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Lemma, A. (2013). Whose Skin is it Anyway? Some Reflections on the Psychic Function of Necrophilic Fantasies. Rivista Psicoanal., 59(2):283-304.

(2013). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 59(2):283-304

Whose Skin is it Anyway? Some Reflections on the Psychic Function of Necrophilic Fantasies

Alessandra Lemma

In this paper the author explores the relationship between the hypercathexis of the body self by the mother and a dread of the female body manifesting in sexual arousal associated with necrophilic fantasies. This dynamic constellation is examined in individuals whose psychic pain and conflict are expressed through the body.

The necrophilic fantasy appears to function to reverse a narcissistic injury that involved feeling required to satisfy the mother's excess of desire only to then feel humiliated by her at the level of the body. In this fantasy, as several authors have noted, the object, by virtue of being like a corpse, is captive and unable to reject the self. Here, however, the author draws attention to another important feature, namely that the object by virtue of being dead or asleep cannot look at the self - it is a non-seeing object.

This visual dimension is especially pertinent to understanding the plight of those individuals whose experience of humiliation is located in the body. To illustrate these dynamics the author draws on a five times weekly analysis with a man with eczema who disclosed necrophilic fantasies over the course of the analysis.

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