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Stein, R. (2008). The Otherness of Sexuality: Excess. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(1):43-71.

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(1):43-71

Sexuality: Original Papers

The Otherness of Sexuality: Excess

Ruth Stein

The present essay, the second of a series of three, aims at developing an experience-near account of sexuality by rehabilitating the idea of excess and its place in sexual experience. It is suggested that various types of excess, such as excess of excitation (Freud), the excess of the other (Laplanche), excess beyond symbolization and the excess of the forbidden object of desire (Leviticus; Lacan) work synergistically to constitute the compelling power of sexuality. In addition to these notions, further notions of excess touch on its transformative potential. Such notions address excess that shatters psychic structures and that is actively sought so as to enable new ones to evolve (Bersani). Work is quoted that regards excess as a way of dealing with our lonely, discontinuous being by using the “excessive” cosmic energy circulating through us to achieve continuity against death (Bataille). Two contemporary analytic thinkers are engaged who deal with the object-relational and intersubjective vicissitudes of excess.

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