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Hoffman, L. (1996). Freud And Feminine Subjectivity. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44S(Supplement):23-44.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44S(Supplement):23-44

Freud And Feminine Subjectivity

Leon Hoffman

I have delineated a factor, subjectivity, to account for the difficulty in the psychoanalytic understanding of feminine sexuality, particularly the nature of feminine sexual pleasure. This factor has been unappreciated hitherto by psychoanalysts. Subjectivity is a notion that refers to the capacity of a person to posit him- or herself as an independent agent who determines or controls his or her own thoughts and actions. The construct feminine sexual pleasure, and by extension feminine subjectivity, was difficult for Freud and others to posit because of the implicit association among several mental phenomena. Subject, active, and libido (i.e., the source of active sexual pleasure) were, and to some extent still are, considered masculine attributes; whereas object, passive, and, by implication, the absence of an independent actively desirous state were considered feminine attributes. Freud's difficulty in accepting aggression in the mental life of women interfered with his gaining an implicit understanding of feminine subjectivity.

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