SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Psicologia em Estudo

Print version ISSN 1413-7372On-line version ISSN 1807-0329

Psicol. Estud. vol.24  Maringá  2019  Epub Feb 18, 2019 



2Department of Psychosomatic, Universidade Ibirapuera, São Paulo-SP, Brazil. E-mail:

3Department of Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo-SP, Brazil.

4Université Paris Diderot, Paris, França.


Considering the challenges presented to psychoanalysis by the gender theories, the paper discusses the sexuation theory’s reformulation through the proposition, uttered by Lacan, “The sexed being is only authorized by him/herself and by some others” (Lacan, 1974, p. 187). From that enunciation, the text explores the relation between the poles 'some others' and 'him/herself' through the return to early lacanian developments, before the structuralism’s hegemony on his work. First, the relevance of a plural alterity on the subject’s structuration is discussed by the analysis of the O tempo lógico, text in which the French psychoanalyst conceives the rise of the subject as inseparable of a logic of undetermined collectivity. We then demonstrate how the anticipated act that goes from an error to a certitude is central also at the O estádio do espelho, where the idea of a constitution of a oneself is presented as a singular unification. We propose, considering a discussion on the child’s jubilant state, Lacan’s review on the relation between imaginary and real at A terceira and Fernando Pessoa’s poetry, a new reading of the notion of 'jouissance' of the Other, based on a broader comprehension of the sexuation theory. We conclude that such a rereading of Lacan’s sexuation allow considering it as a process, that not only articulates different stages of his teaching but put the debate with the gender questions in other terms.

Keywords: Gender; psychoanalysis; Jacques Lacan


The true explosion of gender and queer theories in recent years (Henig, 2017) increasingly invites psychoanalysis to revisit their reflections on the complex framework of sexuation theories, either to glimpse convergence or tension points related to this knowledge, or to mark irreducible particularities of the psychoanalytic approach. In the latter case, as Perez (2016, p. 156) points out, we sometimes see quite virulent positions indicating that it would no longer be possible to “{...} refuse the debate with gender/queer theoreticians: they gained visibility and intellectual projection and require interlocution”.

If, for almost a century, psychoanalysis had reigned supreme as a privileged knowledge of sexuality, today the social field seems to recognize other voices in the polyphonic chorus in which gender issues, erotic lace modalities, power, performativity, contrasexuality, fantasies, identifications, consents, and libidinal types are mixed. Gender theories, queer knowledge, feminisms and the rhetorical subversion represented by the 'situated knowledges' (Silveira, 2017) invite not only psychoanalysis but society itself to rethink the coordinates from which to locate the most distinct sexual experiences. Moreover, authors such as Judith Butler not only propose theoretical debates with psychoanalysis, emphasizing potentially problematic constructions, but also point out the extent to which politics and questions of power constitute and limit the normative frameworks from which we can understand a given reality.

On the other hand, in relation to Lacanian psychoanalysis, such interlocution seems to be marked mainly by the evocation of the so-called formulas of sexuation, its specificities and its more immediate unfoldings: the issue of the non-all (Brito & Caldas, 2017), of the 'jouissance' (Leguil & Fajnwaks, 2015), of the contingency (Cossi & Dunker, 2017) and of the inexistence of women (Prates Pacheco, 2017). As the title of one of these publications Subversion lacanienne des théories du genre {Lacanian subversion of gender theories} attests, Lacan's bet on placing sexuation in a radical difference that points to the real would subvert the imaginary identitarian attachments present in various uses of gender theories. Moreover, feminist criticisms of the centrality of the phallus as a privileged signifier of subjectivity would be disarmed, inasmuch as such Lacanian formulas would bring another domain of experience, non-all marked by castration.

Nevertheless, an important question seems systematically ignored by most commentators on the formulas of sexuation: what would have been the derivations of such a theory in the teaching of Jacques Lacan? From a reading of seminar Les non-dupes errent (Lacan, 1974), we’ve point out that (Ambra, 2017), contrary to what might be supposed, the notion of sexuation arises only and exclusively in this seminar and in the context of its redescription. In other words, the so-called formulas of sexuation are named only a posteriori and, more importantly, from a new perspective. Let us take the passage in question to begin our argument:

If there is anything I would like you to notice, it is that these so-called quantum formulas of sexuation could be expressed in another way, and that might allow us 'to move forward'. I’m going to give you what that entails. This could be said in the following manner: 'the sexed being only authorizes himself/herself'5 It is in this sense that... that {s}he has the 'choice'. I mean, this is what we limit ourselves, finally, to classify as 'masculine' or 'feminine' in the civil registry... anyway, this... this does not prevent the existence of a choice. That, of course, everyone knows. '{S}He is authorized only by himself/herself', and I would add: 'and by some others' (Lacan, 1974, p. 187, emphasis added).

The statement — or rather, that Lacanian 'saying' {dire} — is strong and full of consequences. Starting from the issue of choice to the idea that male and female definitions would be limitations, as well as the true subversion that involves redrawing his logical formulations of critique to ontology based on the notion of authorization and choice, a delicate resumption of a question concerning the training and status of the psychoanalyst is reached6.

Thus, for such developments within the Lacanian theory — as well as its possible fruits with debates on the issue of gender — to be solidly undertaken, it is necessary to point out precisely under what conceptual bases a discussion of this species of plural alterity based on the small other, as well as the idea of 'oneself', would take place. Of course, if according to Lacan, such a saying of sexuation would condense and advance in relation to the formulas of sexuation, a wide array of possible discussions opens up: whether such axiom would be expressed as a group of Klein; the extent to which the idea of 'some' introduces the dimension of the real, since it gives undecidability and contingency to the set 'others'; or what would be the consequences of such an approximation between the sexual and the formation of the analyst7; among many others discussions.

For the purposes of this article we shall dwell specifically on the two points that constitute the focus of this elliptical Lacanian enunciation, namely 'oneself' and 'some others'. After all, what would be the implications of the choice of such signifiers, considering this moment of maturity of his intellectual experience? Was that about the introduction of entirely new clinical and theoretical rationalities, considering the then newly discovered Borromean logic? Would it be 'oneself' another theory of the subject? Would the introduction of the notion of enjoyment in Lacan's teaching bring a real dimension of the body that could not be considered as such from its earlier developments?

We would like to invite the reader, in this article, to take with us a step back before ratifying such theses. Our aim will be to examine possible grounds for the notions of 'oneself' and 'some others' from texts prior to the 1950s, seeking to underline how the reformulation of the Lacanian sexuation theory in its late period can also be understood as a kind of return to themes and to a rationality non-all marked by the symbol of structuralist extraction. We argue that Lacan’s insistence on the equivalence of the three registers at the end of his teaching is also an invitation to a reading program that can draw other consequences from texts whose classical interpretation can be understood as closed.

Let us begin our analysis from an examination of the statute of the — apparently counterintuitive — idea of ​​'others' in Lacan and its possible parallels with the redescription of sexuation in terms of authorization. To do so, we return to an unmentioned aspect of one of Lacan's best-known texts, rescued by Beer and Franco (2017) when discussing the inseparability between clinic and politics.

The collectivization of the means of sexuation

In 1945, the editor of the Cahiers d'Art, Christian Zervos, invites Lacan to write a text that would compose a volume of the journal, but not any volume. The publication was interrupted in 1940 by the Second War and resumed five years later, when the editor organized an issue that would serve exactly to cover the period referring to the conflict. It is to this invitation, therefore, that Lacan responds: “{...} not only was {the text} written shortly after the war, but the theme of the invitation was the period of war itself, and the magazine in which it was published was not of psychoanalysis or psychopathology, but of arts” (Beer & Franco, 2017, p. 171). What is this text about?

We are talking about “Logical time and assertion of anticipated certainty: a new sophism” (Lacan, 1945, p. 197), a work that will become known for its relation to so-called 'short sessions' or 'variable time sessions'. However, as undertaken before at Os complexos familiares, it is a text that directly discusses issues related to the social bond, and does so not from the great Other, symbolically conceived, but from the status of the small other8.

Let us point out that the specificity that links the discussion of logical time to the question of authorization by oneself and by some others is what is at stake here not only in the status of the 'imaginary fellow' {semblable}, but also in its 'collective' configuration. Lacan proposes in the text of 1945 a sophism in which one of three prisoners would be released if he solved a riddle first. The prisoners should discover the color of a circle, which would be placed on their own back, based on the colors of the other two circles affixed in the same way in each fellow. In total, there were three white circles and two black circles, of which three would be chosen and respectively assigned to each prisoner. The prison director then chooses to place the three white circles on the prisoners' backs, seeking to discover by which logic they would first discover — by certainty, not by chance — the color of his circle.

