When you are going to encounter a psychoanalyst, you encounter a partner – a new partner you have not encountered in your life and with whom you are going to play a new part (partie). So that for this part to take place you must both, you and him or her, be there in person. Not necessarily you and your couple have to be there for a couples therapy, the thing is that you will make this new couple with the psychoanalyst. The part is played solely in speech. But why? Why does one add to one’s life this part to be played and this partner of speech, this supplementary interlocutor who in addition speaks so little as it must be confessed? One does it when one does not find oneself there with partners in one’s life. Then is when we usually look for couples therapy. Of course, it would be simpler if there was such a thing as the sexual instinct. Quite simply, if the sexual instinct existed in human space, there would not be psychoanalysis, and nevertheless couples therapy, because we would not have to ask ourselves any questions.
That’s because there would be a blind, mute force which would guide you and lead you towards the partner that you must have, the type of partner, the standard type, the one who corresponds to you. Well, that would must likely be the ideal. Besides, it is probably the idea or the ideal that one can have concerning the sexuality of animals.
There is no need to be a psychoanalyst to know that this is not how things happen in the human space. Human sexuality does not pass through the instinct. Human being does not go straight to his partner. He has to pass through a whole labyrinth, through mazes, through a true palace of mirages, through impasses and his sexuality is shattered, problematic, contradictory and in the end, we can say, painful. There is no instinct, there are most complicated functions – there is desire, jouissance, love. And on top of that all these do not agree, do not harmonise, do not converge on the partner who would be the good of which one would have the certainty that it is the good. That good one with whom no need of couples therapy would have to de taken into account at all.
First desire. Desire is not an instinct because the instinct knows, even if this knowledge remains opaque. The instinct says silently always the same thing, it is constant. Desire, on the contrary, does not know, is always linked to another question, is itself a question: what do I truly desire? Is it my true desire? Is my desire a good or a bad one, is it harmful, is it forbidden? Is what I believe to be my desire not an illusion? And this question about desire can lead to perplexity, to immobilisation. Therefore, desire does not know. Of course, there is what I demand. What I demand I believe to desire but is it what I truly desire? Then, in distinction to the instinct, desire is not constant, it is not invariable, but, if one can say so, intermittent, it goes and comes. It circulates, sometimes it is dispersed, sometimes it is focused, sometimes it is even annulled, vanished. I say then that I am bored or depressed. Here is something, someone I really desire. Here I get it. And suddenly, at the moment when it is offered to my jouissance, when I would only have to enjoy (jouir) it, here the desire is eclipsed. But if I enjoy (jouis) it, is it getting better? It can turn out that every time I enjoy something or someone. I enjoy them less. What I have enjoyed is less valuable. And my desire is more diminished.