Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Women's accounts of 'Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous'
Author: Chasan, Elis
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 3110
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
own discourses as well as those of seven women who attend SLAA meetings in London. It intends to contribute to the understanding of the employment of a Twelve Steps programme for the regulation of emotions and women’s current difficulties in relationships. The thesis provides a historical account of what has been considered ‘excessive’ in women’s intimate relationships and thus deemed to require regulation. It demonstrates how, despite historical changes in social perceptions of excess in sex and love, continuous preoccupation with the irrationality of love nonetheless still exists, which has been more directly linked to femininity. SLAA’s origins are examined, including their adoption of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Twelve Steps programme. This programme aims at the avoidance of alcohol consumption, and it has been adapted to the field of regulating relationships. The constitutive problems this causes will be examined. This thesis demonstrates how the infiltration of therapeutic discourse in SLAA has transformed the programme from a spiritual to a hybrid one: spiritual and therapeutic. From a psychoanalytic perspective, the thesis discusses themes of love and phantasy and looks at the different positions women can occupy in relationships. I argue that the loss of faith in the narrative of patriarchal power has led to a crisis, in which the bearer of the phallus is no longer self-evident. I explore how this crisis has been associated with the decline of the paternal metaphor in Lacanian psychoanalysis, which as a consequence has altered the organisation of desire and has contributed to uncertainties in relationships, which I argue that SLAA is a symptom of. My methodological approach is influenced by different theoretical frameworks, including the use of thematic analysis to organise data and narrative analysis to inform the interview approach. The analysis of themes is informed by Lacanian psychoanalytic and sociological theories. The findings are organised in themes that clearly reflect the participants’ absorption of SLAA’s discourse and show how they have negotiated SLAA’s operations and strategies. A strong commonality was found in the participants’ accounts of their difficulties, indicating how problems in relationships are conceptualised in SLAA. There was also some evident ambivalence characterising the ways in which participants reported traditional feminine positions. The discourse of sex and love addiction signals the difficulties in women’s ability to relate whilst keeping a sense of autonomy; it frames the inherent difficulties of love as addictions and promotes a discourse of self-sufficiency and independence, echoing the discourse of narcissism. Overall, there are clear shortcomings in the programme related to the legacy of the twelve-step framework (which promotes avoidance) and of its therapeutic discourse that encourages autonomy, in ways that are incompatible with the experience of love. This discourse does not offer any original solutions for the new challenges of relationships; however, it does provide an excellent temporary space for containment and reflection for women who are undergoing emotional crises.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral