The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 213–216 | Cite as

The Enigma of Desire: Sex, Longing, and Belonging in Psychoanalysis, by Galit Atlas, Routledge, New York, 2016, 179pp.

  • Spyros D. Orfanos
Book Reviews

With the publication of The Enigma of Desire, Galit Atlas establishes herself as an important new voice in the world of psychoanalysis. The theoretical landscape she occupies is contemporary relational ideas. The clinical terrain she navigates is the integration of the intersubjective with intrapsychic aspects of the mind, and in particular sexuality. She couples thick theoretical descriptions with clinical illustrations of the sexual in the consulting room. Atlas moves from the personal to the cultural and from the clinical to the theoretical with the ease and grace of a talented and confident thinker and practitioner.

Atlas holds that in many instances it is early relationships that generate and complicate desire and create sexual problems. She upholds an important principle of contemporary relational theory by being careful about binaries and hierarchies. For example, she avoids privileging the Oedipal over the pre-Oedipal and mother-infant ties over later development. Her book is...


  1. Aron, L. & Atlas, G. (2015). Generative enactments: Memories from the future. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 25, 309–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and PsychoanalysisNew YorkUSA

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