A Man’s Love

I had a very interesting conversation last night with a Freudian colleague. However, this person is more than a colleague, he is also a friend. We discussed love. I remembered during the conversation something that Jacques-Alain Miller said in an interview once upon a time:

One only really loves from a feminine position. Loving feminises. That’s why love is always a bit comical in a man. But if he lets himself get intimidated by ridicule, then in actual fact he’s not very sure of his virility.

I always found this to be an incredible statement. The point that Miller is making is that to love is always to love from the position of lack, of vulnerability; it is to love from the position outside of the symbolic and imaginary coordinates that structure one’s existence.

This is why love is real.

It seems to me that Lacan had two positions on love. I wrote about these in a previous blog post. However, I realize now that these are just two implications of a single proposition.

Love is always giving one’s lack, it is always giving what one doesn’t have, and, moreover, it always occurs with respect to the real.

What makes this feminine? Well, we need to be clear about what Lacan meant when he described femininity. I am not going to reiterate Lacan’s theory of feminine sexuality.

Instead I want to draw another connection.

If, within the clinic, the transference is established as a type of love from the analysand, that is, as a love that makes up for the lack of a sexual relation, then, finally, for the analyst there is a different type of love. The analyst gives to the analysand what she doesn’t have by rejecting or frustrating the demand.

What is the outcome? I quote Vanheule:

[T]he Lacanian conclusion of the treatment – the identification with the Real of the symptom, the choice of jouissance, and the creation of a neosubject – is a particular process that is situated entirely in the line of femininity.

What is meant by “neosubject?” The neosubject, in my opinion, is the creation of a subject in fidelity with the real of the symptom. Or, in other words, it is a subject in fidelity with the processes of creation. Vanheule writes: “a woman is ‘naturally’ invited to create something of herself, in the very process of becoming a woman.”

There is no such thing as a man who loves, except, then, from the feminine position.

Miller says:

a man in love has flashes of pride, bursts of aggressiveness against the object of his love, because this love puts him in a position of incompleteness, of dependence. That’s why he can desire women he doesn’t love, so as to get back to the virile position he suspends when he loves. Freud called this principle the ‘debasement of love life’ in men: the split between love and sexual desire.


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