What Can We Know About Sex?

A Lacanian Study of Sex and Gender

Despite the progress made by psychoanalysis since Freud’s discovery of the sexual nature of the unconscious, analysts have tended to explore psychical causality independently of the role of the biological factors at play in sexuality. What Can We Know About Sex? explains how Lacan’s work allows us to make new links between the sexual laws of discourse, gender and what Freud called the "biological rock" in human life, allowing a new perspective not only on the history of the sexual couple but on contemporary developments of sexuality in the twenty-first century. Gisèle Chaboudez’s insights demonstrate that the old phallic logic that has been so dominant is now in the process of being dismantled, opening up the question of how people can relate sexually and what forms of jouissance are at stake for contemporary subjectivity.

What Can We Know About Sex? will be a key text for analysts, academics, and students of feminism, gender and sexuality.

Table of Contents

1. The Universe of Sexual Laws  2. The Experience of the Sexual Relation  3. Deconstruction of the Sexual Law  4. The Veiling of Non-Conjunction 5. Organisation of the Symbolic Order  6. How the Sexuated Logics May be Knotted together  7. Redistribution of Jouissances


"A fundamental step forward in the evolution of Gisèle Chaboudez’s reflection on sex and gender, What Can We Know About Sex? is an impeccable and thorough analysis of one of the most hotly debated issues in contemporary studies. It should definitely be translated and published in English. I’m convinced it will have a great repercussion, for it is precise, explicative and novel. It corrects many misunderstandings disseminated by several critical theorists. Chaboudez provides a rigorous reading of Lacan’s work, following his articulations step by step, and demonstrating how, for psychoanalysis, there cannot be any sexual norm. Her reflection on Lacan’s notion of the feminine enhances the radically new perspective and the subversion inherent in an idea that is not yet fully appreciated in its individual and social consequences." - Dr Paola Mieli, President, Après-Coup Psychoanalytic Association, New York, NY