Early Female Sexuality : 24th April 1935 : Ernest Jones

by Julia Evans on April 25, 1935

Read before the Vienna Psycho–Analytical Society on 24th April 1935.

Published in the Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse, Bd. xxi.,

and in the International Journal of Psycho–Analysis, vol. xvi.

Available [here]

7th December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans or here

This text referenced by Jacques Lacan

Seminar IV : 5thDecember 1956 : See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

References to Sigmund Freud

P511 : Of this phase Freud says,’ Everything connected with this first mother–attachment has in analysis seemed to me so elusive, lost in a past so dim and shadowy, so hard to resuscitate that it seemed as if it had undergone some specially inexorable repression.’ :

From Female Sexuality : 1931 : Sigmund Freud : p373 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7, pfl : Our insight into this early, pre-Oedipus, phase in girls comes to us as a surprise, like the discovery, in another field, of the Minoan-Mycenaean civilization behind the civilization of Greece.

Everything in the sphere of this first attachment to the mother seemed to me so difficult to grasp in analysis – so grey with age and shadowy and almost impossible to revivify – that it was as if it had succumbed to an especially inexorabe repression. But perhaps I gained this impression because the women who were in analysis with me were able to cling to the very attachment to the father in which they had taken refuge from the early phase that was in question.

P511 : And is it a masculine attitude, as clitoritic masturbation would seem to indicate? Roughly speaking, this would appear to be Freud’s view.

Not quite I think : p11 – Introduction to ‘Female Sexuality : The early psychoanalytic controversies : Edited by Russell Grigg, Dominique Hecq, and Craig Smith : Rebus Press 1999 : Quote : More relevant to an understanding of the nature of femininity, however, is what Freud makes clear in ‘The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex’ : 1924, namely, that the little girl can respond in three ways to castration, and thus that the Oedipus complex has three possible outcomes for women : the masculinity complex, hysteria, or a normality – which, by the way, still needs defining in 1932. (Probably Sigmund Freud: New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis : Sigmund Freud : 1932 (Published 1933)

And/or

Clitoridal masturbation in girls first appeared in Essay III Transformations of puberty in Three Essays of the Theory of Sexuality : 1905 : Sigmund Freud : Section ‘Leading Zones in Men and Women : p142 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7 On Sexuality : The leading erotogenic zone in female children is located at the clitoris, and is thus homologous to the masculine genital zone of the glans penis. … p143 : If we are to understand how a little girl turns into a woman, we must follow the further vicissitudes of this excitability of the clitoris. Puberty, which brings about so great an accession of libido in boys, is marked in girls by a fresh wave of repression, in which it is precisely clitoridal sexuality that is affected. What is thus overtaken by repression is a piece of masculine sexuality.

And/or

‘Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes’ : 1925j : Sigmund Freud : p339 of James Strachey’s translation in Vol 7, pfl : Quote : There is yet another surprising effect of penis-envy, or of the discovery of the inferiority of the clitoris, which is undoubtedly the most important of all. In the past I had often formed an impression that in general women tolerate masturbation worse than men, that they more frequently fight against it and that they are unable to make use of it in circumstances in which a man would seize upon it as a way of escape without any hesitation. Experience would no doubt elicit innumerable exceptions to this statement, if we attempted to turn it into a rule. The reactions of human individuals of both sexes are of course made up of masculine and feminine traits. But it appeared to me nevertheless as though masturbation were further removed from the nature of women than of men, and the solution of the problem could be assisted by the reflection that masturbation, at all events were further removed from the nature of women than of men, and the solution of the problem could be assisted by the reflection that masturbation, at all events of the clitoris, is a masculine activity and that the elimination of clitoridal sexuality is a necessary precondition for the development of femininity.

P512 : by the oral form of coitus which Freud has shown to be the child’s initial conception of this act;

Probably in Three Essays on Sexuality : 1905 : Sigmund Freud : Essay II Infantile Sexuality, : Section [5] The sexual researches of childhood

And/or

Section [2] The Manifestations of Infantile sexuality – Thumb-sucking : p95 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7 pfl : This is the nearest I can find, and is parallel to Jones’ remark, rather than confirming it. : Quote : For reasons which will appear later, I shall take thumb-sucking (or sensual sucking) as a sample of the sexual manifestations of childhood.

P513 : Freud asks in connection with this phallic phase why there should be any flight from femininity unless it were due to primary natural masculine strivings.

Not in Freud. p12 – Introduction to ‘Female Sexuality : The early psychoanalytic controversies : Edited by Russell Grigg, Dominique Hecq, and Craig Smith : Rebus Press 1999 : Quote : These objections revolve around three axes: the nature of female sexuality; the presupposition that femininity is defined by a libido which is male and primarily phallic; and the mother-child relationship. :

so definition by a masculine libido not a natural masculine striving…..

