chapter  5
Revision of countertransference (1)
WithBogdan Wolf
Pages 16

Before I continue with the question of masochism in Lacan’s teaching, and start to discuss in this and the next chapter the theme of countertransference, I would like to make two introductory remarks. Firstly, overall Lacan’s take on masochism, and on perversion in general, is not historical, cultural, or economic, like Freud’s, let alone psychological, but structural and therefore dynamic. His articulations fall in sharp contrast to the commentators like Krafft-Ebing, Marie Bonaparte, Reik, or Grunberger to mention just a few who speak about pleasure in pain, passivity and activity as heirs of earlier opposition of masculinity and femininity. The structural approach entails situating the drive-based libidinal satisfaction called jouissance in the relations between the subject and the object a which implicates the Other both as the Other of law, of the signifier, and as desire. Secondly, Lacan is not concerned with the polarity of pain and pleasure and there is a reason for that. When he speaks about jouissance, he already incorporates pain and pleasure into it, which has always made me reluctant to translate jouissance into “enjoyment”. In other words, jouissance is masochist par excellence by virtue of combining the discontent of excitations and pleasurable extractions thereof into one, indeed into the one. Jouissance, being masochist, is indivisible.