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The dark continent and its enigmas

Raquel Zak de Goldstein, Buenos Aires

Tu, que consolas, que nao existes e por isso consolas,
Ou deusa grega, concebida como estátua que fosse viva,
Ou patrícia romana, impossivelmente nobre e nefasta.
Ou princesa de trovadores, gentilíssima e colorida,
Ou marquesa de século dezoito, decota e longínqua,
Ou cocote célebre do tempo dos nossos pais... *
Fernando Pessoa, (Tobbaco Shop)

Car Je est un autre.
Arthur Rimbaud**

...No nos une el amor sino el espanto.
Será por eso que la quiero tanto.***
Jorge Luis Borges, (Buenos Aires)

Even a marriage is not made secure until the wife has succeeded in making her husband her child as well and in acting as a mother of him.
A woman’s identification with her mother allows us to distinguish two strata: the pre-Oedipus one which rests on her affectionate attachment to her mother and takes her as a model, and the one from the Oedipus complex which seeks to get rid of her mother and taker her place with her father... But the phace of the affectionate pre-oedipus attachment is the decisive one of a woman’s future: during it preparations are made for the acquisition of the characteristics with which she will later fulfill her role in the sexual function and perform her invaluable social tasks. It is in this identification too and that she acquires her attractiveness to a man, whose Oedipus attachment to his mother it kindles into passion... an impression that we are constantly receiving during analitic practise [is that] a man of about thirty strikes us a youthful, somewhatunformed individual, whom we expect to make powerful use of the possibilities for development opened up to him by analysis. A woman of the same age, however often frightens us by her psychical rigidity and unchangeability... as through, indeed, the difficult development to femininity had exhausted the possibilities of the person concerned...
But do not forget that I have only been describing women in so far as their nature is determined by their sexual function. It is true that influence extends very far; but we do not overlook the fact that an individual woman may be a human being in other respect as well... enquire from your own experiences of life, or turn to the poets or wait until science can give you deeper and more coherent information (Freud, 1933, pp. 133-5).
Female sexuality has given rise to numerous controversies, especially centering on certain subjects since Freud. Some of these controversies seem to find an answer in phycoanalytic practice, whereas other are beyond this peculiar kind of observation since clinical experience may become inaccurate, as Freud himself pointed out. Some of his well know metaphors like the ‘dark continent’and others have further contributed to obscuring the subject of femininity, thus a prior making the key question ‘what does a woman desire?’ difficult or even impossible to answer. Perhaps the unconscious presence of a perjudice he tried to avoid several times exertes a decisive influence on the Freudian theoretical edifice in connection with female pychology, thus preventing a wider examination of it.
Let us examine the subject. An already debated first issue refers to the theory of the existence of a phallic phase, common to both sexes and therefore, highly important to the development of psychosexuality. The comparison of the clitoris with a little penis, ‘which might eventually grow’or that ‘has already ben cut’ though observable in tha fantasies of women in analysis, was later shown to be a defensive screen. As derivatives of that comparison, the Penisneid and theFreudian female csatration complex as well as the disputed idea of the ‘two female orgasms’, the clitorial and tha vaginal, lose their former weight.
The ‘subordination an integration’ of the partial drives to genital primacy, pre ordered in terms of the reproductive function, constitutes another classical conception (though not irrefutable for that reason) which faces us with the risk of subordinating female sexuality to a manerity where biology prevails, thus blurring the problem or female desire.
I think that a clinical level the analysis of little girls has irrefutably shown not only the early knowledge, both in girls and boys, of the existence of the vagina, but also the presence of vaginal perceptions in the girls, which may (or may not) later succumb to repression (Aberastury, 1970). Most authors, have agreed on this (e.g. Kleinm 1932; Greenacre, 1953, and others).
At the clinical level I agree with Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel (1975) that the ‘theory of sexual phallic monism’does not fully account for may issues which remain obscure.