After having considered each other 'for some time', the three fellows take a 'few' steps together leading them to simultaneously cross the door. Separately, each then gives a similar response, which is expressed as follows:

I'm white, and here's how I know it. Since my companions were white, I thought that if I were black, both could have inferred the following: ‘If I were also black, the other, immediately recognizing that he was white, would have left right away; therefore, I'm black'. And the two of them would have gone out together, convinced they were white. If they were not doing anything, it was because I was white like them. To which I went out the door, to make known my conclusion.

That is how all three left at the same time, confident of the same reasons (Lacan, 1945, p. 198, author's emphasis).

There is an important subversion of the very logic of the game, which established that only one — the first prisoner to discover his color — would be granted the benefit of freedom. Certainty comes precisely from the simultaneous character of the 'recognition of the recognition' of others that informs about the identity of oneself. What the sophism exposes is that the certainty about oneself comes from the radical assumption that others recognize me in the same way that I recognize them. Hence the hesitation of others between the second and the third logical time is what precipitates the certainty that they, like me, are determined by the collective logic of recognition.

The self is thus a reference to a common denominator “{...} of the reciprocal subject, or, still, to others as such, that is, as being another to one another. This common denominator is given for a certain 'time to understand', which is revealed as an essential function of the logical relation of reciprocity” (Lacan, 1945, p. 211, author's emphasis). We note that the indetermination index, present in the undecidability of some others in terms of sexuation, seems to appear here not in relation to its number, border or frontier, but in relation to indefinite time (remember the italics that Lacan himself puts in 'for some time' and a 'few steps' in presenting the sophism) that separates the instant of seeing from the moment of concluding.

However, the horizon of this assertion of certainty is that of 'error'. It is through the fear of making mistakes that Lacan will attach to the idea of ​​barbarism at the end of the text that the subject anticipates his certainty from the hesitation recognized in others. “Truth manifests itself in this form as anticipating error and advancing alone in the act that generates its certainty” (Lacan, 1945, p. 211). The passage from error to truth is, therefore, an anticipated 'act'. Of course, the opposition between 'error' and 'truth' is dissolved throughout Lacan's teaching9, but we notice that these two poles are already inseparable here.

And it is precisely in this articulation that we find 'anticipation'. A notion which, not coincidentally, appears equally in the constitution of the (one)self in the mirror stage. Moreover, it is a 'performative' anticipation, linked to something done that encloses in itself its truth. The term used by Lacan to define this key moment in the subjective specular structuring is 'jubilant activity' {affairement jubilatoire}, which bears the mark precisely of something done, of an act. 'Affairement', which can be translated literally as 'busyness', underlines an excess, a hasty rush, an overload. Here, we would not be so distant from a Butlerian rationality that thinks the process of sexuation as ruled by a 'doing' that, retroactively, constitutes a subject (Butler, 2014). The difference, however, is presented in the bonding character that this type of constitutive action of the self has with the 'collectivity': “{...} in this race for truth, it is only alone, not being all, that the true is reached; nobody reaches it, however, except through others” (Lacan, 1945, p. 212). An inattentive reading of the 1945 text may imply that there would be exclusively a discussion of logical time in its clinical context, that the paradigm of the prisoners would refer to the three because it has a connection with the Oedipus or even with the three registers. Nevertheless, the final movement of the text precisely seeks to emancipate the proposal of its application of a 'collectivity', that is, of a definite number of individuals, towards a 'generality', “{...} which is defined as a class that abstractly encompasses an indefinite number of individuals” (Lacan, 1945, p. 212).

The french psychoanalyst evoke then the proverb 'three faciunt collegium', anticipating the idea — which will only appear with force again from the 1970s — according to which, in order for something to be instituted, there must be 'at least three'. Let us also remind that Lacan logically demonstrates in the text itself that the prisoner's sophistry would be equally valid if it were four rather than three individuals (Lacan, 1945), in order to underline that it is not a fixed number that defines such a logic of recognition, but a generality.

For our purposes, therefore, authorization in the context of sexuation must also be taken from this paradigm: to these 'some others' based on whom the subject will authorize himself/herself are thus imputed assumptions of generality, even if the logic of the 'collectivity' is in the stake. It seems that there is a movement similar to that of Freud in 'Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego' (2011), which, as Laplanche (2015) reminds us, starts from the logic that governs the subject's relationship with 'society', the small others of the primary socialization and the everyday conviviality, to explain broader and anonymous mass phenomena.

