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Fragment of a case of posthysteria: D'or owns the jewel.

A major radical transformation from the nineteenth-century hysteric to the twenty-first-century posthysteric is a transformation in discourse and, of course, in the agency embedded in that discourse.

In this narration Dora becomes the posthysteric D'Or. The French meaning of the name D'or is golden. Freud gave his star hysteric the name of his sister's maidservant, Dora (O'Neill 80). Lacan refers to Dora and two other hysterical patients as "mouths of gold" for the knowledge Freud gathered from them (Lacan XVII 99). It is said of the name D'or that:

People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities. They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination. They tend to be courageous and sometimes aggressive. As unique, creative individuals, they tend to resent authority, and are sometimes stubborn, proud, and impatient. ('or)

The name alteration indicates that the posthysteric has gone beyond the hysteric's positioning as a servant to Freud and psychoanalysis: in the nineteenth century, the tracks of psychoanalysis were laid on the back of the hysteric. In the twenty-first century the posthysteric drives a gold spike through these tracks and in so doing reroutes the way and destination. In the name alteration, the missing a that changes Dora to D'or is the a of object a, the truth position in Lacan's famous four discourses. Object a is embodied in D'or as the agent who occupies the discourse positions of Master S1, Analyst a, and University S2, in addition to the position of Hysteric $. This, of course, changes the agent position of the barred subject $ of the hysteric to the posthysteric position that blends the structural positions of truth/agent/production/other into a new agency that can be written as a-$-S2-S1 and a new discourse: the Discourse of the Posthysteric.

In presenting the case of D'or I take my utterances regarding the case and the assertion of my interpreted scenarios as reality; this is to say that what I in the dominant position of the Master ([s.sub.1]) detail about D'or in subsection 4, "Eighteen year old D'or," is presented as objective fact and I refuse to acknowledge that the scenarios derived are constructed. What I in the position analyst (a) in subsection 5, "D'or Owns the Jewel: D'or and Female Ejaculatory Agency," re-member is accomplished through the postmodern techniques of queering and speed; what I in the dominant position of Knowledge (S2) in subsection 5 reveal is the techne of female ejaculation; and, what I in the dominant position of posthysteric ($) bring forth in subsections 4 and 5 is an ownership of the female phallus by providing the blade for the hysteric's double-edged sword questions: "What is the female organ?" "What is it to be a woman?" (Lacan III 171). It is the additional third question that D'or asks, "How to [female] ejaculate?," which reworks the hysteric's two questions and in so doing not only brings the "the master to heel" (Lacan XVIII, X, 11), which the hysteric was capable of doing, but also brings psychoanalysis to its knees.

A Matheme in which the hysteric $/S1/S2/a becomes posthysteric a-$-S2-S1

This subsection sets out 1) the formal structure of Lacan's Four Discourses, paying particular attention to the vectors or arrows of the circuit, 2) the matheme of Lacan's Discourse of the Hysteric, and 3) my matheme of the Discourse of the Posthysteric.

Formal Structure (Lacan XX 17 and Lacan, Milan Lecture)


The one speaking, the agent, addresses herself to the other (arrow 1) from the truth sustaining the speaker agent (arrow 2). The truth through symptoms of daily life (slips of the tongue, faulty actions) and also pathological symptoms addresses itself indirectly to the other (arrow 3). The other responds to the subject with a production that can be linguistic and other than linguistic (arrow 4). The produced effect returns to the discursive agent (arrow 5) and the circuit starts again (Gendrault 7, Bryant 40-44).

For a change of discourse to occur the terms of the discourse rotate clockwise one position forward as in the transition from the Master's Discourse to the Hysteric's Discourse, the Hysteric's Discourse to the Analyst's Discourse, the Analyst's Discourse to the University Discourse and the University Discourse to the Master's Discourse; the terms can also rotate counter-clockwise as in transition from the University Discourse back to the Analyst Discourse or from the Analyst's Discourse back to the Hysteric's Discourse, and so on.

The terms, algebraic symbols, signify as follows:

S1, the master signifier: can be anything from the master, the father, the leader, the female ejaculator, from proper names to key ideological signifiers like freedom, democracy, Canada, the environment, we, and others.

S2: knowledge, know-how, technology

$: the subject divided between consciousness and unconsciousness, male and female, alienated subjects, subjects subordinated to other subjects

a: surplus jouissance or surplus enjoyment, the lost object

Discourse of the Hysteric


Discourse of the Posthysteric


In the Discourse of the Hysteric, the agent, the one who speaks addresses herself to the position of other that is occupied by the master. The truth driving the hysteric's discourse is a desire to know, a desire for knowledge of jouissance; the hysteric's symptoms--vision abnormalities, blindness, spasms or neurasthenia, sexual dysfunction, speech impediments, biting the tongue, nausea, rapid palpitations, multiple personalities, fugue states, absences and amnesia, hallucinations, temporary paralysis, thumb-sucking, and the involuntary passing of urine (Freud, "Some General Remarks" 101)--address themselves directly to the master who in the structural position of other responds with a type of technological know-how--the talking cure, free association, and dream analysis--at the core of the science of psychoanalysis. The produced effect of the deployment of technological skill (the product) returns to the agent and the circuit starts again. However, it is impossible for the techniques of psychoanalysis to produce the sought after knowledge of object a that drives the Hysteric's Discourse because object a is outside language.

The Discourse of the Posthysteric is a completely different territory outside and excess to what Levi Bryant dubs "The Universe of Mastery" which is the playground of all Four Discourses (44). The vector of the Posthysteric Discourse is a [right arrow] $ [right arrow] S2 [right arrow] S1 [right arrow] a.

