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Bonaparte, M. (1935). Passivity, Masochism and Femininity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:325-333.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:325-333

Passivity, Masochism and Femininity

Marie Bonaparte

I. The pain inherent in the female reproductive functions.

II. Erotic pleasure in women.

III. The infantile sadistic conception of coitus.

IV. The necessary fundamental distinction between masochism and passivity.

V. The female cloaca and the male phallus in women.

I. The pain inherent in the female reproductive functions. The most superficial observer cannot help noting that in the sphere of reproduction the lot of men and of women, in respect of pain suffered, is an unequal one. The man's share in the reproductive functions is confined to a single act—that of coitus—which he necessarily experiences as pleasurable, since, for him, the function of reproduction coincides with the erotic function. The woman, on the other hand, periodically undergoes the suffering of menstruation, the severity of which varies with the individual; for her, sexual intercourse itself is initiated by a process which involves in some degree the shedding of her blood, namely, the act of defloration; finally, gestation is accompanied by discomfort and parturition by pain, while even lactation is frequently subject to painful disturbances.

Already in the Bible woman is marked out for the pain of childbearing, the punishment for original sin. Michelet describes her as 'l'éternelle blessée' ('the everlastingly wounded one').

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