The 'logical time' ends, in this sense, with the proposition of a new logic of the definition of what would be humanity, more precise than that at stake in the classical logic ('Man is a rational animal')

  1. A man knows what is not a man;

  2. Men recognize themselves amongst themselves to be men;

  3. I declare myself to be a man for fear of being convinced by men that I am not a man.

This constitutes a movement which provides the logical form of all 18 'human' assimilation, precisely insofar as it posits itself as assimilative of a barbarism, but which nonetheless reserves the essential determination of the 'I'... (Lacan, 1945, p. 213, author's emphasis).

We reach then the maximum logical reduction of the Lacanian proposal of 1945, which goes beyond the demonstration linked to the prisoners. 'Becoming man' — and here, given our purposes, we must already introduce the sexual character of the question and read 'man' as the name of a group, 'a way' to go through the process of sexuation — is a becoming inseparable from assumption of this masculinity together with a group that is the pivot of the subject's own recognition coordinates. The group as an instance of recognition precipitates the anticipation of the self based on the denial of a horizon of possible barbarism. In other words, it would be the avoidance of a radical expulsion that would lead to the (sexual) formation of the self10.

From the reading of the 'stage of the mirror' that we will present later, it is possible to argue that this type of recognition identitarian impossibility refers to experiences more related to the shattering of the body than to an anguish of castration itself. Thus, with Butler's rescue of Kristeva on the abjection operation — which, by creating identitarian boundaries, necessarily produces its abjectness, its exclusion (Butler, 2014) — we should consider that the identification process is based, from the outset, on this fear of the barbarity of a state of non-recognition. Self stands against non-self always and necessarily supported by a given place in a collectivity. The importance of collectivity — diminished by different traditions of Lacan commentators — is such that the text ends not exactly with the (curious) reticences of the passage above, but with a footnote that invites the reader to read the entire collection, without forgetting the importance of this dimension: “{...} that the reader who continues in this collection returns to the reference to the 'collective' that constitutes the end of this article, to situate what Freud produced under the register of collective psychology: 'the collective is nothing but the subject of the individual'” (Lacan, 1945, p. 213, emphasis added).

This note, inserted in 1966, and therefore crossed by structuralism and the whole re-reading of Oedipus, shows how, even with few textual incidents, the centrality of the collective in the theory of the subject in Lacan goes from end to end of its production and teaching: From the Os complexos familiares, going through logical time and its reissue in 1966, and finally arriving at the sexuation theory and the formation of the analyst through 'some others'.

This collectivity, we note, is not based on a conscious mimesis of identifiable traits in the group, but precisely on a group 'assumption'. So no one knows for sure what a man, a woman, a drag queen or a transbutch is, but we know that there are people who collectively gather under that identity regardless of their differences. Ramos (2016), for example, rescues this same passage from logical time to think of the status of becoming an analyst — which, let us remember, is also the parallel made by Lacan in the context of authorization by oneself and a some others — underlining the contingent character of identification to the group:

Based on Lacan's logic of anticipatory subjective assertion (1945/1998) from the end of 'Logical Time', 1) a psychoanalyst knows what is not a psychoanalyst; 2) psychoanalysts recognize each other as psychoanalysts; 3) I claim to be a psychoanalyst, for fear of being persuaded by psychoanalysts not to be a psychoanalyst. In short, we know what psychoanalyst is not and we recognize ourselves as psychoanalysts without knowing what a psychoanalyst is, but each one avoiding to admit no to be a psychoanalyst before psychoanalysts. Asserting ourselves as a psychoanalysts, recognizing ourselves as psychoanalysts, necessarily implies a mark, but a contingent mark, which is not universalized, since we do not have a universal attribute that would tell us what a psychoanalyst is and which would let us know. We could even try to say that 'we have something in common', but this in common is always the order of what 'it seems to be, but it is not' (Ramos, 2016, author's emphasis).

But how can we understand this trait of contingency and of critique of the universal from a logic which, at first, would be marked by a specular recognition, in which radical alterity comes from a collective group formed by peers? Is it permissible to suppose that there is an edge or zone of indeterminacy between 'imaginary' and 'real'?