One notices five interesting features of the Discourse of the Posthysteric:

1. The matheme of the Posthysteric Discourse comes into being by inverting the position of truth in the Hysteric's Discourse; that is, by placing a in the agent position which it occupies in the Analyst's Discourse.

2. The Hysteric $ rotates one turn forward to the position of the Other which was the Master's position in the Hysteric's Discourse and which is the Hysteric's position in the Analyst's Discourse.

3. S2, know-how and science, stays in the same position as it is in the Hysteric's Discourse; however, it is producing know-how, technology, and science for object a occupying the agent position and not for the hysterical subject $; the hysterical subject $, in the position of Other, is addressed by an object a that contains both the knowledge of jouissance that the hysteric is seeking and the techne--skill and know-how--of how to attain it.

4. The master S1 reverses one position to where it is in the University Discourse and is in the structural position of a driving the discourse. The master's desire to own and control sustains and meshes with the hysteric's desire to know through vectors 1, 2, and 3.

5. In none of the four discourses comprising the Universe of Mastery is skill and know-how delivered to object a via vector 4 as it is in the discourse of the Posthysteric.

What Dora and Hysteria as represented by Freud gave to the posthysteric

For the future posthysteric Freud's key contribution to the theory of hysteria was sixfold. First, he made a connection between Dora's hysterical symptoms and the secretion of female fluids and linked "abnormal secretions" with hysteria. In what became the defining citation from his work on hysteria Freud writes:

The pride taken by some women in the appearance of their genitals is quite a special feature of their vanity; ... disorders of genitals ... inspire feelings of repugnance or even disgust [and] have an incredible power of humiliating them, of lowering their self-esteem and of making them irritable, sensitive and distrustful. An abnormal secretion of the mucous membrane of the vagina is looked upon as a source of disgust. (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 121).

Second, in "Some General Remarks on Hysterical Attacks," Freud discloses the source of female hysteria: "a boyish nature" (102). Woman emerges when female masculinity is repressed, when the masculine active girl is fully Oedipalized into the passive feminine woman. Freud observes:

[H]ysterical attacks, like hysteria in general, revive a piece of sexual activity in women which existed during their childhood and at that time revealed an essentially masculine character. It can often be observed that girls who have shown a boyish nature and inclinations up to the years before puberty are precisely those who become hysterical from puberty onwards. ("Some General Remarks" 102)

Interestingly, it can be assumed that Freud's work with Dora in 1901 and its publication in 1905 contributed to the production of this observation. In fact, it seems to be this phenomenological body experience of loss that underpins Dora's two questions as identified by Lacan from Freud's narration: What is it to be a woman? and specifically, What is the feminine organ? (III 172)

What is repressed in becoming woman, according to Freud, is active female sexuality. It is widely accepted that "masculine character" and "boyish inclination" for Freud are, among other things, signifiers for masturbation. In his analysis of Dora's first dream in which "a house was on fire," Dora's "father was standing beside her bed and woke her up," her mother "wanted to stop and save her jewel-case" ("Fragment of an Analysis" 99); Freud sees Dora as "about to reveal to him a childhood secret, presumably her masturbatory behavior" (O'Neill 73). Of course, according to Freud, "the wish which creates the dream always springs from the period of childhood" ("Fragment of an Analysis" 107). Freud pieces elements of the dream--fire and jewel case--together to allude to "an event in childhood" (107). The event, of course, is masturbation. What is interesting for the posthysteric D'or and all posthysterics is the linkage Freud makes and tells Dora regarding "children being forbidden to play with matches" not on account of fire but due to the fear "that if they do they will wet their bed" (107). Freud suggests to Dora, "Perhaps it is believed that they will dream of fire and then try and put it out with water" (107). He further contends that Dora's "mother wanted to save the jewel-case [not] so that it should not be burnt" but, rather, in terms of dream-thought analysis, so that "the jewel-case not be ... wetted" (107-08). Freud interprets Dora's dream image of her father standing over her bed and the father's dream statement, "I refuse to let my two children go to their destruction" (108)--"be burnt for the sake of your jewel-case" (99) as Dora and her brother being "addicted to bed-wetting up to a later age than is usual with children" (108). Bedwetting could also be taken to be ejaculation--liquid fire--particularly in the female form that is so copious that it can be deployed to put out fire; in the nineteenth and first three-quarters of the twentieth century it was pathologized as urinary incontinence. (1)

Third, not only are the manifest symptoms of hysteria an enacted or "pantomimed" (Freud, "Some General Remarks" 97) "compromise between a libidinal and a repressing impulse" (Freud, "Hysterical Phantasies" 93), the symptoms "may also represent a union of two libidinal phantasies of an opposite sexual character" (93). It gets better; the innate bisexual nature of human beings that is a blend of active and passive aims and actions comes to the body surface of the hysteric. Freud cites a case of a hysteric who "pressed her dress up against her body with one hand (as the woman), while she tried to tear it off with the other (as the man)" (94). This allows Freud to claim that "hysterical symptoms are the expression on the one hand of a masculine unconscious sexual phantasy, and on the other hand of a feminine one" (93).

Fourth, Freud claims that hysteria is very much due to women's fear of the erect penis encountered indirectly through its outline in tight trousers: "The subject of erection solves some of the most interesting hysterical symptoms. The attention that women pay to the outline of men's genitals as seen through their clothing becomes, when it has been repressed, a source of the very frequent cases of avoiding company and of dreading society" ("Fragment of an Analysis" n1). The male erection as a source of the hysteric's dread of society and the hysteric's fascination with the male erection sets the scene for the posthysteric's female erection and ejaculation through the organ that "performs the function of micturition as well as ... sexual function," just like "the male member" (62). In response to Dora's recollection of her bodily revulsion and recurrent choking and nausea following Herr K.'s carefully orchestrated kiss and embrace in his empty office, Freud writes: "I have formed in my own mind the following reconstruction of the scene. I believe that during the man's passionate embrace she felt not merely his kiss upon her lips but also the pressure of his erect member against her body" (60). Unintentionally, Freud, in a way, foreshadows the female erection when he opines: "The pressure of the erect member probably led to an analogous change in the corresponding female organ, the clitoris; and the excitation of this second erotogenic zone was referred by a process of displacement to the simultaneous pressure against the thorax and became fixed there" (61).