P513 : This again is in contradiction to Freud’s view that the girl’s wish for the child is mainly compensatory for her disappointment in not having a penis of her own. I could agree with Freud’s description if it referred not to what we may call the clitoris–penis of the phallic phase, but to the original orally incorporated penis.

The clitoris-penis phase is probably Jones’ invention, as is his use of the phallic phase, as much else. Here, by contrast is a quote from ‘Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes’ : 1925j : Sigmund Freud : About 7 pages from the beginning. : p340 of James Strachey’s translation in Vol 7, pfl : Quote : So far there has been no question on the Oedipus complex, nor has it up to this point played any part. But now the girl’s libido slips into a new position along the line – there is no other way of putting it – of the equation ‘penis-child’. She gives up her wish for a penis and puts in place of it a wish for a child: and with that purpose in view she takes her father as a love-object. Her mother becomes the object of her jealousy. The girl has turned into a little woman.

P513-514 : We are familiar with the same phenomenon in the excessive maternalism of some women who, for either internal or external reasons, are deprived of sexual enjoyment. But this is not what Freud means.

Is this one of Jones’ prejudices or is it a clinical observation?

P514 : One very important observation about which there is general agreement is that the passing of this phase—or rather the plainer evidence of femininity—is apt to be accompanied by unmistakable hostility and resentment against the mother. Freud in his explanation has coupled these two events together not only chronologically but intrinsically.

‘Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes’ : 1925j : Sigmund Freud : For example, p338 of James Strachey’s translation in Vol 7, pfl : Even after penis-envy has abandoned its true object, it continues to exist: by an easy displacement it persists in the character-trait of jealousy. Of course, jealousy is not limited to one sex and has a wider foundation than this, but I am of the opinion that it plays a far larger part in the mental life of women than of men …

A third consequence of penis-envy seems to be a loosening of the girl’s affectionate relation with her maternal object. The situation as a whole is not very clear, but it can be seen that in the end the girl’s mother, who sent her into the world so insufficiently equipped, is almost always held responsible for her lack of penis. The way in which this comes about historically is often that soon after the girl has discovered that her genitals are unsatisfactory she begins to show jealousy of another child on the ground that her mother is fonder of it than of her, which serves as a reason for her giving up her attachment to her mother.

P340 ibid : So far there has been no question on the Oedipus complex, nor has it up to this point played any part. But now the girl’s libido slips into a new position along the line – there is no other way of putting it – of the equation ‘penis-child’. She gives up her wish for a penis and puts in place of it a wish for a child: and with that purpose in view she takes her father as a love-object. (See The dissolution of the Oedipus complex : 1924 : Sigmund Freud : p321 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7 pfl) Her mother becomes the object of her jealousy. The girl has turned into a little women.

P514 : The answer I should give resembles Freud’s in so far as both could be given in terms of ‘ adaptation to reality.’ But the way in which the impressions of reality work does not seem to me at all the same as they do to Freud. Fundamentally they strengthen ego development at the expense of phantasy.

See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here for the notes on 28th November 1956 & 5th December 1956 where Jacques Lacan discusses reality.

See Ernest Jones’ last paragraph, p515 below.

On the universal tendency to debasement in the sphere of love (Contributions to the psychology of Love II) : 1912 : Sigmund Freud : p250 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7, pfl : Two factors will decide whether this advance in the developmental path of the libido is to fail. First, there is the amount of frustration in reality which opposes the new object-choice and reduces its value for the person concerned. There is after all no point in embarking upon an object-choice if no choice is to be allowed at all or if there is no prospect of being able to choose anything suitable. Secondly, there is the amount of attraction which the infantile objects that have to be relinquished are able to exercise, and which is in proportion to the erotic cathexis attaching to them in childhood. If these two factors are sufficiently strong, the mechanism by which the neuroses are formed comes into operation. The libido turns away from reality, is taken over by imaginative activity (the process of introversion), strengthens the images of the first sexual objects and becomes fixated to them. … Nothing is altered in this state of affairs if the advance which has miscarried in reality is now completed in phantasy, … As a result of this substitution the phantasies become admissible to consciousness, but no progress is mad in the allocation of the libido in reality. …

Freud goes on to elaborate more complexities, which are far from the 3 sentences quoted from p514 above.

P514 : We know that there are definite limits to the power of hallucinatory wish–fulfillments, at least in the normal person, a fact which Freud has often illustrated by the case of hunger.

Essay I The Sexual Aberration in Three Essays of the Theory of Sexuality : 1905 : Sigmund Freud : Section 1 (B) Sexually immature persons and animals as sexual objects : p60 of James Strachey’s translation, Vol 7 On Sexuality : … or when an urgent instinct (one which will not allow of postponement) cannot at the moment get possession of any more appropriate object. Nevertheless, a light is thrown on the nature of the sexual instinct by the fact that it permits of so much variation in its objects and such a cheapening of them – which hunger, with its far more energetic retention of its objects, would only permit in the most extreme instances.