With respect to the female problem, I think it a secisive step to study the characteristics and consequences of a peculiar relation of continuity, intimacy and closeness observable during the pre-oedipal phase between the girl and her mother, a relation Freud was also aware of. It is my view that this attachment does not allow for an appropriate distance to be established between them (not as wide as for the boy) at the onset of the depressive position.
The question must be raised as to the effects this situation may habe on all the girl’s mechanisms and phychic economy.
‘The male essence of the libido’, an alteady debated issue, led to the active-male confusion to which Freud has drawn our attention; however, it is still difficult not to equate female with passive and see that the female ‘evokes’ in the male not only his ‘rejected femininity’ but also the multiple traces of the cut (coupure) in the archaic erotic experience which very early separated the boy from his carnality in order for him to became female.
The female is a fascinating and enigmatic object, mainly because she brings tha male close to what was ‘most familiar’ and was transformed after the cut (courpure) into the ‘Unheimlich’, Freud’s ‘uncanny’. The image of the cloaca also contributes to this, and, being her to these phenomena, becomes part of the female’s imaginary body, thus transforming her interior and genitalia into a ‘black hole’. In the light of our present understanding it is these complex fantasies that originate the repression of the knowledge of the vagina. The female, her inner world and sexuality from there on acquire a fascinating and terrible, universally strange quality.
Personally I think that our view of female sexuality becomes enriched by considering the dilemma woman constitutes for man. I shall now develop some of these ideas, centred on theoretical research and starting from the differences in the early process of sexualization in both the girl and the boy.


The Mandanes Indians of North America (Levi-Strauss, 1958) used to give an ancient piece od advice: ‘It would be better if you went beyond the river and build your own village there so as not to see the smoke of our houses... In this way, we shall be near enough to be friends and not so far as to be enemies’ .
We know that only if an appropiate distance is established between the two, will the passage from the ‘perfect love’ of the symbiotic fusion of primay narcissim toward indiciduation asn object relation be possible. Space is needed for the emergence of the germ of identity and the recognition of other.
The child, who is the stuffed bear of his parents’pleasure, prematurely enters ‘the mirror stage’ (studied by Wallon (1931) and described as such by Jacques Lacan (1936)). Although incomplete and unfinished, unable either to survive or to master his gestures, he is able to recognize himself in the mirror. He can turn back, look at another person and perceive separation. He has ‘discovered’ otherness and ‘is moved’ by this situation he will have to live in. Play will be his key and desire his motor.
It is paradoxical (and in my view decisive, owing its determining effects on the enigmatic and uncanny female nature) that the first notion of identity in the infans, what is most his own, comes from the outside, from that mirror image visually captured, and from an ‘alien’, the mother who is gazing at him. At this structural moment, between tha ages of six and eighteen month, the propioceptive data, dispersed and uncoordinated, given the ‘specific prematurity of bith in man’ (Bolk, 1926), become unified in a self-image. But this has its price. A ‘haemorrhage’ of narcissistic libido illusorily accompanies the disappearance (in the cut) of that someone strangely his own, who there acquires the alter ego’s characteristics; namely, as living dead, as double. As an analysand once said, after attending a performance of Warner’s opera The Flying Dutchman, it hurts as if it were an amputee’s ‘ghost limb’. It is the uncanny feeling of something that is not there. Moreover, throught this mirror experience of the infans, we can infer some consequences I consider decisive for the sexualization process, even at this early stage.
In this stage, thought the mother’s gaze, the ‘infans’ has received precise instructions as to ‘who he is’ and ‘how he must be’ in order to be loved and recognized. One may think that in this stage tha bases of the self-image are already laid with a female as well as a male identity. The narcissistic identification, which is the nucleus of identity, come from this play of glances in the mirror stage. Before this, the fantasy of the torn body predominates. (This experience has been corroborated by child psychology and comparative psychology.) The libido localized in the erogenous zones simultaneously ‘delineates’ in the infans a body inhabited by local desires. This set of zones and partial drives also becomes gradually unified by a skin surface which constitutes what we consider the primitive erogenous body.