It is the "analogous change in the corresponding female organ, the clitoris" that Freud takes to be troubling Dora, which is of most interest to the posthysteric. One wonders if Freud had somehow foreseen what became in the late twentieth century, thanks to the Feminist Women's Health Centers (FWHC), a new view of the clitoris that extends the visible external structure, the glans of the clitoris, to incorporate the internal spongy erectile tissue on the top and bottom vaginal walls, producing a blended external and internal erection of similar size to that of the male member. Certainly if Dora's unified external/internal clitoris became erect as the analogous change in the female organ and she didn't know what it was, this erection could take her breath away and produce symptoms of choking and nausea. And, how could Dora know what the internal female erection was? There was no documentation of it in the family encyclopedia or the more exciting book Physiology of Love by Paolo Mantegazza that she was reading with Frau K. at the K.'s house on the lake.

Fifth, Freud presents Dora as desiring sexual knowledge that is never fully provided, not by the family encyclopedia, nor by the Physiology of Love and books of that nature, and not by her intimate talks with Frau K. with whom Dora shares a bedroom when she stays with Frau and Herr K. at the lake. We learn from Freud that Dora "had been the wife's confidante and advisor in all the difficulties of her married life. There was nothing they had not talked about" ("Fragment of an Analysis" 96). It is with Frau K., the wife of the man who assaults Dora with a kiss and an erect member, whom Dora reads Mantegazza and discusses "forbidden topics" (97). John O'Neill, in "Opening the Dora Case (1905 [1901])," queries "What is the knowledge that Dora needs of (from) men?" (72). This is an excellent question. Freud provides three clues that when combined give one a good idea of what knowledge is needed. There is 1) Dora's fascination and revulsion with the erect member; 2) her obsession with liquidity--bedwetting as a child, "abnormal vaginal secretions," "the kind of getting wet involved in sexual intercourse" (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 128), "man presenting] woman with something liquid in the form of drops" (128); and, 3) not so much the jewel case present in her first dream and as a gift given to her by Herr K. (Freud points out to Dora that " 'jewel-case' ['Schmuck-kastchen'] is a favorite expression ... for the female genitals," 105) but the jewellery itself as evidenced by her refusal to wear jewellery since her illness, her mother's desire for the "pearl drops to wear in her ears" (104) that were denied as a gift by the father, and the gift from her father of "some jewellery which was exactly like some that she had seen" in the possession of Frau K. (97)--her father's mistress, Dora's at-the-lake roommate, and the wife of Dora's seducer. It seems that when one combines the erect member, bodily liquidity, and the refusal, denial, and acceptance of various exchanges of jewellery among various triangulated persons one could conclude that the knowledge Dora requires is about the sexual workings of her jewel or gem located outside/inside her jewel case in terms of how to make it erect and bring about its detumescence through the ejaculation of fluid.

Perhaps it is Freud's reasoning in his postscript to "Fragment of An Analysis of A Case of Hysteria (Dora)" that really gives the posthysteric of the next century carte blanche. Freud reasons, "The symptoms of the disease are nothing else than the patient's sexual activity" (156).

The hysteric resists through her body--a body incompletely Oedipalized and gendered. The hysteric's body speaks through vision abnormalities, blindness, spasms or neurasthenia, sexual dysfunction, speech impediments, biting the tongue, nausea, rapid palpitations, multiple personalities, fugue states, absences and amnesia, hallucinations, temporary paralysis, thumb-sucking, and the involuntary passing of urine. In an exquisite sexual encounter a posthysteric can experience fourteen of these phenomena. And, if coming with a female daddy's full fist in your pussy as you contract and release your pussy muscles until you drench her pecs and forearm with liquid fire counts as symptomatic of sexual dysfunction, then fifteen symptoms of hysteria are also features of active female sexuality (Bell, Fast Feminism 74). The symptom omitted is nausea.

There are conflicting portraits of Dora and debate as to whether hysteria is resistance or failure, the most famous being those of Helene Cixous and Catherine Clement. The hysteric as represented by Freud and produced by Lacan paved the way for the posthysteric. The hysteric is simultaneously woman and man, and, "she is the name of a certain force which makes the little circus not work anymore" (Cixous quoted in O'Neill 77-79). What the hysteric is incapable of doing is "taking flight," as Clement contends (quoted in O'Neill 77). She claims, "What she broke was strictly individual and limited" (79). It is not at all clear what Clement means to say here. It is the posthysteric who takes flight from the Universe of Mastery producing her own matheme and discourse and that is in no small part due to the fact she is involved in an expanding public collective enunciation.

While the hysteric resisted through her body, the posthysteric resists through a public (discourse and politics) and private (sexual practice) refusal to accept the female body as it has been constructed. Lacan's production of Dora and the hysteric made ready the scene for the posthysteric with her own discourse to emerge.

