LCA International Conference

Sexuation: Between Desire and Jouissance

Third International Conference

of the

Lacan Circle of Australia

11 and 12 July 2020 at the Treacy Centre, Parkville (Melbourne)

Sexuation: Between Desire and Jouissance



The semblants of sex come under scrutiny in analysis. This is because semblants sustain not only sexual identity but also the sexual encounter itself, taking the place of any possible sexual relationship.

On the male side, analysis reveals a desire sustained by phallicised semblants. As a man’s analysis progresses and he traverses his own particular fantasy, it is increasingly reduced to its bare elements. The phallic function and the underlying castration can become even more insistent, as Freud saw. He spoke of the rock of castration as an obstacle that a man encounters at the end of his analysis. This castrating effect of analysis is also indicated by how common it is for a man to express his phallic capacity in close synchronicity with his sessions—as if seeking to derive, post session, reassurance over his own potency.

For a woman, on the other hand, as the pathways of her desire unfold, she is inclined to encounter the inexistence of the Other and the futility of sacrifice. A woman’s scorn or cynicism can remind a man that his sublimations count for nothing where jouissance is concerned and that his attachment to his semblants is misplaced, since it bears no comparison to the real of jouissance. Women are closer to the real and also have a keener awareness of the fact that the phallus is a semblant. A woman’s desire naturally leads her to the barred A, whereas for the man the φ function is an obstacle to the reduction of the phallus to the status of a mere semblant.


Keynote speakers


Sophie Marret-Maleval
Professor and head of Department of Psychoanalysis, and director of the Clinical Section for Psychoanalysis, the University of Paris 8. Analyst Member of the Ecole de la Cause freudienne, the New Lacanian School and the World Association of Psychoanalysis. Published on feminine sexuality, the body and, with a background in English literature, on Lewis Carroll and the mythologies of childhood in two major studies: Lewis Carroll : de l’autre côté de la logiqueand L’inconscient aux sources du mythe moderne, les grands mythes de la littérature fantastique anglo-saxonne, with Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Jean-Claude Maleval
Emeritus Professor and former head of Clinical Psychology at the University of Rennes 2. Lecturer in the Clinical Section of Rennes. Published on psychosis, autism, delusions, hysterical madness and ordinary psychosis.

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