It is my view that this experience of the "fragmented body" gives way to a sense of unity with a sexual attribute .
I think that when Freud hears the angry complaints of men and women at the beginning and above all at the end of analysis, he wonders in surprise: what do they want? and he finally thinks that it is a question of biology, of the bedrock.
He was in fact dealing with the effects of the carnal experience of mutilation produced by the cut which interrupted fusion. This is an indelible mark accompanied by anxiety and a feeling that "something" is lacking; something feared and wished for, something that constitutes itself in the motor of desire from there on. It is precisely at that moment that the weaning experience takes place, just when a rudimentary recognition of non-Ego emerges, together with hate and aggressivity. The mother removed herself physically, and "failed" in the previous illusionary satisfaction (as in Winnicott) by momentarily interrupting the circuit of drives and communication. The infantile desire, here set in motion, will search for that "something" in "that peculiar detail" belonging to the loved and "lost" familiar figure, this perhaps being the predecessor of the fetish. The child searches for that detail in a gaze, a smell or a feature; in whatever is capable of moving him to evoke and to release the hallucinatory gratification. "That" which is lost is what Jacques Lacan (23) called objet petit a in a topography of desire; Winnicott's transitional object, a man-made object- being its initial "support".
This "object" is related to separation and to the cut, it is in the body, in an orifice, a passage place, between outside and inside . Its direct reemergence is accompanied by anxiety experiences owing to its source in "what is most familiar and has been lost" (1919) (10). It places us vis a vis the"uncanny" with its mixture of repugnance and thanatic fassination. The objet petit a seems to be an appropriate concept to explain the process that originates the previously fetishized lure, since it belongs to the uncanny in the experience of separation from the mother which is equated with a mutilation of one's own body.
This has to do with a remnant objet, with an experience with the death drive, in the domain of primitive erogenous masochism (1924) (11) J on account of its origin it would seem to be neither assimilable nor imaginable.
This object can neither be integrated nor endowed with an image. These characteristics coincide with those of the objet petit a and in turn seem to be clearly different from the Kleinian part object. It is the cause rather than the object of desire.
In Freud it is equivalent to what is not representable. Being the libido's initial support, this object is at the same time a last and irreducible reservoir because it borders on the narcissistic libido. I think it was this characteristic that led Freud to the metaphor of the bedrock (1937) (14), for lack of an appropriate concept, This seems to be further evidence of its dual nature: Eros and Thanatos are placed side by side in this little "object", which is impossible to locate in any known referential object category.
The increase of anxiety makes the infans search for and "salvage" (he"finds", says Winnicott) from his environments, a "something" with which he establishes a relationship. The infans, as subject, is supported and conforted "by this object". This piece of something familiar from his environment is in a way the primitive vehicle for some of his bodily identity; even though, for the baby, there is not yet a body as such. These are decisive moments since the resources for the mastery of anxiety and persecution are then set in motion. If the narcisistic injury does not prevail, cathectization and object love will begin. The future object relation will rise from the play on this objet petit a and from the uncanny that surrounds the laceration of its initial emergence, mediated by "that piece of something familiar" the transitional object and its heirs. The relation between the transitional object and the objet petit a appears to be the obverse and reverse of the mutilation experience The former involves Eros and the latter Thanatos, because the former object, susceptible of being manipulated, brings them together in a rudimentary relation by fending off the anxiety surrounding "that little object" burdened with the thanatic omnipotence that permeated its origin.
This primitive procces may be correlative to that of sexualization since it is clearly different for each sex. I think that the mother neither looks at nor manipulates the girl in the same way as the boy. Her gaze summarizes expectations and wishes that order and define the sexual profile of each. The boy is very early separated by his mother from closeness with her body and desire. The girl instead is held in that closeness, this making her consequently run the risks of dual identity with the mother. The maternal circuit, indispensable for her female identification, will be her "world" for a long time: Up to the time of her menarche the girl will function in a defensive "day dream", as characterized by the classical Fairy Tales I have dealt with in another paper (30). The father being "absent" and the good mother "dead", she must live with the phallic mother embodied in the witch image. Her belated detachment is made real in maternity's cut, impregnated with the same uncanny persecutory quality (as shown in clinical experience /by puerperal anxieties and psychosis) that the male is faced with in the primitive imago.