Lacan's production of Dora

It is Lacan's laying bare of the structural rules of the game that sets Dora on her way out of the circuit of the Universe of Mastery toward becoming D'or. Relying on Hegel's Master-Slave bond to structure the four discourses, Lacan provides a structural opening for the barred subject $ to bring down the Master S1; in the case of the hysteric as barred subject $ it is by unmasking the castration of the master. Not only can the master not appropriate the hysteric's surplus a, the master can not figure the nature of this surplus jouissance and is left playing in the terrain of the jewel case, Freud's marker for Oedipalized heterosexual relations. In the discourse of the master "the female sex is characterized by an absence, a void, a hole, which means that it happens to be less desirable than is the male sex" (III 177). While the master can only desire to control that which he cannot know, the hysteric desires to know. According to Lacan's reading of Freud's Dora:
   When Dora finds herself wondering, What is a woman?, she is
   attempting to symbolize the female organ as such. Her
   identification with the man, bearer of the penis, is for her on
   this occasion a means of approaching this definition that escapes
   her. She literally uses the penis as an imaginary instrument for
   apprehending what she hasn't succeeded in symbolizing. (III 178)

Since "the symbolic is what yields us the entire world system" (Lacan III 177), it is necessary that the hysteric have the words to reposition the phallus/penis from "an imaginary instrument" to its place as an essential component of the female sex organ and that this be done in words. "It is because man has words that he has knowledge of things" (Lacan III 177). Yet, the hysteric, "industrious as she is" (Lacan XVII 34), is unable to produce words that reveal "the magnitude of what she as woman is capable of revealing concerning jouissance" (34).

Lacan claims that she is unable to do so because "this is not what matters to the hysteric. What matters to her is that that other called a man know what a precious object she becomes in this context of discourse" (Lacan XVII 34). But what if it is "what matters to the hysteric"? Lacan produces the hysteric as "a logician" (XVIII, IX 15). But the logo-hysteric must circulate in his four discourses. It is the structural rule of the game. Another structural rule of the game is that "any gender being analyzed ... [is] obliged to pass through the hysteric's discourse, ... this is the law, the rule of the game" (Lacan XVII 33).

Lacan, well-heeled by Kojeve's reading of Hegel, notes that "when a slave has redeemed [rachete] himself he is a master only in that he has begun to risk everything" (XVII 82). It is the hysteric's excessive risk in her endeavour to know jouissance that seduces both Freud and Lacan and provides the momentum for the posthysteric's breaking of the circuit of the four discourses.

The hysteric's desire for knowledge and the recognition of her jouissance is perhaps Lacan's desire for her as well. For Lacan says, "It begins with a tickle and ends in a blaze of petrol. That's always what jouissance is" (XVII 72). But, of course, inside the structure of the four discourses, the object of desire, object a, can never be attained. "A blaze of petrol"--liquid fire. In Dora's first dream a house is on fire and her mother wants to rescue her jewel case before leaving; in the House of Lacan D'or lets the structure go, escaping with her jewel and liquid fire.

Eighteen-year-old D'or

"The family circle of the eighteen-year-old girl who is the subject of this paper included, besides herself, her two parents," a close older female mentor, and two female housemates (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 48). D'or was spending the summer of 1973 in her aunt and uncle's winter house; her live-in companions were two female friends of the same age; the location was a small North American Midwest city surrounded by a rural hinterland. The young women were virgins and quite interested in the slightly older young men in town, university students from other areas of the country, employed to work on a new section of a natural gas pipeline.

Following an evening of dancing at a local venue, D'or and one of her housemates returned home each with a young man. D'or's housemate and her guest retired to a bedroom. D'or and her young man Herr D. remained in the kitchen; D'or was sitting on Herr D.'s lap kissing him; suddenly a body movement occurred with which she had no familiarity nor knowledge: "[D]uring the man's passionate embrace she felt not merely his kiss upon her lips but also the pressure of his erect member against her body"; "The pressure of the erect member probably led to an analogous change in [her] corresponding female organ" (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 60, 61). Whether it was fear of Herr D.'s erect member pushing through his clothing or her erect member equally yet differently pushing through her locked jewel case and her clothing, D'or temporarily froze. As the paralysis lifted, she bit her tongue, pushed him away with her arms, and said "'get out.'" Herr D. reacted angrily with the words: "'You are frigid,'" adding as he left, "'just like this table.'" Herr D. had diagnosed D'or as having a sexual dysfunction--frigidity--which in DSM-V (2013) becomes "female sexual interest/arousal disorder" (IsHak and Tobia 2013). Not for a moment did Herr D. consider that perhaps D'or's jewel case remained closed because he held an incorrect key.

D'or threw up in response to the physiological fear state and her terror of sexual dysfunction; she entered a fugue state for a period of seven hours, during which she also suffered aphonia and crying convulsions. Frau J., D'or's teacher and confidante, sixteen years older than her, was summoned. It could be said that rather than "[a] romantic and sentimental friendship with one of her school friends" D'or had this with Frau J., "accompanied by vows, kisses, promises of eternal correspondence" (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 52).

All D'or can remember is waking to Frau J.'s voice as if in a dream state. D'or never could recall what Frau J. said to her. Like Dora and Frau K., during the course of their relationship, "[t]here was nothing they had not talked about," including Frau J.'s love for and sexual relations with Herr Z. Herr Z.'s attempted seduction of D'or had introduced "jealousy" into Frau J. and D'or's friendship. All D'or could recollect was telling Frau J. that she wished that she had been Herr D., that she had been D'or's first sexual encounter, that it had been Frau J. who had been kissing her and not the young man Herr D. It wasn't simply, as Freud suggested, that D'or, as a result of the disgust produced by a failed heterosexual encounter and her "energetic suppression" via conversion into hysterical symptoms of her physiological body responses during this encounter, "redirected her libido towards women" (53). No, D'or was conscious that she loved and desired Frau J. and that it was the sexual libido of this desire that she was redirecting toward men.

