Sexuality is one of the basic requirements of a person. Besides its pleasure it gives, it is of vital importance for reproduction. It is too difficult to define normal sexuality. Because, sexuality is affected by a number of factors. This study includes Freud‟s opinions regarding sexuality. Moreover, it will help us in understanding why Freud takes perverse sexuality as a basis.
In his topographic theory, Freud categorizes human memory by conscious, preconscious and unconscious concepts. In all studies of Freud, the unconscious takes an important place. When unconscious desires try to reach the conscious, they are censored by ego. Freud approached sexuality and aggression as a dynamic process trying to coming out together with its impact on human behavior. In this case, Freud expresses that nature of sexuality is solecistic. Considering id a basic system, Freud handles childhood as a period in which solecistic sexuality is experienced as in that period individual can not control impulses coming from id. In this case the solecistic sexuality has an important place in moulding sexuality. Then ego functions in accordance with reality principle, tries to control the pleasure coming out and tries to socialize together with defense mechanisms. Thus, sexuality has a great impact on human behavior and sexuality undergoes abnormal processes as of birth. Sexuality, by its nature, is too complicated to be defined by normal concepts.
Freud attaches great importance to instinct. İnstinct includes biological and psychological factors. Freud makes reference to two instinct: death instinct (thanatos) and life instinct (eros).Libido underlies life instinct and libido has a great importance for reproduction. Libido means that child faces itself in childhood. Freud considers this period autoerotism and narcissism. Then, the first images (effects on the ego in childhood) of libido are pathological. Thus, perverse sexuality is starting point of sexuality.
Moreover, Freud indicates that the fact that libido comes off external world and comes back to its own body causes some mental problems. By the effect of traumas experienced, libido coming off the external world comes back to the individual and regresses to childhood. It means, it has a great importance on individual‟s mental health. Moreover, libido is an instinct society. Explaining libido concept that undergoes a change constantly and means restricting this concept.
Freud explains the sexuality over “perverse sexality” because he believes infantile sexuality is a polymorhously perversion. Freud used “perverse sexuality” term while paraphrasing the human sexuality because infantile sexuality constitutes a very important place on Freud‟s theory and it shapes the adult sexuality. Freud‟s books and the examples below supports this idea.
Freud‟s opinion on infantile sexuality attracts great attention. Freud calls infantile sexuality “polymorphously perverse”. In 1909 Freud introduced sexual perversions and in explaining sexuality based on perverse sexuality. At the first time , it provoked great reactions. Later on, sexual behavior in animals was examined in animal experiments by the time and when the similarity to human sexuality was considered, this opposition decreased. Freud defined sexual pleasure briefly as libido and he said that in sexual development of children, in each period some organs are in charge.
The explanations of this subject in Freud‟s books are these:
“Nor do I complain if you find the kinship between infantile sexsual perversions something very striking.But it is in fact self-evident:if a child has a sexual life at all it is bound to be of a perverse kind; for except for e few obscure hints, children are without what makes sexuality into the reproductive function is the common featue of perversions.We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it.So, as you will see,the breach and turning-point in the development of sexal life lies in its becoming subordinate to the puposes of reprodution.Everything that happens before this turn of events and equally everything that disregards it and that aims solely at obtaining pleasure is given the uncomplimentary name of “perverse” and as such is proscribed.” 2
Adnan ZİYALAR, Cinsel Davranış Bozuklukları ,Yüce Yayım Evi 2000 pp.20,21
General Theory of The Neuroses, in S, Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 1982, pp 358
The first impressive observation of Freud is innate „‟suckling‟‟. The child sucks not only for need but also for pleasure. In this sucking period, the child tries other objects and organs. As a result of the sense of satisfaction the child relaxes and falls asleep.
Freud explains these different opinions regarding sexuality and the relationship between sexuality and infantile sexuality through „erotic suction‟ According to some opinions, among the organs there is also fingers and ear as well which the child gravitates during suction. It is indicated that onward, this behavior turns to masturbation and nutritional and sexual behaviors are nested.
Freud explains this complex in infantile sexuality and the fact that many impulses come out unrestrictedly; through a multiple sexual perverse. Libido and other impulses are not suppressed. However, in the event that the child does not experience a traumatic situation in “Polymorphously perverse‟‟ period, although the child has left this period behind; sexuality accords with social conditions day by day. In this period, the child do not have such sensations as shame, guilt and (avoidence of punihment) mastigophobia; therefore perversions (deviations) in this period are not considered a traumatic event for the child.
Also Freud declares in “the development of the libido” article that perverse sexulaity and normal sexuality are interpenetrated and easily converted to one another.