Resorting to applied psychoanalysis, we find the following remarks in Freud's "Moses and Monotheism" (1939) (15) when referring to the matriarchal social order, later succeeded by the patriarchal. He writes: ".... this turning from the mother to the father points in addition to a victory on intellectuality over sensuality, that is, an advance in civilization, since maternity is proved by the evidence of the senses while paternity is a hypothesis, based on an inference and a premiss. Taking sides in this way with a thought process in preference to a sens perception has proved to be a momentous step". Is the thought process given preference? .. I do really think it is a momentous step from the point of view of its unconscious influence on the constitution of an ideological bastion, because of the loss that the estrangement from the knowledge of the carnal body of sensuality and sense perception means for the boy, namely, "what belong to women".
Intellectuality and abstract words linked to universality and the transmission of power substitute for this knowledge among men, who are thus alienated from sense perception, the imaginary projective-introjective contimuum, that is at work from the very beginning for boys as well as for girls. This is mode of communication inherent to the primitive symbiotic fusion.
The girl must remain within the affectionate aspect of the "mother-attachment" in order to identify herself as a female. This attachment retains much of its primitive nature imparting some peculiarities to the female bond and therefore causing major complications not only in the vicissitudes of the Oedipus Complex (as regards both its phases) but also, definitely in the process of acquisition of her feminine autonomy.
On the one hand, the girl is absorbed by the conflic1 of ambivalence and the excessive closeness of the primitive figure; and on the other, the processes of female identification keep he preoccupied with her body, her integrity and her possessions from early childhood. She is held in and must not only restrict her centrifugal impulse but circumscribe her play as well. She is brought up in and for the concentric universe of the carnal body (l9) of maternity and of the family circle. H.Blum, R. Stoller, E. Galenson and H. Roiphe (16) carried out significant research in the field of female identity.
In having to acquire the desirability (inherent to the nurturing breast and to the mother who introduced eroticism) necessary for the function of "sexual lure" for the male, she becomes an image that primarily "speaks" to erogenicity and desire and secondarily to others. She receives from a distance herfather's sexual instructions as well. As opposed to the boy, who "has" the mother on his side from the start and needs to "escape" from her to differentiate himself, the girl must create means for attracting her father's gaze and love, and "deserve" him. The real father, "distant" from the background, forces the girl to learn the art of fighting among women so as to dodge the maternal persecutory presence and bring him close to her father's world. The relation to reality and action is wider and it is made easier by this early separation. The real father immediate presence between the boy and his mother introduces "space" and allows for differentiation. The boy is very early forced besides to utilize defensive mechanisms such as splitting, foreclosure and the like so that he can "ignore what he experienced" in the fused diadic relationship, thus remaining far from the maternal carnal space and obedient to paternal law.
I think this has decisive future effects on his relationship with the female. We can also infer its influence (in an unconssious interaction) on the factors that determine what is "feminine" for the male and for the female.
This early divergence affects the girl and the boy significantly. Is there anything characteristic about the gir in this "beforehand"? Is there something like a maternal law (in addition to the basic paternal law common to both) in the pre-Oedipal process which might constitute a peculiarity in he psychic apparatus? And if, as it seems, there is no threat comparable to the boy's castration anxiety for the girl, who remains a long while in the maternal circuit, what indeed happens? Wouldn't the modes of identification in the female be essentially different from those in the male? We are faced with a set of effects which are peculiar to the evolution of the girl and which impose characteristic marks on the female personality and on the vicissitudes of women.