D'or's amnesia for the dream-like time she spent with Frau J. in the early morning perhaps was the source of inspiration for D'or hastening into action that very evening. Having been labeled frigid, D'or, determined to refute that label, went to a bar where she spotted a young man on his own who possibly would facilitate her loss of frigidity. D'or walked over to his table, said hello, and stated her case: "'I am a virgin, will you teach me how to have sex?'" It is this active initiative coupled with this question that set D'or on the trajectory of the posthysteric "how to ..." The young man, in that golden moment, responded, "'Yeah,'" and he did, beginning that evening. The full lesson continued a few weeks later at the end of the summer when for a week D'or and the young man G'ord traveled to a lake amidst a sea of agricultural land, set themselves up in a tent, and did sexual positions, including a sexual scenario at a deserted summer youth camp, Camp Wannakumbac. It was the end of the summer, the leaves were golden; D'or had repositioned from a frigid virgin to a sexual adventurer and had taken her first step on the path of posthysteria. D'or was eighteen. In fact, she had just turned eighteen two days before her first failed sexual encounter and three days before her second achieved sexual encounter.

It was the "how" question, "Will you teach me how to have sex?" that repositioned and redirected D'or from hysteric to posthysteric. Over the years the "how" question developed to include: "Will you teach me how to orgasm?" And, then, "How do you ejaculate?" A question D'or asked every man she had a sexual encounter with until one man was both able to articulate how to and show her the process. It was the mid-1980s--female ejaculation was soon to be on the sexual map.

D'or owns the jewel: D'or and female ejaculatory agency

I wrote the first set of instructions on how to female ejaculate in "Q: What Shoots and Sprays, Shoots and Sprays, Shoots and Sprays? A: A Woman" published, as the feature article for the International Women's Day issue of the lesbian magazine Rites in 1989. (2) The issue included black-and-white images of me doing two different types of female ejaculation--the spurting gush and the jet stream--and two texts, one which traced the genealogy of female ejaculation and one entitled "The Everywoman's Guide to Ejaculation," which provided step-by-step directions on how to ejaculate:

Step One: Find what has come to be known as your G-spot; don't call it that, it is named after Grafenberg, a man. It is the muscle and spongy tissue around that part of your urethra that is on the top wall of your vagina. It is about half a finger (more or less) inside your vagina and about a finger across--about two inches. If the muscles that go around your vagina have not been used too much (mine weren't) they have to be built up. The muscles can be built up by doing contractions: pressing the top of your vagina against the bottom and releasing. Don't worry: Strong muscles will not hold the penis in place; they will push it out when your ducts get full and you want to shoot.

Step Two: Using whichever hand you usually masturbate with, take two or three fingers and rub them against the part of your urethra inside your vagina. Press hard and notice the feeling of having to pee. You don't, this is the signal that you are ready to ejaculate. Now, place the middle finger slightly below the external part of your urethra and begin to masturbate the same way you rub your clit. As you are doing this you will notice the two ducts, one at each side of your urethra, feel full and perhaps somewhat painful; you have another 30 or so ducts scattered in the urethral sponge on the top wall of your vagina. Once you get into the body feeling you may be able to locate them externally on your lower abdomen. They are located in a pyramid from your clit to just near your ovaries.

Step Three: Take your other hand and press down on one or more of the ducts from the outside. Push your urethra out and push the way you do when you pee. A crucial aspect of ejaculating is that it is necessary to push out. Liquid will come shooting out perhaps in a steady stream or jet.

I can ejaculate only in positions in which I can push my entire pelvis out and up: on my knees with legs a foot and a half apart; on my back with my ass raised up, weight distributed on my feet and shoulders, and knees at least two feet apart; squatting, standing, again with feet far enough apart so I can push my urethra up and out. As a veteran ejaculator, following stimulation on my urethra and urethral sponge I can ejaculate by just pushing out.

If your partner is female, you may be able to help her ejaculate. As you stimulate her anterior vaginal wall and the exterior part of her urethra, get her to push out when she is ready. You will both feel the glands and ducts around the urethra swelling and filling with liquid.

What ejaculation will do for you sexually is to give you a powerful kinesthetic, visual, and auditory experience--a total body experience. You can repeat it almost indefinitely once your body awakens to it. Seeing and hearing your body fluid put out fire gives one a whole new relation to the environment.

The ejaculate changes in amount, color, odor and taste during your menstrual cycle. At ovulation the fluid is very hot (it corresponds to your vaginal temperature), thick, yellowish and pungent. Following ovulation the fluid is thinner, there is more of it, it is clear and pleasantly salty. It remains this way until bleeding starts at which point it is again thick for the first day or so. It then returns to being clear and copious. I have found that ejaculation during ovulation--because it reduces vaginal temperature--reduces yeast infections that result from the increase in vaginal temperature at ovulation. (3)

Later in 1989, filmmaker Kath Daymond and I did Nice Girls Don't Do It, the first film on female ejaculation. (4) It was a thirteen-minute truth pastiche of knowledge, porn, and technical instruction.

This is not to say that female ejaculation did not exist before the end of the 1980s. On the contrary, female ejaculation has a long history. This history has been retrospectively reformulated as the popular culture genealogy of female ejaculation. Make no mistake, if D'or and her queer feminist political militant friends had not ruptured the old order of female sexuality with new knowledge and practices, female ejaculation would not have become a regular part of feminine jouissance. Rather, female ejaculation would have continued to suffer the fate of what Michel Foucault termed "subjugated knowledge": it would appear for a moment now and then in a specific discourse (philosophy, medicine, pornography, sexology) only to be submerged out of view for extended periods of time throughout history.

While female bodies have ejaculated throughout history, female ejaculation was not what Alain Badiou terms a truth-event and Lacan calls a discourse, "a social bond, founded in language" (XX 21), until it was enunciated in multiple sites of queer feminist discourse that collectively and retrospectively rendered obsolete the hegemonic markings of the female body as submissive to the pleasures and desires of the male body. As Badiou notes, "the event renders prior markings obsolete" (23).

