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Gullestad, S.E. (2020). The otherness of sexuality: Exploring the conflicted nature of drive, desire and object choice. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(1):64-83.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(1):64-83

The otherness of sexuality: Exploring the conflicted nature of drive, desire and object choice

Siri Erika Gullestad

This article explores how the psychoanalytic drive theories of Freud, Laplanche and Lacan elucidate the conflicted nature of desire and object choice. In a close reading of Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), I emphasize the inherent tension in Freud’s thinking between the non-object-relatedness and object-relatedness of drive, as well as the conflictual path of object choice. Through discussion of Laplanche’s theory of the origin and nature of the drive, I underline the significance of the unconscious, enigmatic messages of the object. I argue that Freud, Laplanche and Lacan, although in different ways, convey an idea of sexuality’s otherness. This otherness may contribute to highlight divisions in the sphere of love, e.g. splits between sexuality and attachment so often encountered in clinical practice, when erotic desire comes into conflict with the need for a safe and stable relationship. The article aims at explicating the clinical value of a listening perspective entrenched in drive theory for understanding the ambivalence, conflicts and paradoxes of human object choice.

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