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Layton, L. (1998). Sexual Difference. Masculinity and Psychoanalysis: S. Frosh. New York: Routledge, 1994. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):349.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Sexual Difference. Masculinity and Psychoanalysis: S. Frosh. New York: Routledge, 1994

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):349

Sexual Difference. Masculinity and Psychoanalysis: S. Frosh. New York: Routledge, 1994

Lynne Layton

Frosh argues that in psychoanalytic theory, sexual difference is an organizing principle central to personal identity, but its constructed character makes transgression of its categories possible if not likely. Several discussions in the book focus on the gender aspect of psychoanalytic theory. It is no accident that Klein's theory is mother-focused while Freud's and Lacan's theories are father-focused. In a reading of Freud's discussion of the Irma dream, Frosh notes how femininity keeps subverting an attempt to speak in a masculine voice, how Freud keeps slipping into both masculine and feminine positions. In another chapter he explains male violence as the result of the gap between what masculinity is alleged to be (having the phallus) and the actual powerlessness men feel. Sexuality is built around dependence, which challenges the male model of autonomy. Because men feel more dependent and thus less sufficient in sex, violence is a possibility. In a final chapter the author draws on Kristeva to argue that the analyst challenges the basis of sexual difference by intermingling the holding position with the differentiating position. In several chapters, Frosh critiques Lacanian phallocentrism, but he seems to find many of Lacan's categories useful.

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Article Citation

Layton, L. (1998). Sexual Difference. Masculinity and Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Q., 67(2):349

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