The paths of the girl and the boy separated very early in life. The boy, complicated and hurried by his sexualization, had to separate his own torn body, split himself and also dissociate the object in order to foreclose what he had experienced in his archaic sexuality. He had to preserve his male sex and at the same time his possible access to the female which implies evoking his mother, he achieves this by creating the fetish which acts as mediator and support, in this situation, it is not the perverse fetish, but an original production of human sexuality, the boy creates this fetish and the girl plays the lure. It is precisely this function that imbues what is feminine with mystery; as we see, it is a veile evocation of that archaic familiar "something". Infantile sexual desire is fixated to this lure-object, whose action also dominates the primitive anxiety, "catastrophic anxiety" (27), "nameless horror" for Bion, "inconceivable anxiety" for Winnicott, which rises out of the amputated cut where that los "something" remains like a disjointed remnant of the mutilated being, nor does it fit into any habitual scheme of reference, however, in theory as well as in clinical practice, we must deal with that remnant, perhaps the cause of the "certain abnormality” pointed out by Joyce McDougall (26), and consider it normal inherent to human sexuality.
Our sexuality came into action precisely because of initial lack of adjustment between necessity and desire due the cut; it produced those remnants or "residues" susceptible of becoming fetishes, that certain abnormality; it is the unattainable "something", "ghost" of what was lost, the place of human desire.
In the young woman, the fate of these residues susceptible of becoming fetishes takes a peculiar turn: they come constitute, in "herself" precisely, the set of clues and emblems which later will be displayed by femininity in the "play of lure".
They put into play certain acts whose ambiguity is due to the uncanny and seductive nature surrounding that which it is meant to evoke in the male. The female simulates with her femininity the lure of the desire for that "something" of the ecstasy of the experience of satisfaction which she initially experienced as well. This promotes an aesthetic jouissance referring to "Beauty" and at the same time avoids provoking displeasure thus avoiding anxiety. Change of appearance, make up, dress, and all that functions to delimit, acquire the value of a lure and tend to surprise, provoking and activating the necessary excitation, curiosity and impulse for possession and mastery. This will succeed (through one of its aspects) in becoming articulated with the individual detail of fetish of each man. The fetish functions as an element of connection or precipitation of the unconscious fantasy of the "individual primal scene", for which his eroticism fantasized a plot. The male's fetish may belong either to the type of fetish we may name as "precipitator" or to the perverse type of fetish. The first, the precipitating fetish, is the connection that paves the way to sexual behaviour, mediating sexual fantasies and rendering the field of the relationship instinctual, thus propitiating coitus. The perverse type of fetish, all to the contrary, occupies the center of the imaginary scene and in reality prevents the field from becoming instinctive, coexisting with a personality having a perverse structure (3).
The play of the lure also manifests the articulation of infantile sexual polymorphism, organized in forepleasure. The female body, on the one hand, is identified with her mother's body: here it is lure and key to pleasure. On the other hand, it alludes to the emptiness of the object (familiar-forbidden); this is the other function of the female: to hide that emptiness, which is covered up by her as lure-woman. In essence, the base is the maternal sign. The voice, the gazes, the female body, already cathecticized by that characteristic and mysterious darkness, invites "profanation", to play with the forbidden, transgression of the interdiction on that archaic "incest". In pathology, the Marquis de Sade is its paradigmatic example.
The female finds herself placed in a difficult role: privileged object of desire and at the same time, insurance against the foreclosed return of a forbidden and anguishing experience. She must evoke and forget her first experience of jouissance and impotence and lacerations the most uncanny of human experiences.


The female sign is basically a maternal sign; for this reason it is pregnant with its essential aspects, as Freud pointed out in 1913 (9) and in 1900 (9)s "...the mother herself, the beloved one who is chosen after her pattern, and lastly the Mother Earth who receives him once more."
