This article deals with the importance of sensoriality in the construction of the subject in adolescence as a reprise of a sensoriality of early childhood, and its overlap with the pubertary metamorphosis of the experience of orgasm. It also explores the impact that this event has on the subject’s relation with the external world and its internal objects in terms of creation, between absence and presence of the object.
Adolescence, 2014, 32, 4, 857-864.
The author offers a theory of adolescence based on the necessary subjective revolution introduced by the emergence of the potential for orgasm linked to the biological maturation of puberty. But this is first experienced passively because it is « imposed » on the adolescent by biology. It is in the work of subjective re-appropriation the adolescent is then led to perform that we must place the adolescent’s relationship with death and the different forms that can be produced by the encounter with death. Confronted with the issue of death, the adolescent will mobilize the potential of the act in order to try to differentiate the psychical registers threatened with confusion by the contingencies of this encounter and try to set some limits by falling back on those of the body.
Male pubescent sexual theories (P.S.T.) are characterized on the one hand, by being rooted in the first orgasmic experiences, wherein the release of excitation, of sperm and of germinal cells are condensed; and on the other hand, by their evolution towards different theories about fluids, one of which is economical. This transformation is followed here in an adult patient. The opposite path leads us to hypothesize that Freud’s economical theory could be derived from these pubescent sexual theories.
The author tries to conceive of a psychoanalytical conception of intersubjectivity that would respect the double reference to the unconscious and to infantile sexuality. He believes it is necessary to emphasize the “ messenger ” value of the drive and its modes of representing. Two clinical vignettes show how the drive is composed or decomposed according to the response of the other-subject object, as well as the unconscious dimensions of the messages acted out in the face-to-face setting. Then a decomposition of different “ bits ” of the experience of satisfaction opens up the question of infantile sexuality which includes the other-subject in its organization. The question of adolescence is revisited as the moment when infantile sexuality is found again, and redefined as a function of adolescent sexuality’s “ body-to-body ”, but also as the danger of confusion associated with this find.
Now that there exists in psychoanalysis a logic that can identify the phase of the formation of a subject, like that of a neurosis, we can confirm that adolescence is a decisive logical phase. A time of the retroactive hold of fantasy, it is also the time of the discovery of orgasm, which constitutes what J. Lacan calls a maturation of the object a. The sexual relation discovers its non-conjunction in the man and the woman, whose effect is one of castration for both partners, repeating the symbolic castration that is the outcome of the Œdipus complex.
The state of being in love in adolescence often takes on the form of passion and the accents of tragedy. It is also as much feared as sought after, not only as re-encounter and repetition, « republishing of old news » as Freud writes, but also as a new discovery, creative dynamism, transforming invention. Henceforth it represents a second baptism, a new birth which must sometimes disavow the first. To love is to be reborn. To undo oneself, in order to redo oneself in a better way, to recreate oneself. At the risk, of course, of losing oneself forever. The state of being in love in adolescence demands the psychoanalyst’s attention. Clinical experience sometimes confronts us with psychical breakdowns in the wake of romantic disappointments. They reveal the quality of the narcissistic foundations of the adolescent whose identity is suffering. More a reviviscence than a reminiscence. In such situations, where representations are lacking to us, literature can be a big help. It can enable us to put into words a story which has none. Using Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the author suggests several possible lines of interpretation of love in adolescence involving notion of the sexual body, narcissism, death, orgasm, name.
Adolescence, 2011, T. 29 n° 3, pp. 683-705.