To resume again...

Lacanian Biology
and the Event
of the Body

Gender and Sexuation

The Great Divide

The Absence of
the 20th Century

Il n'y a pas de
rapport religieux


Rosemarie Trockel

The Ballad of
Ion Lupescu


Gender and Sexuation


Richard Klein

Gender is briefly discussed and contrasted with the equivalent in the teaching of Lacan, namely, sexuation, which, of course, is not an equivalence that exists since gender implies a sexual relation between the man and the woman, and sexuation is based on the impossibility of establishing the sexual relation between the two sexes. It goes further in sexuation: the heteros is missing.

There are gender effects in the dialectic of being and having the phallus which is a function that makes up for the absent sexual relation.1 Having the phallus is the centrepiece in Freud's doctrine of masculinity. Being the phallus is Lacan's invention in 1958 based on Riviere's masquerade.2 Masculinity is the result of one kind of relation to the phallus, and femininity of another kind to it. One signifier, two sexes, or, as one says now, two genders! This dialectic begins with symbolic support but is eventually devalued to the imaginary. What does that mean? It means that masculinity and femininity can be described. Do descriptions lead to an essence? According to Riviere the masquerade is definitely not the essence of femininity.

The fundamental trauma is no longer castration which the phallus includes. Traumatic is the sexual non-rapport in that the sexual relation is a hole in the real. It is troumatique.3 Nothing like a hole to indicate that something that does not exist can still operate. The sexual relation does not exist, and it is the source of symptoms. If gender can be counted amongst these symptoms, then the non-rapport may also be a source of gender which is, in any case, a prosthetic device as all identifications are. That's no reason not to use them to make up for what does not exist.



Art: Pia Stadtbäumer, Clara, bow, saw, pantyhose, wax, brass chrome, iron, fabric, rhinestones, 2000
Max, zellan, wig, blindfold, crystal, string, zellan, wig, blindfold, crystal, string, 2000
courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery, NY


1. Lacan, Jacques, "L'Étourdit," Scilicet 4, Paris: Seuil, 1973. back up

2. Lacan, J., "The Signification of the Phallus" in L'Écrits: A Selection, London: Tavistock, 1977. back up

3. Lacan, J., Le séminaire, Livre XXI: Les non-dupes errent, unpublished. back up

Subscribe to Lacanian Ink click here.