I have been engaged with the topic of complex sexual identity and non-normative or non-mainstream sexual orientations ever since I was in graduate school at Smith, tackling the issues of heteronormativity in classical psychoanalytic theories of psychosexual development. My first article dealing with this, available below, was published in the Clinical Social Work Journal. In that article, I argued that Chodorow’s Reproduction of Mothering implied the possibility of a bisexual oedipal complex.

Reworking development al theory: The case of lesbian identity formation

Since those days, the ‘sea change’ in gender and sexuality has swept across the field of psychoanalysis and the social sciences in general, and this provided a rich background for my PhD study on the experience and psychodynamic meaning of consensual sexual power-exchange role play games. In this qualitative study, I found that seemingly ‘maladaptive’ — in fact, stigmatized and pathologized–sexual role play games could also function as an adaptive means to re-visit early parenting experiences and re-work old hurts, or at the very least demonstrate yet another interesting example of the surprising and unexpected ways in which human resilience operates and how lived experience often defies the constraining and often moralizing boundaries of normative theories of human development.

The following is a summary of the PhD thesis, which I will make available in its entirety at the end of 2012.

PhD summary: A-psychological-exploration-of-kinky-sex

From the PhD I published an article, based on one of the chapters (a single case analysis) which can be viewed here:

The Psychodynamics of Consensual Sadomasochistic and Dominant- Submissive Sexual Games