Psychoanalysis and Sexuality
We all grow up chronologically, and then we have spiritual growth too, but here I wish to talk about Sexual growth.
It’s been a while since I began my affair with Psychoanalysis. And hell, it’s been a tumultuous ride; one with its own highs and with its troubling and anxious lows.
Lay people often understand Freud’s theory as pervert or psychoanalytical therapy as being all that about the couch, and the therapist merrily sleeping at the back of the therapist. Yeah. There are plenty of jokes everywhere.
I’m not too far in my psychic sexual growth. But yes, I’ve reached a step ahead where I can say that Freud, being a genius he was, had his strong reasons to investigate, ponder, investigate again and then write his findings which formulated into a number of his theories.
I mock at people in my heart when I see them making jokes on Freud by calling him a ‘Fraud’. Oh! No I’m not defending him, for I need to know him well to do that, and not that he is a personal favourite. But one thing I cannot negate is his courage and confidence in putting forth his views. Freud’s theories have been boldly been critiqued by many feminists writers as they found him to be too sexist in his approach.
One of the instances I would like to share is Freud giving the concept of women undergoing ‘Penis Envy’ in their early stages of childhood, especially in the Phallic Stage of Development. So while he gave Oedipus Complex for boys, he termed it as Electra complex for girls. So for girls he said, that they get attracted to their fathers ( between the age of 3- 6 years) because they hate their mothers for having taken an ‘imaginary’ sexual organ ( that which is males’) from them. According to Freud, little girls would hold their mother responsible for castrating their sexual organ as she herself didn’t possess it. This would make the girl child get attracted to her father as he possessed the sexual organ, hence the girl would be said to be undergoing Penis Envy. In this process he said, the girl would begin to emulate her mother so as to get closer to her father.
I can go on and on, but I wish to stop. I wonder how many of you find this all absurd, weird, crap, shitty? I felt something like this too. But over a period of 4 years, I’ve at least grown to understand that it’s a lot more than just this surface understanding. Many have spent years understanding Freud’s theories and have written n number of books. My idea, is to find something for myself, that which I can relate to.
In fact, it’s quite interesting, and even joked around among psychoanalysts and those studying psychoanalysis, that this field offers open intellectual conversations from everything you have on earth about sexuality; from clitoris, to vagina to semen to the fusion of two individuals. And the beauty of psychoanalysis is that it comes very close to literature.
As much as Freud was known for his psychoanalytic therapy he was and is still appreciated for his work having a literary excellence. Literature students do read at least some work of his in their courses.
My personal favourite is Adam Philips, who combines poetry beautifully with psychoanalysis.
It’s not that we are perverts; we all have that innate curiosity to know about human sexuality. Don’t we very nicely say “explore yourself”? Then how can one possibly forget that one’s body too is one’s own to explore?
We who study psychoanalysis have a knack to beautify sexuality: something I have to come to grasp and internalize. Call it Freud’s projection that he ended up putting his own wishes/ fantasies and desires into his theory or what, but this is one field where we do not laugh, giggle, chuckle or make embarrassing faces like teens do. We understand sexuality coz it needs to be understood. Yes, at times it gets pretty much annoying, but never too vulgar not to talk about!
At the same time, my tryst with this discipline perhaps goes a long way, for I intend to understand if at all sexuality is the crux of many matters?
My teacher recently told me that when Freud wrote Psychoanalysis in German he meant Psychoanalysis to be: study of the soul. But, as meanings often get lost in translation, in American English it became a primary emphasis to nothing but analysing the mind.
It’s a long way to go……..