Something like the Biblical unification of "the three faces of Eve" is at the base of adult sexuality. This triple meaning of the mother: generator of life, object of desire and carrier of death, is what contributes to the essence of "th real presence " studied by Freud in "Das Unheimlich" ( "The Uncanny"). Freud shows that the uncanny is equivalent to what was once domestic and familiar, now become terrifying; he does not yet refer to the death drive, although the concept is already present, ready to be formulated somewhat later in his work. The prefix "un-" indicates the mark of its ulterior repression, especially suffered by the boy, who is drastically forced to alienate himself from all that is familiar to him.
"... belonging to the house... The warm room... The lullaby-heimlich... The sentinel's horn... [the] voice invites so hospitably..." ", love, sin; heimlich places (which good manners oblige us to conceal)..." (l0}; this is what will be taken upon herself by the young woman who, in her female and maternal identification, becomes from then on the object of the man's ambivalence: desired and repudiated for her essential maternal origin. This is the mark of the sexualization of both.


Since the malerenounced the archaic carnal bond in order to become sexualized, he lost his direct relationship with that jouissance beyond phallic jouissance. Bound to the concrete curve of tumescence and alien to feminine jouissance (essentially equivalent to the other) the phallic orgasm of the male is burdened by castration anxiety and the loss of mastery over his desire. It can expand only through his perception (by projection) of the woman's enjoying body (1979) (17). It is this that makes preliminary erotic play and imaginary participation in female orgasms and voluptuosity so signiflcant. "This mysterious carnal jouissance" without reference to a leading organ continues to be the supreme erotic attraction for the male. This must be the supplement of the female's jouissance that psychoanalysis inquires about. It is in female jouissance (as jouissance of the carnal body) that the male may find himself again and evoke something of his own primitive jouissance, mythical fantasy of completeness without cut, illusion of oneness and experience of the limit.
As the clitoris is not subject to detumescence as is the penis, this circumstance allows for the continuing promotion of female pleasure. The female orgasm may be as vast as the disposition of both partners permits; it is limited by the body and by anxiety (castration anxiety) and by the death drive. Female carnal constitution is available for her for the development of the expansion of her pleasure in successive waves during foreplay. But the erogenous body rests upon a heterogeneous carnal body which is real and measurable. This is the limit and "real" curb on pleasure.
This vision strengthens our conviction of the necessity of revising the theoretical conception which, based on the phallus, made the encounter between male and female hinge upon its possession or lack.
On the one hand, this theory gave reason to think in terms of a common denominator for both sexes: one which has a penis and the other which does not have a penis; its influence was especially noticeable in a conception of sexual relations which implied a carnal encounter which in sensu stricto is always insufficient in comparison with what is expected of it. On the other hand, it produced innumerable disturbances in psychoanalytic practice: in the analysis of women, for example, it led to a tendency to stagnation in a search for the relationship between clitorideal jouissance and vaginal orgasm as the key to the resolution of female sexuality, often deriving in sterile sexology; in the analysis of men, it also tended to leave unanswered questions about women and their enigmatic behaviour in pleasure, not equatable to the phallus, and about the location and more precise understanding of perverse polymorphism and its function in the ma1e's sexual fantasies.
The game of the sexes, magnificently represented in Luis Buñuel's film, "That Obscure Object of Desire", leaves no doubt on all this: it revolves around the quality of attraction and horror of the object. Female behaviour uses the lure (metaphorically) to promote sexual fantasy.
The relation seen between the lure object and that "something" of the lost object of love (namely, what had to be repressed of that first carnal cut) becomes evident: both share the same quality of uncanny ambiguity in which they move, with respect to their characteristics and also with respect to the distance they maintain in relation to what is known on the one hand (dangerous if the Heimlich of the archaic "incest" is too thinly veiled) and in relation to the unknown (death, its complement) on the other hand.
The play of the lure, with its characteristic ambiguous conformation, is a creation that indicates the counterpoint between the libido and the dual nature of the pulsations of life and death that beat from the beginning in human sexuality.


