contemporary practices of intimate and sexual relationships, from polyamory to asexualities, to long-term romance with sex/no sex, as well as aromanticism. We are still searching for readings. There is a TV show, called Trigonometry, on the BBC that is supposed to be good, but there might be others, or we might use examples from our practice.