Audrey McAleese – What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Issue 63 Autumn 2016, pages 103 -107

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

What ’s Love Got to Do with It?1

Audrey McAleese

The mother-son relationship is examined with reference to Freud’s texts – including On Narcissism and Female Sexuality – and Lacan’s terms, the Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real. The paper further explores what psychoanalysis offers in response to the absence of a sexual rapport between a man and a woman and questions ‘What’s love got to do with It?’ – the ‘It’ being any relationship, particularly that between a mother and her son.

Keywords: mother-son relationship; narcissism; female sexuality; the Imaginary; the Symbolic; the Real; the difference between the sexes; the Oedipus Complex; the absence of sexual rapport.

In light of our understanding that ‘there is no sexual rapport’ il n’y a pas de rapport sexuel, how do we assess what Freud writes about the mother-son relationship?

The evidence of psychoanalysis shows that almost every intimate emotional relation between two people which lasts for some time – marriage, friendship, the relation between parents and children – contains a sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility, which only escapes perception as a result of repression2… perhaps with the solitary exception of the relation of a mother to her son, which is based on narcissism, is not disturbed by subsequent rivalry, and is reinforced by a rudimentary attempt at sexual object-choice.3

A mother is only brought unlimited satisfaction by her relation to a son; this is altogether the most perfect, the most free from ambivalence of all human relationships… Even a marriage is not made secure until……..

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