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Taniguchi, K. (2012). The Eroticism of the Maternal: So What If Everything Is About the Mother?. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):123-138.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(2):123-138

All About (m)Other

The Eroticism of the Maternal: So What If Everything Is About the Mother?

Kyoko Taniguchi, Ph.D.

The “erotic” bond between the mother and the infant is often idealized as the epitome of the preoedipal, prerepressive utopia in the blissful image of the naked and sacred mother-infant dyad. This article problematizes such a utopian image by identifying the core fantasy underlying that which is maternal. My discussion looks at the mother both as the object of erotic fantasy and the subject who is doing the fantasizing. This study brings together two seemingly disparate theoretical notions, Lacanian feminist psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray's argument about our culture's relationship with the mother and Japanese psychoanalyst Takeo Doi's study of amae. I argue that what Irigaray calls “desire of/for the mother” and what Doi attempted to explain using the everyday Japanese word, amae, a wish to “depend and presume upon another's love or bask in another's indulgence,” are both what is understood in the clinical psychoanalytic language as maternal erotic transference.

[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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