Female ejaculation is an incredibly powerful physiological experience and image of the sexual female body. To see fluid shooting with velocity and forced out of the glands and ducts that surround the urethra--what is called the "urethral sponge" of the clitoris, now officially the "female prostate"--through the vaginal opening, provides a new script for female sexuality and repositions the female body as powerful, active, and autonomous. Female ejaculation educator Deborah Sundahl suggests, "this is connectable to a broadening of women's social and sexual roles" (Bell, Whore Carnival 273). I say, "[t]he visual image of female ejaculation relieves the phallus of its patriarchal burden" (273-74).

A new female body (5)

The paradigm shift in knowledge about and representations of female sexuality began with A New View of a Woman's Body (1981), compiled by the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers (FWHC), which in a brilliant political move redefined the clitoris, extending its visible external structure, the glans of the clitoris, to incorporate the internal spongy erectile tissue on the top and bottom vaginal walls. The FWHC named the tissue on the top wall of the vagina the "urethral sponge" and the spongy tissue on the bottom wall, the "perineal sponge" (FWHC 43-45). During sexual excitement, the urethral and perineal sponges become engorged and erect; the paraurethral glands and ducts in the urethral sponge fill with prostatic and other fluid which can be ejaculated through the urethra. In the terms of Badiou and Lacan, this shift would not merely constitute a new view of a pre-existing body, a change in an already existing body; rather, it would constitute a new body, produced by new discursive subjects in a new discourse: the discourse of the posthysteric.

The FWHC'S A New View of a Woman's Body provided drawings of the clitoral structure in flaccid and erect states. These drawings make apparent the similarity in size and structure of the male and female sex organs. Directed by Mary Jane Sherfey's 1972 point-by-point comparison of clitoral and penile anatomy, the FWHC rediscovered and defined the female clitoris pragmatically through consciousness-raising sessions and shared intimate experiences that included participants taking off their clothes to compare genital anatomy and documenting each other masturbating. By doing so they acquired the practical knowledge presented in Susan Gage's now-famous anatomical illustrations of the urethral sponge of the clitoris, complete with erectile tissue and paraurethral glands and ducts (Chalker 33-34).

In The G Spot (1981), Alice Khan Ladas, Beverly Whipple, and John D. Perry extended the paradigm shift of the new view of the female body into the realm of heterosexual popular culture, coining the term g spot after Grafenberg to refer to the urethral sponge. The g spot had wider currency than the urethral sponge as it implies a secret spot that, once located, will unleash the female body's possibilities for pleasure. The authors describe the g spot as "a spot inside the vagina that is extremely sensitive to deep pressure. It lies on the anterior wall of the vagina ... when properly stimulated, the Grafenberg spot swells and leads to orgasm in many women" (1-2). The G Spot makes two significant contributions to contemporary studies on female ejaculation: 1) it presents the female sexual organ as a unified organ, leaving behind the artificial division of the female genitals into clitoris and vagina which was so popular with Freud, Kinsey, and Masters and Johnson, in which either vaginal or clitoral orgasms were privileged, and 2) it popularizes female ejaculation, although it does not disclose how to do it.

The third key contribution, although first chronologically, to the paradigm shift in understanding and representing the female sex organ was by Josephine Sevely, who in 1978 co-authored with J. W. Bennett the first article on female ejaculation and the female prostate, "Concerning Female Ejaculation and the Female Prostate" in the Journal of Sex Research. Sevely and Bennett claimed that the tissue surrounding the female urethra was the same as that surrounding the male urethra and contained thirty or more prostatic glands. They also provided the lost genealogy of female ejaculation, from ancient philosophy and medicine until 1950s sexology.

Sevely extended her theories about female sexuality into Eve's Secrets (1987), but it never achieved the popularity of The G Spot. Eve's Secrets emphasizes the simultaneous involvement of the clitoris, urethra, and vagina (the CUV) as a single integrated sex organ. The implications of this theory are twofold: first, a woman's sexual organ is viewed as an integrated whole, not split between clitoral activity and vaginal passivity; second, the anatomical alternative between male and female genitals is challenged by a new construction of anatomical symmetry. Both female and male bodies have prostate gland structures and both have the potential to ejaculate fluids during sexual stimulation. The female body can ejaculate fluid from thirty or more ducts, and with stimulation it can ejaculate repeatedly. It can ejaculate more fluid than the male body and enjoy a plurality of genital pleasure sites: the clitoris, urethra, vagina, the vaginal entrance, the top and bottom walls of the vagina, and the cervix.

We now know that the female sex organ is very similar to the male's in structure and function--that is, the urethral sponge is capable of anywhere from a three--to eight-inch erection, measures a handful in circumference, and that prostatic and other bodily fluids are ejaculated from the paraurethral glands and ducts through the urethra. What then is it that prevents recognition of body symmetry and body equality? Quite likely a large part of this lack of recognition is due to the historical invisibility of the female sex organ as an integrated unit and the subsequent lack of symmetry in our male-dominated cultures of naming or the symbolic encoding of the female and male sex organs.

Terminology is important. Milan Zaviacic, professor of Pathology and Forensic Medicine at the Comenius University of Bratislava in Slovakia, fought for twenty years to get the International Committee on Anatomical Terminology to recognize the female prostate as a functioning anatomical structure: "It appears to be illogical to use the term prostate for the tissue in the male and a different term (Skene's glands and ducts of paraurethral glands and ducts) for the same tissue in the female. The use of the term Skene's paraurethral glands and ducts wrongly implies that some other structure rather than the prostate is involved" (120).

