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McDougall, J. (1986). Identifications, Neoneeds and Neosexualities. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:19-30.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:19-30

Identifications, Neoneeds and Neosexualities

Joyce McDougall


With regard to perversions, the pertinent question is not which acts and which object-preferences are to be deemed deviant, but when is deviance to be regarded as a simple variation or version of adult sexuality and when is it to be judged symptomatic. This paper proposes that only relationships may aptly be termed perverse.

The term neosexualities is chosen to emphasize the innovative and somewhat unreal character of deviant sexual acts and relationships. These are

a response to incoherent communications and unconscious problems on the part of parents. The concept of addictive sexuality or neoneeds is also introduced in reference to the compulsivity that invariably accompanies perverse sexuality.

Its dynamic and economic aspects are summarized as follows: those who have created a neoreality in terms of sexual acts and objects in the service of libidinal homeostasis, and neoneeds in the service of narcissistic homeostasis, have short-circuited the elaboration of phallic-oedipal castration anxiety and at the same time through disavowing the problems of separateness and of infantile sadism have also circumvented what Klein termed the elaboration of the depressive position.

A clinical vignette is given to illustrate the above theoretical propositions.

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