(2) Deviations in Respect of the Sexual Aim : p61 ibid : The normal sexual aim is regarded as being the union of the genitals in the act known as copulation, which leads to a release of the sexual tension and a temporary extinction of the sexual instinct – a satisfaction analogous to the sating of hunger.

On the universal tendency to debasement in the sphere of love (Contributions to the psychology of love II) : 1912 : One’s first inclination is no doubt to trace back the difficulties revealed here to universal characteristics of our organic instincts. It is no doubt also true in general that the psychical importance of an instinct rises in proportion to its frustration. Suppose a number of totally different human beings were all equally exposed to hunger. As their imperative need for food mounted, all the individual differences would disappear and in their place one would see the uniform manifestations of the one unappeased instinct. But is it also true that with the satisfaction of an instinct its psychical value always falls just as sharply? Consider, for example, the relation of a drinker to wine. Is it not true that wine always provides the drinker with the same toxic satisfaction – a comparison acceptable from the scientific point of view as well? Has one ever heard of the drinker being obliged constantly to change his drink because he soon grows tired of keeping the same one? On the contrary, habit constantly tightens the bond between a man and the kind of wine he drinks. Does one ever hear of a drinker who needs to go to a country where wine is dearer or drinking is prohibited, so that by introducing obstacles he can reinforce the dwindling satisfaction that he obtains? Not at all. If we listen to what our great alcoholics, such as (p258) Böcklin, say about their relation to wine, it sounds like the most perfect harmony, a model of a happy marriage. Why is the relation of the lover to his sexual object so very different?

It is my belief that, however strange it may sound, we must reckon with the possibility that something in the nature of the sexual instinct itself is unfavourable to the realization of complete satisfaction.

The theme of hunger also comes into Freud’s analysis of dreams. For example see Dream: Child aged 10 months dream of strawberries: 31st October 1897 : Sigmund Freud or here

P515 : The young girl is now much bolder in her claims, and dares for the first time to be the open rival of her mother. The resentment she displays against her has not only the meaning Freud attaches to it, of reproach that her clitoris is not a penis, but is also the bursting through of the older animosity long pent up. It is not merely the reproach that her mother gave her only a clitoris, it is the reproach that her mother had always kept the breast and the father’s penis in her possession and not allowed the girl to incorporate them into her body to her heart’s desire.

See quote from ‘Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes’ : 1925j : Sigmund Freud : p338 of James Strachey’s translation in Vol 7, pfl : in notes to p514 above.

P515 : Put more generally, I think the Viennese would reproach us with estimating the early phantasy life too highly at the expense of external reality. And we should answer that there is no serious danger of any analysts neglecting external reality, whereas it is always possible for them to underestimate Freud’s doctrine of the importance of psychical reality.

See p514 above for quotations from Sigmund Freud

Introductory paragraph:

THIS lecture is intended to be the first of a series of exchange lectures between Vienna and London which your Vice–President, Dr. Federn, has proposed for a special purpose. For some years now it has been apparent that many analysts in London do not see eye to eye with their colleagues in Vienna on a number of important topics: among these I might instance the early development of sexuality, especially in the female, the genesis of the super–ego and its relation to the Oedipus complex, the technique of child analysis and the conception of a death instinct. I use the phrase ‘ many analysts’ without attempting to enumerate these, but it is evident that there is some danger of local views becoming unified to such an extent as to enable people to speak of a Vienna school or London school as if they represented different tendencies of a possibly divergent order. This, I am convinced, is in no wise true. The differences are of just that kind that go with imperfect contact, which in the present case are strongly contributed to by geographical and linguistic factors. The political and economic disturbances of the past few years have not brought London and Vienna nearer to each other. Many English analysts do not read the Zeitschrift, and still fewer Vienna analysts read the Journal. And I have not as yet succeeded in making the interchange of translations between the two as free as I could wish. It is true that German work has much freer access to the Journal than English work has to the Zeitschrift, but this one–way avenue, far from perfect as it is, is not at all a satisfactory solution. The fact is that new work and ideas in London have not yet, in our opinion, been adequately considered in Vienna. Dr. Federn has had the happy thought of remedying the present difficulty by arranging a direct personal contact and discussion. In my opinion also this is the most promising way to proceed. In the first place, I have the impression that nowadays far more psychoanalysis is learnt through the spoken than through the written word. The habit of reading has certainly declined among analysts in the past twenty years and correspondingly the habit of writing has taken on a more narcissistic bent. In the second place, this method enables speakers to be chosen who have prominently identified themselves with one or another point of view or method of investigation.

 

Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, Earl’s Court, London

 

7th December 2018 : To request a copy of any text whose weblink does not work, contact Julia Evans: je.lacanian@icloud.com : For fuller details, see Notice : Availability of texts from LacanianWorks by Julia Evans or here

 

Further texts

By Ernest Jones here

Of the clinic : here

From other LW working groups : here

Translation Working Group here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here