The male is ordered by the paternal law in force, limited by a norm that equates him with all males, and endowed with a visible distinguishing trait, axis of his sexuality, the penis. The woman, primarily desirable, is a lure and by definition is diversity, the unpredictable; another essential difference also acting in her enigmatic character. She is PROTEUS.
Procreation, as the culmination of a phase of woman´s sexuality, also circumscribes the carnal body and its feminine openings. Her inscription in the mother genus, which does possess a common denominator, the children, allows her to inhabit her body and apprehend it as a set of reactions whose causality and meanings may now be recognized as belonging to generic universal laws, those of reproduction. The cloaca dissolves and the process of transmission of the laws of sexualization is consummated. Participating in the process of procreation and upbringing, and through the mirror stage as mother of her children, she has become included in a configuration of symbolic relations which lead to a formalization of reality and permit her to pass from the individual to the universal. She frees herself from the prison that "living embodied" nearly exclusively in the carnal individual (because of her function as sexual lure and in maternity) represented for her.
The woman remains bound in this way to a generic law. The mirror support that first characterized the mother-daughter relationship and its derivatives is displaced, at the moment of her maternity (or her truly equivalent achievements) the woman receives recognition from the social and family context to which she belongs, and her child acquires value as a factor of resolution in the development of her female identification, granting her by this consensus a legal support for a sufficient identity. This is the second phase in female sexuality.


A deeply-rooted prejudice in psychoanalysis has been to consider (along with Freud) that the girl´s psychosexual development is dark and more complicated; this ideologized what is female in psychoanalysis.
From the above exposition, one may infer some factors intervening in the genesis of this prejudice. The vicissitudes of the male in his sexualization lead him to fight from the beginning in order to escape the temptation of returning to his former fusion with the maternal image, holder of primitive power, the phallic mother, the great nurturing mother.
Captured by these early demands imposed on him by his sexualization and by the Oedipal plot, he loses access to his primitive carnal body, the body that was involved during the fusion with the "experience of satisfaction". We can think that this vicissitude of his archaic sexuality is (as Freud writes in "Moses and Monotheism") "a momentous step" due to the drastic carnal "loss" involved and its ulterior effects.
Instead of preserving his body with a penis (axis of paternal recognition and basis for his male identity) he removes a part of himself to which he can return -later on- only for the love of a woman.
From this viewpoint, the dilemma of love between the sexes and what Freud terms "the female enigma" take on another meaning; the male seeks in the female, with desire and horror, what he had to separate from himself very early in life. His anxiety when faced with the absence of the object, this being most uncanny, leads him to escape from integrative processes. Instead, he uses the mechanisms of splitting and foreclosure, together with degradation, and conceives of "several types of females". By maintaining the splitting and by removing one of the faces of the primitive mother, the uncanny one, the face of the reality of life and death, the male seeks to preserve only the loving face. The anxiety of finiteness and of the lack of certainty provided by integration and acceptance of his autonomy come together in that type of complicity: both tend to abet or to accept the effects of dissociation through the assignnent of roles and privileges. The technical difficulties of clinical work in dismantling this defensive style involved in the play of power and of "masculine preeminence" evidence its origin in a serious hurt that seems irreparable; the male (latently) accuses the female of it and she "admits her guilt".
For this reason it is not only from the male that the lifting of the repulse may come (since the foreclosure of the carnal seems to structure his male psychosexuality). From him or may expect: an absolution of the mothers (who retained for them selves the exercise of power and of sensuality and carnality); a gradual integration of his archaic and Oedipal erogenicity; and the renouncement of the thanatic retreat of reactive "phallic" narcissism. The reciprocal knowledge of the psychic and sexual diversity between males and females would contribute to the awareness of the persecutory contents involved in the prejudice against the female and would give the carnal body its place, even though the anxiety of the limits reemerged as well.
Perhaps this is even more difficult for the male since the female (so close to the flesh) has also become accustomed to dealing with death and the dead. The strength that the human need for certainty (due to the basic death anxiety) acquires in our psyche may have influenced the formation of a bastion out of an ideologic nucleus as regards the sexes.
