Other contemporary discussions of melancholia and sex occur around the widespread use of antidepressants, along with the equally widespread side effects of sexual dysfunction and depressed libido that seem to accompany the use of many of these drugs. Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics.
Rather than enabling sexual identification, in this context melancholia is seen as something that neutralizes sexuality altogether, leading some writers to blame lack of interest in sex not on drugs, or even depression itself, but on a culture where unhappiness is taboo.
Little girls might internalize the mother they are not supposed to desire, and keep that desire alive as a lesbian desire, whereas little boys might identify with the mother and desire their fathers, or incorporate the fathers they are not allowed to desire into themselves as love-objects.
At this point gender and sexual object choice become murkily intertwined in Butler's argument, much as they are in Freud's explanation of castration and the Oedipal resolution; in Butler, homosexuality determines gender somehow, whereas Freud similarly conflates heterosexual object choice and having a "normal" femininity or masculinity.
Freud later argues in The Ego and the Id (1923) that the internalizing and sustaining of lost loves that happens in both mourning and melancholia is important for ego formation, and that identification with lost loves may be the only way one can eventually give them up.
For Freud, melancholia is not necessarily a part of gender formation, though gender and sexuality do develop around loss, specifically around the child's response to the traumatic realization that the mother lacks a penis.Contributors: Carlos Mario Aslan, Martin Bergmann, Roosevelt M. Cassorla, Florence Guignard, Mar¡a Cristina Melgar, Thomas H.Ogden, Mar¡a Lucila Pelento, Jean-Michel Quinodoz, Priscilla Roth, Vamik D.In this culture, they argue, the dark yearning for connection that causes us to seek intimacy with each other has been replaced with the sunny artificiality of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, such as Prozac and Lexapro; these drugs take us out of ourselves just enough to work, but not enough to desire each other. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. In an argument that brings us back to Freud, they assert that restoring a healthy and productive notion of sadness to our happiness-obsessed culture will lead to a better balance that will allow us to escape melancholia, in large part, because we have stopped trying so hard to repress any sign of sadness in our lives. Melancholia was understood to be more than passing sadness, and was understood, like the more contemporary clinical depression, to be a chronic condition that could completely define a person's character, personality, physical constitution, and larger outlook on the world.In 1917, Sigmund Freud published "Mourning and Melancholia," an essay that distinguished a difference between mourning, where a lost object is the source of conscious grief, and melancholia, where the loss is unconscious or unknown.Suicide, Freud argued, is the splitting off of the hateful and sadistic impulses directed at the lost love-object and the turning of that hate against the self.This process is aided by identification with the lost object, wherein the jilted lover becomes as much as possible like the person who has left her.HIV/AIDS activist Douglas Crimp uses melancholia to think about responses to AIDS in the gay community, arguing that a deep sense of loss and mourning has led to melancholia in most gay men, which in turn has caused a malaise surrounding AIDS activism. He sees this melancholia as the reason gays have rejected their sex-positive culture in favor of mainstream monogamy and political conservatism, and argues that moving beyond the stasis of melancholia will facilitate a return to activism, a return to self-affirming safe sexual practices of all varieties, and a rejection of self-hating conservative gay pundits like Andrew Sullivan.