The term prohibition has been borrowed by psychoanalysis from everyday language, where it is used either as an adjective to describe something we are not allowed to do, say, see, think, or be; or substantively to refer to the law, social constraint, moral education, and so on, on which this prohibition is based.
The concept appears early in Freud's work and can be found in the Studies on Hysteria (1895d), where the subject, driven by desires prohibited by morality, consciously forms "representations that are irreconcilable" with that morality, and then refuses them satisfaction, doing away with them by making them unconcious through repression.
"The etiology of hysteria almost inevitably can be traced to a psychic conflict, an irreconcilable representation, which prompts into action the defense of the ego and provokes repression" (Freud, 1896b).
Initially, that is to say, within the framework of the first topography and the first theory of drives, Freud studied the libidinal origins of the conflict and its treatment through repression (these are the texts on metapsychology from 1915) as well as its educational ("Little Hans," 1915), sociological and ethnological (Totem and Taboo, 1912-1913a) origins.
Here, the ego appears as prey to conflicts where it is torn between "three masters": the id and its libidinal demands, reality and adaptive requirements, and a superego that is essentially defined as an agent of prohibition.
Although throughout his work Freud presents the incest prohibition as the heart of the conflictual dynamic, he also discusses prohibitions that affect other manifestations of sexuality, primarily masturbation and the satisfaction of the partial drive]]s or compound instincts (voyeurism, exhibitionism, anal pleasure).
* Freud, Sigmund.
Further remarks on the neuro-psychoses of defence. SE, 3: 157-185.
* Freud Sigmund, and Breuer, Josef. (1895d). Studies on hysteria. SE, 2: 48-106. * Mijolla-Mellor, Sophie de. (1993). Le "bon droit" du criminel. Topique, 52, 141-161. * Milner, Marion. (1991). On est prié de fermer les yeux. Le regard interdit. Paris: Gallimard.