That which was “not”: Some thoughts regarding oedipus’s modern conflicts

Ofrit Shapira-Berman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Historically, psychoanalysis has positioned the Oedipus complex as its focal point, based on a parental configuration of two-parent families consisting of a (male) father and a (female) mother. The modern era allows, albeit highly ambivalently, for the diversity of marital and parental configurations, reflecting cultural change as well as advances in the medical-technology of in vitro fertilization and of sperm and egg donations. The author discusses the analyses of two lesbian women who have chosen to mother a baby via an anonymous sperm donation. The author then takes up the question of whether unconscious oedipal conflicts influenced the decisions these patients made. She also questions whether the father in contemporary analytic thinking needs be a (male) “father” who is the “third”, the “other”. The work of Freud, Loewald, Searles, Poland, Ogden, and others will be brought to bear on these questions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)247-271
Number of pages25
JournalPsychoanalytic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 N.P.A.P.


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