Sex as Evacuation

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on the representation of sexual activity in the film Shame, directed by Steve McQueen (2011). I concentrate on the sexual encounters of the film’s male protagonist Brandon within the broader context of his relationship with his sister Sissy. I consider how psychoanalytic understandings of the paranoid-schizoid position can help us to think about how Brandon is represented in the film and, by extension, what a Kleinian psychoanalytic approach might contribute to clinical discussions about sex addiction. I argue that the film presents a man incapable of experiencing psychic pain. Instead, he concretizes it, splits it off, and projects it onto and into those around him. His bodily activities serve, unconsciously, as desperate attempts to stave off thinking and feeling through action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
JournalStudies in Gender and Sexuality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Jun 2015


  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychosocial Studies
  • Non-Clinical Case Study
  • sexual activity


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