Steven Reisner: Just One More Question – New York Times Couch

“Eventually, we came around to my problem, which, of course, had echoes of former problems of mine with which he was familiar. He listened closely and, after a pause, looked me squarely in the eye, and with a deep knowledge of me, said, “You will not be fully yourself until you are wholly aligned with your sexuality.”

I tried to soften and generalize what he was saying to me: “You mean my life drive?”

He shrugged as if to say, Eh, that’s not quite it. “No, not your life drive,” he said. “That’s not your problem. Your sexuality.”

Martin’s generation of psychoanalysts had worked to tame sexuality, focusing instead on a more general need for relationships. This gentler version has become prominent in today’s psychoanalytic circles. But for Martin, this was only half the story. The other half was the problem of how to connect intimately with other people without compromising the productive disturbance that comes from true, physical sexual drive — what Freud called the “mischief­maker.”

I knew what Martin meant. He meant that I had to live my life in a way that included and harnessed that aspect of my life force that made me vibrate, that made me thrill to take action in the world, the part that connected me profoundly and physically with the world, with others, the part that was — there’s no other word for it — sexual.”


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