“There is something else that I must add in order to complete our view of sexual perversions.However infamous may be, however sharply they may be contrasted with normal sexual activity,quiet consideration will show that some perverse trait or other is seldom absent from the sexual life of normal people.Even a kiss can claim to be described as a perverse act, since it consist in the bringing together of two oral erotogenic zones istead of the two genitals.Yet no one rejects it as perverse;on the contrary it is permitted in theatrical performances as a softened hint at the sexual act.But precisely kissing can easily turn into a complete perversion-if, that is to say ,it becomes so intence that a genital discharge and orgasm follow upon it directly, an event that is far from rare.We can learn, too,that for one person feeling and looking at the object are indispensable preconditions of sexual enjoyment, that another person will pinch or bite at the climax of sexual excitation, taht the
highest pitch of excitemend in lovers is not always proveked by the genitals but by some other region of the object‟s body,and any number of similar things besides.There is no sense in excluding people with individual traits of this kind from the class of the normal and putting them among the perverts….”
Freud cares that neurosis is a common occasion and it is related with sexuality. Thus, he believes that there are unsolved sexual problems in the source of the many illnesses. Its impacts on oeüdipus complex and individualty are crucial. Besides, Freud introduces the persons who have perversions as exclusive characters. Relations between Sexuality, its impacts on psychopathologies, normal and pervert sexuality are narrated like that on Colin Leslie Dean‟s “Sexuality its role in Psychopathology” article:
Freud argued that psychoneurotic symptoms are in fact manifestations of perverse sexuality In perverse sexual activity the patient is fixated on exclusive erogenous zones at the expense of normal sexual activity. Here sexuality means in fact organ pleasure. Freud argued that all psychoneurotics have strong perverse tendencies and which manifest also in their phantasies. As Freud states:
“All psychoneurotics are persons with strongly marked perverse tendencies, which have been repressed in the course of their development, and to have become unconscious. Consequently their unconscious phantasies show precisely the same content as the documentarily recorded actions of perverts,” 6
The Development of the Libido and the Sexual Organizations’, in S, Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 1982 pp.,364
Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 1982. p. 364.
For Freud these perversion existed in latent form in the psychoneurotic and manifested themselves as symptoms.
Prof. Dr. Güngün YANBASTI narrates the relation between neurosis and perversions
on her “individuality hypothesises” book.
According to Freud, when people try to get away from perversion, they are catched by a neurosis. Therefore, neurosis is a negative form of perversion. There are three ways of solution in infantile sexuality.
In conclusion, infantile sexuality turn into a normal sexual life generally, but sometimes perversion or neurosis can occur. A pervert looks for passions which are almost impossible. Therefore this passion gets replaced with normal sexual object. Freud defined polymorhously pervesion by above situation.
Freud expresse that libido is important in the constitution of neurosis.He declares the relation between neurosis and perversions and the reasons of neurosis like that;
Gülgün YANBASTI ,Kişilik Kuramları ,Ege Üniversitesi Basım Evi 1990 pp.,28,29
“Freud further discovered that in the pychoneuroses only a limited number of sexual impulses that had been repressed and were responsible for neurotic symptoms were of noal kind”.Usually, the repressed and pathogenic impulses were the same impulses that were given overt expression in the perversions.He thus regarded the neurosis as the negative of perverssions.It seems, however, that the relationship between the psychoneuroses and perversions is not nearly so simple as that.The situation is considerably more complex.For example , even at the current point of its development,Freud‟s theory cannot account for the fact that in one case a part instinct might be repressed and provide the stumulus for neurotic symptom formation,whereas in another case the part instinct may remain overt and dominate the individual‟s sexual activity in the form od perversion.In other words.altough the theory of sexality included the concept of libidinal fixation ,to the extend that it was limited to the description of various potential zones of libidinal stimulation and excitement,it was unable to explain the outcame of fixation in a particular case.The resolu of this resolution of this problem had to await the development of later parts of the theory,particularly those concerning defense mechanisms, the functions of ego and superego, as well as the nature role of anxiety in mental functioning.”
The fact that in explaining sexuality, Freud based it on perverse sexuality; has been criticized by many theoreticians. First of all these criticisms result from the importance given to infantile sexuality. In that period, behaviorists suggested that the childhood was an innocent phase and concept of sexuality had not been emerged yet. As the sexual formation was not completed, they did not accept the perversions (deviations) in that period.
The second criticism is that sexual theory of Freud did not based on his theory with animal research. However, later on the animal experiments supported Freud‟s theory. It is observed that, a similar sexual process is available for monkeys.