This would provide the "beliefs" which are subsequently valued as "idealized objects" functioning as omnipotent protectors.
Might female "phallicism" have influenced Freud to the extent of guiding the thought of the founder of psychoanalysis? From the beginning, overwhelmed in transference by the female madness manifested by the hysteric in her insatiable desire for the mythical father, perhaps he was tempted to think he was just that. A sum of factors finally leads him to the prejudice that female psychology is obscure and complex and to the idea that paves the way for the theory of phallocentrism with which he also hides his shyness toward sex and placates the turbulent sexual appetite attributable to women. Freud "removes them ideologically" to a distance in order to avoid temptation; so that they may not devour him in the forbidden relationship, namely the dual relationship.
But the risk has been the death of desire, making love life appear banal through formal considerations, a danger he himself was aware of at numerous moments in his work.
A prohibition and a demand remain standing in Freudian teaching: the prohibition of narcissistic autoerotic withdrawal and the demand to give and receive (24); Freud warned us that it is necessary to be selfish in order to live, but that it is necessary to love in order not to fall ill.
We still lack the metapsychological status of love; the forbidden in incest is the prohibition of the primitive relationship and at the same time the promotion of desirings: it is the female_who guarantees that oscillation of the prohibited and sustains desiring. The potentiality of the lure is based on the desirability of the maternal breast. As erotic and antithanatic lure, she must set sexual play in motion. The followlng quotation from Freud aids us and invites us to reflexion:
"... the man almost always feels his respect for the woman acting as a restriction on his sexual activity, and only develops full potency when he is with a debased sexual object, and this in its turn is partly caused by the entrance of perverse components into his sexual aims, which he does not venture to satisfy with a woman he respects (...) It sounds not only disagreeable but also paradoxical, yet it must nevertheless be said that anyone who is to be really free and happy in love must have sur mounted his respect for women and have come to terms with the idea of incest with his mother or sister ..." * (1912) (7).

* (My underlining)


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The following quotation-from Freud (1912) may be the thread of this paper, and must surely resound throughout: "... anyone who is to be really free and happy in love must have surmounted his respect for women and have come to terms with the idea of incest with his mother or sister". In the author's view, the female would not precisely be victim of this imaginary encounter, neither would she take the initiative. Instead, she would function as "lure", a key concept in the present theoretic-clinical paper. The lure alludes to desire, and desire to the objet petit a (Lacan), described by the author. Desire differs from need in that need demands real objects and specific action, whereas for desire both "caviare" and "smoked salmon" (to quhote Freud's example) mean the same. The objet petit a "runs through" these "normal fetishes" and when it settles in one of these, it becomes perversion.
The function of "lure" defines the female, however, a double identification for each sex, not identical with the Freudian concept of bi-sexuality, is postulated. This by no means implies that the body is not involved. It is involved, but the author attempts to prevent the hypothesis of the traumatic experience implicit in the acknowledgement of the "anatomical distinction" from obscuring the understanding of the "psychical distinction" between the sexes A lack must be recognized, not quantitative but radical.
Another key subject in this paper is that of the sexualization process. As psychosexuality is not "mere" sexuality, psychoanalysis is interested in the complex and quite precocious relationship, quite different for each sex, between the infans and his mother.
The author describes the situation for both sexes during the mirror stage, when previously disperse and incoordinate proprioceptive data are unified in a selfimage. Identity is assigned to the infans from outside, just as he receives his name and the expectations others place in him.
The little boy is not only separated from his mother`s body very early, but also from closeness with her; whereas the little girl is held in by her mother (Freud acknowledged the relevance of her pre-Oedipal phase) and later acquires the desirability of the nurturing breast. The little girl cannot relativize the mother's power by means of a hostile cathexis. She will only be able to do so when she functions as a mother herself, namely, when she has acceded to universal laws. Before then, she must evoke and repudiate the first experience of jouissance-impotence-laceration.