From jubilation to joy

Contrary to what an exclusively late reading of Lacan would suppose, discussing the statute of the enigmatic 'self' of the saying of sexuation is necessarily going through the Lacanian theory of the imaginary. It is time, therefore, to comment on an unexplored question in the commentaries on the mirror stage, a question that refers to the qualification of the assumption of the orthopedic image of the self (1998a). This is a jubilant assumption. Jubilant {Jubilatoire} is the state in which the individual is taken from a great joy (Linternaute, 2017), but carrying as an etymological mark the 'cry out' of an exclamation that overflows the articulable rational or symbolically: from the Latin, Iubilo (Latdict, 2017). Jubilation would properly be a 'saying without speech' {dire sans dit}, insofar as it gives a view of the subject's position, it is true, but without the significant capture of an endless metonymic horizon.

This is due to the fact that the jubilant character of the assumption is linked not to language in its strictly structural sense, but rather to the lalanguage, t(he)ongue {lalangue}, thus conveying a saying that is itself part of the body and does not separate from it. The assertion lala also refers to the first words exchanged between the child and his caregivers — but let us not forget, also among his brothers, colleagues and all the others to whom he refers. It deals with a language that does not operate through a logic of separation between signified and signifier, in which there is not properly a meaning that separates the differences from the signifiers in the speech, but a performance that is its own meaning, as a body.

Of course, this kind of use of the tongue along with the body is not confined exclusively to the baby's speech, just as the mirror stage is not located at a given moment of development, reason why this other regime of language appears in another field, much explored by Lacan in his late developments: the poetry. In this sense, Silva Jr. (2017) stresses that there is, for example, in Alberto Caeiro an approach to language that brings it closer to properly performative rather than structural discussions of language. Let us see a well-known poem that can help us to see this presence of joy in language, joy that is intimately connected to the body and to being — beyond the metaphysics of symbolic reason

I'm a keeper of herds.

The flock is my thoughts

And my thoughts are all sensations.

I think with my eyes and ears

And with my hands and feet

And with the nose and the mouth.

To think of a flower is to see it and smell it

And to eat a fruit is to know its meaning.

So when on a hot day

I feel sad to enjoy it so much,

And I lay down stretching in the grass,

And I close my warm eyes,

I feel my whole body lying in reality,

I know the truth and I am happy (1993b).

Now we are there, disposed and lying down, like Caeiro, in the grass of a sense that is confused with the very domain of the body. There is even a passage in the poem that is quite similar to that of the mirror stage: in the first moment, thinking is concretely given by the feeling of the disconnected and concrete parts, where there is an indistinction between representation and thing; and then an experience of truth and happiness that goes beyond the guilt of enjoyment (retroactively phallic and partial) through a bodily unification of a lie in reality. It is important to note here that the one that is involved in the unification at stake in the assumption of jubilation is not the phallic 'one', described by means of a function in which 'for every x' we ​​would have a 'y'. This 'one' that the child recognizes in the mirror is linked to the 'one' of the singularity, from 'one' to 'one' described in Seminar 20 to think the character not all of the woman, but that considering the saying of the sexuation, starts to constitute the very process of sexuation.

Thus, we follow Silva Jr. (2017) when he affirms that Caeiro is the poet who treats the real of the reality through lalangue, but adds that he does so not without the intermediary of the imaginary. We argue that it is precisely on this frontier that we must situate the jubilant assumption, since there is a type of body and I that arises in a unifying movement that is promoted by a joy that is beyond the phallic language. Caeiro, like the child in the mirror, sees himself in jubilation by the look and image that witness his birth as a body that is conceived beyond the signs: “I know the essential amazement/That a child has, if at birth, noticed that was really born {...}” (Pessoa, 1993a).

Let us recall that Lacan evokes on the first page of the text about the mirror stage the notion of Aha-Erlebenis that can be thought almost as the literal translation of jubilation (Lacan, 1998a). The discovery of the birth of the self in the same movement is invented, experienced and lived in the body; or, more radically, it is the very 'moment' of the body. It thus becomes inevitable to bring to light a concept that — at first — would relate only to the record of the real: 'the enjoyment of the Other'. Let us see how this is justified.

Being in accordance with the gaze of the world, in the mirror stage, takes place through the gaze of the Other, who likewise shares this joyous saying of the child, for let us not forget, the Other equally enjoys this discovery. The jubilation of the child — when we think like Caeiro — is also the jubilation of the Other, since (s)he becomes who (s)he is by the glow of the gaze that witnesses her/his body-self. In turn, in 1953, Lacan himself approached this demand for recognition in the child's specular dialectic literally to the enjoyment of the Other (Lacan, 1998b). The enjoyment of the Other thus seems to us to gain a much more articulable operational status than that which had brought it exclusively to the so-called 'feminine jouissance', insofar as it emancipates itself from a captured sexual sense of departure and allows us to think it as an identification operator that binds him much more to a process than to the Woman — albeit non-existent and barred.