W.W. Meıssner,S.J.,M.D . Freud & Psychonanlysis pp. 83,84
Colin Leslie Dean critizes Freud and says that his opinions are ideological and he cares the infantile sexuality too much.
“…..we have seen that Freud offers two definitions of perverse and normal which confuse the relationship between normal and perverse sexual activity. We have seen that Freud‟s characterization of children‟s as being polymorphously perverse confuses the distinction between just what is normal. Freud in extending the sexual to mean organ pleasure thus makes all sexual activity which is driven by organ pleasure thus normal. We have see that according to Freud there is great diversity both culturally and historically in the choice of sexual object and sexual aim. We saw that there is no fixed object and no fixed aim when it comes to sexual activity. With all this diversity in mind we saw how in fact Freud‟s characterization of the relationship between normal and perverse sexuality was ideologically driven by the adult world of his times. Freud‟s characterizations of perverse and normal are ideologically based. It could be argued that Freud in facts tailors his ideas on sexuality to meet the norms of his period. With such terms as horrible and forbidden we see an ideology at work in the relationship between normal and perverse sexuality. The relationship between normal and perverse sexuality is ideological because the terms perverse and normal are themselves ideological.”
Other criticism neurosis against infantile sexuality theory of Freud is related to the fact that revelation struggles of libido remains inconclusive. Especiallt in conservative societies, this opinion is severely criticized. Theoreticians arguing against this opinion; defend the opinion, that a people are a social beings, they have some other life purpose rather than sexuality, furthermore in examining a disorder, social conditions should be evaluated throughly. Indeed, Molinowski argues that in matriachal socities, father assigns uncle all responsibility and an oedipus complex is not available as supposed. Moreover he adds that this complex is different in all societies and social conditions are important.
Colın Leslıe Dean, Sexuality Its Role In Psychopathology According To Freud And Lacan,Australıa,2005,pp 23
Furthermore, he accuses Freud‟s theory of not being anthropological.
Another criticism against Freud is that he draws a parallel between suction pleasure and sexual pleasure. According to other approaches, suction pleasure is pleasure and heppiness for finding energy required for the child to continue its life. This can not be explained with erotic or sexual perversion. People do not live just to have a sexual intercourse. Sexuality is a purpose for reproduction. Living creatures that have not had sexual intercourse, sucks.
As in today‟ s world no wider and theoritical study have been carried out regarding infantile sexuality and sexual perversions (According to Freud‟s theory), the fact that some opinions of Freud regarding infantile sexuality and development period are observable, is the best reason why the theory did not loose validity.
Moreover, although the Freud tries to explain the importance of unconscious on conscious, his opinions he put forth are parallel to biological research. In other words, the findings of animal experiments carried out later are parallel to psychosexual stages of development of Freud.
According to Freud, perversions in childhood are becoming socialized day by day. In Totem and Taboo by Freud, the thought that totem prevents people from incest and murder, shows the course of sexual perversions since primitive society. According to Freud, libido is liable to come out. In the event that ego refuses libido or does not soften, ego decreases to the level of childhood where it was easer and it is engraved in subconscious. Libido is pushed into subconscious. The pressure of libido constitutes neurosis. According to Freud, modern society pays the price of pressuring libido with neurosis. When neurosis and perversions are examined, it is seen that libido can not referred to an external object and it constitutes psychopathology by returning to its own body.
Adnan ZİYALAR, Cinsel Davranış Bozuklukları ,Yüce Yayım Evi 2000 pp., 27
Adnan ZİYALAR, Cinsel Davranış Bozuklukları ,Yüce Yayım Evi 2000 pp.1-42
Colın Leslıe Dean, Sexuality Its Role In Psychopathology According To Freud And Lacan,Australıa,2005,pp 1-23
Gülgün YANBASTI ,Kişilik Kuramları ,Ege Üniversitesi Basım Evi 1990 pp.15-40
Freud, S, „Anxiety and Instinctual Life‟, in S. Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 199, pp. 113-145
Freud, S., The Sexual Life of Human Beings‟, , Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis,
Penguin, 1982, pp.344-362.
Freud, S.,The Development of the Libido and the Sexual Organizations’, Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Penguin, 1982, pp. 362-383
Freud, S. Origins of psychoanalysis.Letters,drafts and notes.1887-1902.New York,Basic Books,1954. Rapaport D.(Ed) Orgonazitaion and Pathology of tought.New York:Columbia University Press,1951
W.W. Meıssner,S.J.,M.D . Freud &Psychonanlysis pp. 73-84