Infantile Sexuality and Attachment

Editor : Daniel Widlocher

Infantile Sexuality and Attachment

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Freud wrote in 1905 that children’s sexual life, although dominated by the erogenous zones, also has components in which, from the beginning, other people appear as sexual objects. These people — the child’s relatives, caretakers and mother in particular — are also objects of vital attachment. How can we differentiate between these two forms of connections that are so easily confused with one another?

This controversy is as old as psychoanalysis, but recent challenging developments in attachment theory have made it impossible to maintain the traditional arguments. Commenting on a paper by Daniel Widlöcher on the “eternal debate” between those who see asexual attachment as the earliest bond and those who see infantile sexuality as primary, eight major contributors to psychoanalytic child studies set forth the current state of thinking in both camps.

Contributors: Jacques André, Eduardo Colombo, Pierre Fédida, Peter Fonagy, Jean Laplanche, Dominique Scarfone, Claire Squires, Daniel Widlöcher

Reviews and Endorsements

'The idea for this book arose in a debate stimulated by the new proposals of Widlocher on an ongoing issue for theoretical and clinical psychoanalysis: What are the respective roles of infantile sexuality and attachment (or primary love, if one prefers Balint's term to Bowlby's) in the construction of psychic life and the pathological forms it may take? Widlocher's paper is not only the one with which the book opens but the one which each of the following discussions comments on, puts in question, or critiques, each in its own way.'
- Jacques Andre, from his Preface

About the Editor(s)

Daniel Widlöcher is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He is a full member and training analyst of the French Psychoanalytical Association, former President of the International Psychoanalytical Association, Professor Emeritus at the University Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie University), and former Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris. He has written numerous publications on psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He trained as a medical doctor at the Paris Medical School, and he has received the International Psychoanalytical Association Sigourney Award as well as the Lima Ponticife University Doctor Honoris Causa.

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