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Bollas, C. (1997). Wording And Telling Sexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:363-367.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:363-367

Wording And Telling Sexuality

Christopher Bollas

A patient remembers a childhood moment many times. Here are a few versions.

‘I was playing with a friend and … (pause) … he, ah, … or … I … ah … we … I suggested … we look … we tried to see … ah … (pause) … who could urinate furthest. I … ah … think I said … ah … “why don't we look at your mother's bloomers”.’

‘“X” and I were … just … fooling around. Urinating. We—one of us, but I think it was me— said “let's go have a look at your mother's bloomers”.’

‘I was with a chum with whom I had been having a contest to see who could urinate the furthest and later when we were sitting next to a low blue table with my nanny, I said to him “let's go get your mother's bloomers”.’

Although the basic structure of this memory remained unchanged, each telling slightly altered the narrative meaning.

The patient had a degree of interest in female undergarments and during childhood would procure clothing from a friend's sister or mother.

Let me word that differently.

The patient was fascinated by women's panties and as a child would sneak into homes and snatch what he felt was a kind of prize.

Or another way.

The patient stole into the houses of friends where he ripped off women's underwear which he used to excite himself.

Each wording creates a slightly different event as the work of revision (nachträglich) re-signifies the remembered.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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