The Course of Gay and Lesbian Lives

Social and Psychoanalytic Perspectives

Bertram J. Cohler and Robert M. Galatzer-Levy

The Course of Gay and Lesbian Lives
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Bertram J. Cohler and Robert M. Galatzer-Levy

552 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2000
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780226113036 Published August 2000
We live in a society obsessed with tracing the cause of homosexuality. Is there a gene that can be identified? Or do the origins lie outside of biology in the cultural context of childhood or adolescence? Most importantly, should we care about any of these questions?

Drawing on their own work with gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as well as other pertinent studies, psychoanalysts Bertram J. Cohler and Robert Galatzer-Levy have written a groundbreaking work that examines how psychological development and clinical intervention as well as social and historical change across generations contribute to how we think about sexuality. The authors argue that there is little support for assuming that homosexuality has a biological basis. Recognizing the many pathways that lead to same-gender sexual orientation, the authors conclude that the cause is much less important than understanding the meaning of being homosexual. They consider the destructive nature of an intolerant society that fosters so-called conversion psychotherapy and stress the importance of helping to rebuild a sense of coherence and personal integrity among homosexuals.
Part One: Homosexuality and Psychological Inquiry
1. Gay and Lesbian Lives and Psychoanalytic Inquiry
2. Perspectives on the Study of Sexual Orientation
Part Two: The Question of Origins and the Course of Psychosocial Development
3. Biology, Sexuality, and the Foundation of Human Sexual Orientation
4. Storied Accounts and Psychoanalytic Understandings of the Childhoods of Gay Men and Women
5. Adolescence and Youth: Realizing Gay and Lesbian Sexual Identity
6. Lesbian and Gay Lives across the Adult Years
Part Three: Gender Orientation and Issues in Psychoanalytic Intervention
7. Sexual Orientation and Personal Distress: Shame, Stigma, and Homophobia
8. Sexual Orientation and Evaluation of Personal Adjustment
9. Psychodynamics of Sexual Orientation
10. "Ego-Dystonic" Homosexuality and the Issue of Reparative Therapy
11. Psychoanalytic Intervention among Gay Men and Women
12. Self, Sexual Identity, and the Psychoanalytic Situation
Conclusion: Toward a Developmental Perspective on Gay and Lesbian Lives
Author Index
Subject Index
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