Oedipal Rejection: Echoes in the Relationships of Gay Men

by Scott Harms Rose


While previous theorists have described how the oedipal complex may unfold for boys who grow up to be gay, as well as separately discuss the impact of shaming experiences on the development of one’s identity, this book links up the two to show how they contribute––for the gay men in this study––to a re-enactment in adulthood of childhood and adolescent traumas and rejections.

This book shows how growing up in a heterosexist or homophobic environment re-stimulates the unconscious trauma experienced much earlier when these boys felt rejected by their primary oedipal objects––their fathers. In other words, there is a direct link for these boys between early traumatic oedipal rejection, subsequent adolescent alienation / fear of rejection, and adult attempts at relationship intimacy that are thwarted, over and over.

In addition, by making use of the work of another theorist who speculated about the healing power for gay adolescent males of having platonic love affairs with straight male peers, the author speculates about a possible normative developmental path for boys who grow up to be gay––one that allows for generative, not traumatic, experiences during childhood and adolescent, thus making relationship intimacy in adulthood easier to achieve.

This book will be a valuable addition for those in psychology, men’s studies, and sociology.


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