Let us emphasize that this reading of the Other's enjoyment is by no means arbitrary, since Lacan himself, in a late text such as 'The third', rethinks the enjoyment of the Other no longer as connected with the formulas of the sexuation of 1973, but as a kind of enjoyment that is distinguished from the phallic by being connected to the 'body'. This is possible because Lacan approximates phallic enjoyment to masturbation, as something that would be outside the body: “{...} that phallic enjoyment becomes anomalous to the enjoyment of the body, this is something that has already been perceived a thousand times” (Lacan, 2002, p. 13). In this case, above all, it is a pleasure based on partiality proper to phallic logic, linked to one or another eroticized part of the body, but which is enjoyed only by fantasy. On the other hand, the enjoyment of the Other is bonded to the body itself — which, for Lacan, at that moment, is synonymous with the imaginary.

Source: (Lacan, 2002).

Figure 1 Enjoyments and the three records 

The joy of the Other (JA) is thus on the border between the real and the imaginary/body. Therefore, in this last period of Lacan's teaching, there was not, contrary to what can be defended, a reinvention of the notion of 'body' from the real. We understand that there is, in fact, a respectful return to the first notion of 'subjectivation', linked to the imaginary, without disregard of that record in which a certain reading of structuralism ended up:

The relationship of man — at least what one calls by that name — with his body, if there is something that emphasizes well that it is imaginary, it’s the significance that the image assumes here—from the start I have emphasized this a lot — and it’s that one still needs for this a cause in the real. And Bolk’s prematuration theory — it’s not mine, it’s Bolk’s, I have never sought to be original, I sought to be a logician — it’s only prematuration that explains for him this preference for the image, which comes from his anticipating his own physical maturation and all that it entails, of course (Lacan, 2002, p. 13)

Jadin and Ritter (2009) also follow this reading and understand the mirrored jubilation as a moment of striking fascination and of a fundamental alienation of the subject who sees himself constituted 'as another': “{...} 'as another' and, ipso facto, for his enjoyment as much as it appears as 'the enjoyment of the Other’ — as Lacan will indicate a little later on the reconstruction of the mirrored image in the context of analytic healing” (Jadin & Ritter, 2009, p. 14, author's emphasis).

Returning more closely to our problem, it is necessary to think that authorization in the context of sexuation occurs with a strong identitarian force, precisely because it is marked, from the outset, by a joy that lies behind and beyond language; and therefore, cannot be rephrased and thought in 'phallic' terms — in the broad sense of the term. The character of this enjoyment of the Other is, for the most part, excluded from the possible field of everyday experience, since the normalizing frameworks of gender prevent such experience from being retaken, in so far as they cover such a discovery of the sexual self with ontological discourses that refer it to an essentialist anatomy. But once the authorization in the field of sexuation offers normative resistance to the normalizing hegemonic discourse (Ambra, 2016), as in the case of trans-identities, for example, this type of experience of satisfaction that is not reducible to the phallus may come to light in a clearer way.

Let us give an example. In a recent documentary, the cartoonist Laerte says that the central moment in the course of her discovery as a trans woman would not have been the first panties — as the interviewer suggests - that was actually already wore, but without causing any effect of this nature:

The first outfit I wore was an outfit I got rid of, actually. It was the fact that I had taken my hair off. The first impact of this change — more than having put on panties and looked in the mirror {...} — {it was when} I saw {the mirror} the parts of me appearing. So: 'Wow, my leg!'. This was already the prelude.

{The interviewer:} — 'What did you see in the mirror?'

'Another person'. And I wanted 'to see myself complete'. When I saw myself, I did not believe; I was jumping like this, {laughs} (Brum; Barbosa, 2017, emphasis added).

This scene should not be taken as a caricature but rather as a demonstration of the central importance of sexual experience as linked to a bodily totality of jubilation and not reduced to the interpretation of genitality — which, for so many decades, underestimated psychoanalytic thinking about processes of sexuation. In spite of the phallic partialization that metonymically would elect an organ (or the intimate piece that would cover it) that would symbolically organize the sexual experience, the joy of seeing himself in the mirror is what makes Laerte a woman. Let us also remember that this documentary stresses the importance of political and social recognition of gender identity.

