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Zeavin, L. (2011). Imagining the She/Male: Pornography and the Transsexualization of the Heterosexual Male: Psychoanalytic Reflections. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):282-287.

(2011). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12(4):282-287

Imagining the She/Male: Pornography and the Transsexualization of the Heterosexual Male: Psychoanalytic Reflections

Lynne Zeavin, Psy.D.

In his essay “Imagining the She/Male: Pornography and the Transsexualization of the Heterosexual Male,” Escoffier (this issue) brings a particular type of pornography to our attention. He asks our consideration of the scenes in which the object of desire is a male to female transsexual body—prior to surgery, penis intact. After noting a surprising rise in popularity of this category porn he asks us to consider the desire responsible for the upsurge—to understand and to situate it within contemporary culture.

I agree with Escoffier that the desire in question is not new. What is new are the images of this—medically mediated—physical form. This image, this form, allows for the satisfaction of very deep desires.

The desire(s) being satisfied are old, but the means, and medium, of satisfaction are new. As I contemplate both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of these desires, I find myself thinking about the very foundations of psychoanalytic theory. I begin there.

The desire in question finds satisfaction in its contemplation of the image of an ostensibly female body with a penis. This image is neither of the body of a “man” nor of a “woman.” The image is of a body that is neither one nor the other, a double-sexed body, without gaps or lack.

I move from there. I ask, is the body in question a concretization of a very early fantasy, a body that is simultaneously mother and father, mother in father, father in mother? I also ask, does the body in question satisfy a desire to see a female body with a penis, the “uncastrated” woman of archaic fantasy, or, alternatively, to see a male marker joined to female secondary characteristics—breasts and femininity?

I ask, how many boys assume—hope, even—along with little Hans, that their mothers have “widdlers” too?

Here she is, then, I think, that mother, that woman of primordial fantasy.

Or maybe not. Is she that mother? Is she a mother at all?

What I imagine is that, in some elemental sense, the body has everything. This or that here become this and that.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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