Naming is important. There are significant power differentials inherent in the naming of the female sex organ: alternately the urethral sponge, g spot, female prostate, and what I choose to name it, the female phallus ("The Female Phallus: Something to See," Fast Feminism). As Lacan says: "the symbolic is what yields us the entire world system. It is because man has words that he has knowledge of things" (III 177).

In the video How to Female Ejaculate (1992), Sundahl conducts a cervical self-examination. She shows the internal erection by turning the speculum sideways and inserting it inside the vagina. It is only with the turning of the speculum that the full internal and external clitoris becomes fully visible, thus also turning the female sex from the absence of nothing to see into the presence of something to see. The speculum, a technology developed by gynecologists to facilitate viewing the cervix, simultaneously exposes the neck of the womb and obscures the female phallus. That is, until it is turned. The feminist turn of the technology for viewing a woman's sex generates a whole new truth of the female body, a whole new female body, and a whole new discourse: the discourse of the posthysteric in which the question of "how to female ejaculate" is not only spoken and written but also continues to be taught in workshops by the very subjects who produced the discourse. (6) Deborah Sundahl, Carol Queen, and I continue to teach workshops, write texts, produce films and documentary footage for television documentaries, and speak on female ejaculation to potential female ejaculators; we have done so for almost the past quarter century.

Something to see: The ejaculating female phallus

Lying down on the floor, my cunt elevated on a plush red pillow, I turned the speculum sideways and slipped it inside. Tejal, the stunningly handsome boy/girl host, illuminated my erection with a flashlight as the twenty or so Mumbai dykes, femmes, and transmen looked at what was once nothing to see. Some slipped on a surgical glove and slid a couple of fingers inside to stimulate my swelling hardness. The consensus was that although everyone had previously felt the female phallus in full and partial fisting activities, its visual magnitude had previously remained invisible.

The visibility of the internal erection repositions the top wall of the vagina, specifically the spongy erectile tissue and the glands and ducts surrounding the urethra, as a female phallus. It turns out that just as Dora suspected and D'or knew the phantom female cock haunting psychoanalysis is an actual cock, Freud's little girls' so-called hallucinations were actually body knowledge of the presence of a real penis, always already there, awaiting the appropriate technology and action--a turned speculum--to come into view (Bell, Fast Feminism 57-58). I produce an ejaculation shot with the speculum inside to make the internal female sex organ visible from the outside. This creates a physical and visual redesign of the female body's sexual anatomy.

Finally, I perform, with my body, a live reproduction of the artist Louise Bourgeois's erotic bronze sculpture, the headless form suspended mid-air in pain and/or ecstasy, Arch of Hysteria (1993). In continuum with the erect pubic mound of Bourgeois's sculpture, I place female ejaculation. While Bourgeois visually conflates the hysteric's arc-de-cercle (Freud, "Fragment of an Analysis" 98) and the arch of female orgasm, I provide the golden spike that the posthysteric knows is at the root of the arc/arch: the ejaculating female phallus.

While the posthysteric cannot be simply reduced to the ejaculating female body, this body is an important icon of the discursive transformation wrought by the posthysteric. Although the hysteric, as recorded by Freud, and the posthysteric have a similar physiological experience in terms of the "analogous change in the corresponding female organ," the posthysteric knows how to induce this change--erection and female ejaculation; that is, she possesses the technological know-how about "the sexual workings of her jewel" that the hysteric was seeking.

The posthysteric breaks the circuit of the traditional four discourses of mastery in psychoanalysis. She provides an answer to the key question that Lacan puts in the mouth of the hysteric: "What is the feminine organ?" And in so answering, "It is a female phallus," with the agency and action that organ potentiates, shifts the terrain from the jewel case of Oedipalized heterosexual practice to the terrain of queer practice.

The question shifts to "What shoots and sprays, shoots and sprays, shoots and sprays? Answer: A Woman" and introduces the defining question of the posthysteric: "How to ...?," specifically "How to female ejaculate?" It is the asking and answering of this question that marks the postness of the hysteric. The posthysteric produces words and images that show "the magnitude of what she as a woman is capable of revealing concerning jouissance."


I wish to thank Gad Horowitz for his superb editorial and theoretical skills, and I would like to thank Raan Matalon for the time he has given to reading, discussing, and theorizing Lacan with me.

Works Cited

Bell, Shannon. Fast Feminism: Speed Philosophy, Pornography, and Politics. New York: Autonomedia, 2010.

--. "Liquid Fire." Jane Sexes it Up. Ed. Lisa Johnson. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002. 327-45.

--. Whore Carnival. New York: Autonomedia, 1995.

--. "Female Ejaculation--A Woman's Ejaculation Guide." Spectator 26:24 (September 1991): 4-5, 15.

--. "Kvinnerspruter de ogsa!--Hvordan ejakulere?" Cupido 4 (1990): 58-62.

--. "The Everywoman's Guide to Ejaculation." Rites 5.9 (19 March 1989): 10-11.

Badiou, Alain. Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism. Trans. Ray Brassier. Stanford: Stanford up, 2003.

Bryant, Levi. "Zizek's New Universe of Discourse: Politics and the Discourse of the Capitalist." International Journal of Zizek Studies 2.4 (2008).

Chalker, Rebecca. The Clitoral Truth: The Secret World at Your Fingertips. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000.

Freud, Sigmund. "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria ('Dora') (1905 [1901]," vol. 8. Histories I. "Dora" and "Little Hans" Trans. Alix and James Strachey. Eds. James Strachey, Angela Richards, Alan Tyson. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1990.

--. "Hysterical Phantasies and Their Relation to Bisexuality (1908)," vol. 10. On Psychopathology: Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, and Other Works. Trans. James Strachey. Eds. James Strachey and Angela Richards. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

--. "Some General Remarks on Hysterical Attacks (1909 [1908])," vol. 10. On Psychopathology: Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, and Other Works. Trans. James Strachey. Eds. James Strachey and Angela Richards. London and New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers. A New View of a Woman's Body. Los Angeles: Feminist Health Press, 1991.