We have, therefore, the coordinates to raise the Lacanian proposal according to which 'the sexed being is only authorized by himself and by some others' to its proper conceptual and clinical status. It is, first of all, a rescue of the importance of the precipitation of the singular unity of the self and of the mark of enjoyment, not reducible to the phallus, from which decants. It is, therefore, between the imaginary of an alienated corporeal unification and the mark of a real enjoyment that gives itself the authorization, always anticipated, of being sexed.

On the other hand, we also have in this theory of sexuation the redemption of the collective dimension of such authorization process, instituting an undecidability between 'the self' and 'the others' that refers to the dimension of act present in logical time and resumes the Lacanian proposal according to which “{...} the collective is nothing but the subject of the individual” (Lacan, 1945, p. 213).

A vast field of investigations opens up about gender theories and phenomena linked to sexual identity that is emancipated from the psychiatric remnants present in certain readings that still consider transsexuality, for example, as a phenomenon linked exclusively to psychosis. Taking the term sexuation as the identification process reveals, therefore, a powerful and unexplored reading of Lacanian theory that not only takes up developments in the beginning of its intellectual course under other prisms, but also allows a new program to read the gender problem from psychoanalysis.


Alves, E. F. (2014). Jacques Lacan e a questão da autorização dos analistas. Porto Alegre, RS: CRV. [ Links ]

Ambra, P. (2017). Da não-relação à não-equivalência: destinos da teoria da sexuação em Lacan a partir de 1974. In 17ª Jornada Corpolinguagem e 9º Encontro Outrarte. Campinas, SP. [ Links ]

Ambra, P. (2016). A psicanálise é cisnormativa? Palavra política, ética da fala e a questão do patológico. Periódicus, 1(5), 101. [ Links ]

Beer, P. A., & Franco, W. (2017). Da indissociabilidade entre clínica e política em psicanálise. Affectio Societatis, 14(27)157-179. [ Links ]

Brito, N., & Caldas, H. (2017). A escrita do sinthoma segundo a lógica não toda fálica. Psicologia Revista, 26(2), 403-419. [ Links ]

Brum, E., & Barbosa, L. (Diretoras). (2017). Laerte-se {Filme Cinematográfico}. Brasil. [ Links ]

Butler, J. (1990/2014). Problemas de gênero (R. Aguiar, Trad.) Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira. [ Links ]

Cossi, R. K., & Dunker, C. I. L. (2017). A Diferença sexual de Butler a Lacan: gênero, espécie e família. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, 33, 1-8 [ Links ]

Freud, S. (2011). Psicologia das massas e análise do eu. In S. Freud. Obras completas (Vol. 15: psicologia das massas e análise do eu e outros textos (1920-1923), P. C. ouza, Trad., p. 13-113). São Paulo, SP. [ Links ]

Freud, S. (2012). Totem e tabu. In S. Freud. Obras completas (Vol. 11: Totem e tabu, Contribuição à história do movimento psicanalítico e outros textos (1912-1914), P. C. Souza, Trad., p. 13-244). São Paulo, SP: Companhia das Letras. [ Links ]

Henig, R. M. (2017). Rethinking gender. National Geographic, volume especial. [ Links ]

Jadin, J.-M., & Ritter, M. (2009). La jouissance au fil de l'enseignement de Lacan. Toulouse, FR: Érès. [ Links ]

Lacan, J. (1998a). O estádio do espelho como formador da função do eu tal como nos é revelado na experiência psicanalítica. In J. Lacan. Escritos (V. Ribeiro, Trad., p. 93-103). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Jorge Zahar Editor. [ Links ]

Lacan, J. (1998b). Função e campo da fala e da linguagem em psicanálise. In J. Lacan. Escritos(V. Ribeiro, Trad., p. 238-324). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Jorge Zahar Editor . [ Links ]

Lacan, J. (1974). Les non-dupes errent. Paris, FR: AFI. Recuperado de: ]

Lacan, J. (1967). Proposição de 9 de outubro de 1967 sobre o psicanalista da Escola. In J. Lacan. Outros escritos (V. Ribeiro, Trad., p. 248-264). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Jorge Zahar Editor . [ Links ]

Lacan, J. (1945). O tempo lógico e a asserção de certeza antecipada: um novo sofisma. In J. Lacan. Escritos (V. Ribeiro, Trad., p. 197-213). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Jorge Zahar Editor . [ Links ]

Lacan, J. (2002). A terceira. Cadernos Lacan. [ Links ]

