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In Lacanian psychoanalysis, a demand results when a lack in the Real is phrased into the Symbolic medium of language. Whether or not demands achieve their apparent aims, they are always successful in the sense that all parapraxes or slips of the tongue are successful - they faithfully express unconscious signifying formations.

But because the Real is never totally symbolizable, a residue or kernel of desire is left behind by every demand, representing a lost surplus of jouissance for the subject. "Don't give me what I ask for, that's not it."