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Lewinsky, H. (1944). On Some Aspects of Masochism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:150-155.

(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:150-155

On Some Aspects of Masochism

Hilde Lewinsky

Masochism is a subject which is considered problematical by even the most experienced analysis. Though Freud fixed its position in a twofold way, we are still, as he himself emphasized repeatedly, far from understanding its complicated structure, its relations and influences. The fixed position may be summarized briefly as follows. In the first place, masochism is coupled with sadism as its counterpart—its turning upon the self in combination with the residue of primary erotogenic masochism. The other landmark given to us is the division into feminine and moral masochism. As additional factors, anal fixation and skin-erotism play important parts. For our practical work the neurotic gains achieved by the masochistic attitude are of special importance: firstly, in common with other perversions, the avoidance or binding of castration-anxiety, and secondly, partly inter-woven with the first, the satisfaction of super-ego-prohibitions with regard to genitality and sadism—the masochist does not need to take any responsibility for his sexual satisfaction.

In my own experience very little headway has resulted from direct interpretations of the turning of sadism upon the self, although castration-anxiety and need for punishment as well as avoidance of responsibility were dealt with extensively; and the literature shows that other analysts have also had great difficulties in getting definite results with masochistic patients. During my work I have found that there are certain important neurotic advantages gained by the masochist, the demonstration of which paved the way for treatment considerably.

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