Moustapha Safouan

Ordinary Discourse and Sexual Difference Publication date : September 3, 2009

Certain analysts, like Rank, considered the male genital drive as the expression of the wish to return to the mother's womb. But where does that leave the corresponding female drive? Despite his tendency to speculate, Freud maintained a measured scepticism on the issue, limiting his remarks to underscoring the maternal taboo and the male child's nostalgia for a forever-unattainable pleasure. But here again nothing is said of girls' genital drive.

For Freud, as for Lacan, there is nothing in either male or female children of a nature that would prepare them for a future cooperation in view of sexual reproduction. What does exist for Freud and Lacan seems totally inconceivable — except for beings that believe only a single sexual organ exists, namely the phallus.

This book enables readers to understand how language, particularly ordinary discourse, is responsible for the difficulties encountered in talking about the human female. It re-examines the importance of symbolic mediation in female sexuality. By analysing female sexuality differently, and by asking not whether one is born female or becomes female, but how subjects, whatever their sex, develop a desire for males or females.

Moustapha Safouan is a psychoanalyst of the Lacanian school and a committed intellectual. He was born in Egypt in 1921. He is the author of Pourquoi le monde arabe n'est pas libre (2008), Lacan praticien (2008), Lacaniana (2001) and L'Inconscient et son scribe (1982).