Kroker, Arthur, and Marilouise Kroker, eds. The Hysterical Male: New Feminist Theory. London: Macmillan, 1991.

Lacan, Jacques. On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge, 1972-1973. Encore the Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book XX. Trans. Bruce Fink. Ed. Jacques Alain Miller. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1998.

--. "On Psychoanalytic Discourse," Discourse of Jacques Lacan at the University of Milan, 1972.

--. The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book XVII. Trans. Russell Grigg. Ed. Jacques Alain Miller. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2007.

--. The Psychoses 1955-1956. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book III. Trans. Russell Grigg. Ed. Jacques Alain Miller. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1993.

--. On A Discourse That Might Not Be A Semblance 1971. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book XVIII. Trans. Cormac Gallagher. Private use only. Laqueur, Thomas. "One Sex or Two? Female Ejaculation." Ideas, CBC radio. 15 February 1995.

--. Making Sex: Body and Gender From the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge and London: Harvard UP, 1990.

Ladas, Alice Kahn, Beverly Whipple, John D. Perry. The G Spot: And Other Discoveries about Human Sexuality. New York: Dell Books, 1982.

IsHak, Waguih William, and Gabriel Tobia. "dsm-5 Changes in Diagnostic Criteria of Sexual Dysfunctions." 2 August 2013. http://omicsonline. org/dsm-5-changes-in-diagnostic-criteria-of-sexual-dysfunctionS2161-038X.1000122.php?aid=18508. 22 June 2014.

Micale, Marks S. Approaching Hysteria: Disease and Its Interpretations. Princeton: Princeton up, 1995.

O'Neill, John. "Opening the Dora Case (1905 [1901])" The Domestic Economy of the Soul. Freud's Five Case Studies. New York: Sage, 2011.

Sevely, Josephine Lowndes, and J. W. Bennett. "Concerning Female Ejaculation and the Female Prostate" Journal of Sex Research 14 (1978): 1-20.

Sevely, Josephine Lowndes. Eve's Secrets: A New Theory of Female Sexuality. New York: Random House, 1987.

Zaviacic, Milan. The Human Female Prostate: From Vestigial Skene's Paraurethral Glands and Ducts to Woman's Functioning Prostate. Bratislava: Slovak Academic Press, 1999.

Shannon Bell

York University

(1) See Ladas, Whipple, and Perry, Bell, "Liquid Fire," and Bell, "The Female Phallus, Something to See," Fast Feminism.

(2) This article was reprinted as "Feminist Ejaculations" in Kroker, as Bell, "Female Ejaculation," and as Bell, "Kvinnerspruter de ogsa!" This originally appeared as a monologue in the video Nice Girls Don't Do It and was first published as "The Everywoman's Guide to Ejaculation."

(3) This originally appeared as a monologue in the video Nice Girls Don't Do It and was first published as "The Everywoman's Guide to Ejaculation."

(4) The earliest feminist representation of female ejaculation was part of a larger lesbian erotic film, Clips, produced by Blush Entertainment Group (1988).

(5) See Bell, "The Female Phallus, Something to See," Fast Feminism, 53-57.

(6) Film: Fatale Video, Clips (1988); Kath Daymond, Nice Girls Don't Do It (1989/90); Fatale Video, How to Female Ejaculate (1992); Annie Sprinkle, Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop (1992); House of Chicks (Dorrie Lane), The Magic of Female Ejaculation (1992); Deborah Sundahl, with Carol Queen, Shannon Bell and Baja, How to Female Ejaculate (1992); Deborah Sundahl, Tantric Journey to Female Ejaculation: Unveiling the G-Spot and Female Ejaculation (1998), Deborah Sundahl, Female Ejaculation For Couples and Deborah Sundahl (2004), Deborah Sundahl, Female Ejaculation The Workshop (2009), Deborah Sundahl, Female Ejaculation The Lecture (2012), Gilles Boyon and Segolene Hanotaux, G Spotting: A Story of Pleasure and Promise documentary featuring workshop with Shannon Bell (2011), showing in the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) November 2012.

Audio: CBC radio, Ideas, "One Sex or Two?" (1995).

Print: I have published articles and pictures in a number of porn magazines: Rites (1989), Bad Attitudes (1992), Lickerish (1993); Cupido (1990), Spectator (1991); Adam (1992); Over Forty (2000). I have written performative essays in popular culture books: Kroker, The Hysterical Male; Bell, Whore Carnival; Bell in Johnson, ed., Jane Sexes It Up, and "The Female Phallus" in Fast Feminism. Deborah Sundahl addressed a number of questions concerning female ejaculation in her advice column "Ask Fanny," which featured in On Our Backs throughout the early to mid-1990s. She continues to address female ejaculation questions on her website, In 2003, Sundahl wrote Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot, the classic text on female ejaculation. It is a beautiful mesh of female ejaculation knowledge combined with a practical approach to disseminating the skills of female ejaculation, including excellent instructions both for the ejaculator and her partners. It also has an extensive, up-to-the moment database of research documenting practically everything ever produced on female ejaculation. And, it is written by a woman who has over twenty years practical experience teaching other women how to female ejaculate.

Shannon Bell is a Professor of Political Science at York University, Bell is a performance philosopher who lives and writes philosophy-in-action. Her books include Fast Feminism (2010), Reading, Writing and Rewriting the Prostitute Body (1994), Whore Carnival (1995), Bad Attitude/s on Trial, co-authored (1997), Subversive Itinerary: The Thought of Gad Horowitz, co-edited (2013), and New Socialisms, co-edited (2004).
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