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Oedipal Rejection: Echoes in the Relationships of Gay Men By Scott Harms Rose ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Oedipal Rejection:

Chapter One


The situation that I chose to study derives from stories I have heard from a clinical population of gay men regarding consistent difficulties with initiating and sustaining intimate relationships with other gay men.

This difficulty is one of two general but persistent themes that I often have heard weaving through the narratives of this clinical population. Many of the gay men I have worked with have expressed some of the following complaints: They find themselves having only a series of disproportionately or prematurely sexual relationships that are fleeting in nature; they find their relationships lacking in emotional depth; they do not know how to negotiate roles within relationships or considerations about “open” or “closed” relationships; they feel misunderstood or incompletely understood; they explicitly assert the wish to have only “casual,” “easy” relationships with no emotional commitments, yet the latent content of their communications may convey a craving for emotional intimacy; they are made anxious by considering the revelation of their emotional needs to their relationship partners and fear being terribly hurt by those partners; they feel frightened of not knowing whether they will always be alone, or whether they will ever master the intricacies of dating and relationships that they feel straight people have had more chances to practice openly since adolescence; they do not see committed, intimate relationships modeled for them in any public way within the gay community and are unsure or even despairing of whether those relationships are possible for any man, let alone between two gay men.

The second theme that I often hear is patients reporting having felt “different” from other boys, often both early in their lives and