Laplanche, J. (2015). Sexual: a sexualidade ampliada no sentido freudiano 2000-2006 (1a ed., V. Dresch, Trad.). Porto Alegre, RS: Dublinense. [ Links ]

Latdict. (2017). jubilo. Recuperado de: jubilare-jubilavi-jubilatusLinks ]

Leguil, C., & Fajnwaks, F. (2015). Subversion lacanienne des théories du genre. Paris, FR: Editions Michèle. [ Links ]

Linternaute. (2017). Jubilatoire. Recuperado de: ]

Perez, A. A. (2016). Poderes, perigos e inquietações discursivas: um certo discurso analítico sobre teorias do gênero e transidentidades. Periódicus, 1(5), 154-170. [ Links ]

Pessoa, F. (1993a). O meu olhar é nítido como um girassol. Recuperado de: ]

Pessoa, F. (1993b). IX - Sou um guardador de rebanhos. Recuperado de: ]

Prates Pacheco, A. L. (2017). Feminilidade e experiência psicanalítica. São Paulo, SP: Aller Editora. [ Links ]

Ramos, C. (2016). Marca de psicanalista ou a verdadeira maionese. Stylete Lacaniano. [ Links ]

Silva Jr., N. (2017). As dissoluções do sujeito pela linguagem na obra de Fernando Pessoa. Disciplina de pós-graduação. [ Links ]

Silveira, L. (2017). Assim é a mulher por trás de seu véu? Questionamento sobre o lugar do significante falo na fala de mulheres leitoras dos Escritos.Lacuna: Uma Revista de Psicanálise, 3, 8. [ Links ]

1Support and funding: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes).

5Originally soi-même, the French gender neutral form of himself/herself, also translated as oneself.

6Let us remember that, years before, in Proposição de 9 de outubro de 1967, Lacan completely breaks with the vertical picture of didactic analytic formation from the proposition that "[...] the analyst only authorizes by himself/herself" (Lacan, 1967, p. 248). In 1974, on the other hand, it is precisely from this new reading of sexuation that Lacan retakes his proposition of psychoanalytic formation, to include therein 'some others' and the fundamental status of the community in the authorization process. Lacan is explicit in pointing out that in the context of formation as in that of sexuation, what is at stake is not the great Other, symbolic, but the small other, the imaginary (Lacan, 1974).

7In view of the great aridity of commentators on this point, we highlight an exception: the work of Alves (2014), to which we incentive the reader to explore if interested in the discussion about analytical formation.

8Let us highlight that such a position is by no means marginal, nor is it some sort of a crime of Lacan's youth. Rather, this idea runs through key moments in his teaching and appears forcefully not only in the antechamber of the birth of the symbolic order in the 1950s, but in all discussions surrounding the sexuation theory — as that of the 'semblant', the fundamental place of the small other in the graph of discourses, and finally the redescription of sexuation in 1974 from the idea that sexuation is a process between 'oneself' and 'some others'.

9As, for example, in the idea of a truth linked to the semi-saying [mi-dire], in the approaching of the unconscious to the equivocation, and in the very notion of 'error' constructed in Os não-bestas erram [The not-dupes err/The names of the father].

10That expulsion is not exactly the phallic one experienced by the brothers of 'Totem e tabu' (Freud, 2012) in the exile imposed by the father of the horde, but, precisely, an expulsion of the expulsion, an even more radical rejection that would throw the subjects out of the frame of intelligibility present in the collective recognition given by the category brothers: a foreclosure. It is in this mechanism of expulsion, and not in a structural diagnosis of non-intelligible genders, that we can better locate the idea of foreclosure in the discussion of sexual identifications.

Received: January 28, 2018; Accepted: August 13, 2018

Pedro Ambra: holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Universidade São Paulo and in Psychoanalysis and Psychopathology from Université Paris Diderot. Associate Professor at Ibirapuera University, Department of Psychosomatic, São Paulo, Brazil.

Nelson da Silva Jr.: holds a PhD in Psychoanalysis and Psychopathology from Université Paris Diderot. Associate Professor at Department of Social Psychology, Institute of Psychology, USP, São Paulo, Brazil.

Laurie Laufer: holds a PhD in Psychoanalysis and Psychopathology from Université Paris Diderot. Full Professor at Université Paris Diderot, Paris, França.

Creative Commons License Este é um artigo publicado em acesso aberto sob uma licença Creative Commons