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Diamond, N.A. (2013). Some Vicissitudes of Feminine Sexuality. Free Associations, 14(1):85-103.

(2013). Free Associations, 14(1):85-103

Some Vicissitudes of Feminine Sexuality

Nicola Ann Diamond

This paper explores Freud's question ‘What do women want?’ and asks whether this is a question relevant for modern times. In examining this question, the paper focuses on the construction of the ‘feminine’ in Western heterosexual relations. It provides a psychosocial definition of femininity and makes explicit that the focus is on the body and sensual pleasuring in the context of relationship. There is a brief exploration of gender differences in a heterosexual economy and I suggest that biology and sexuality form an open system affected by cultural influences. The article draws its insights from the close study of a detailed case study to identify how women experience their pleasuring and to illustrate the complexity of their sexual experience. It explores the possibility of pleasuring without a finite cut off point and how this relates to fantasy, meaning and relationship with the other. In conclusion, I argue that, although a phallocentric set-up still resides in heterosexual relations, there is the space for ‘femininity’ to transgress such confines and open up new possibilities.

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