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Emerson, L.E. (1915). Internationale Zeitschrift für Arztliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(4):458-463.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Internationale Zeitschrift für Arztliche Psychoanalyse

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(4):458-463


Internationale Zeitschrift für Arztliche Psychoanalyse

L. E. Emerson, Ph.D.Author Information

(Vol. II, No. 2)

1.   Contributions to the Analysis of Sadism and Masochism. Dr. Paul Federn. II. The Libidinous Sources of Masochism.

2.   On the Nosology of Male Homosexuality (Homoerotocism). Dr. S. Ferenczi.

3.   On the Constitutional Basis of Locomotor Anxiety. Dr. Karl Abraham.

1.   Analysis of Sadism and Masochism: II. The Libidinous Sources of Masochism.—The author does not claim to lay bare any new etiology of masochism, rather to show its structure and mechanism. In the first place it is necessary to discriminate between “feminine” and “masochistic.” There are normal women who are not masochistic. While from the point of view of masculine sexuality, feminine sexuality has a strong passive component, “passive” and “masochistic” must be discriminated. As long as one speaks of the pleasant sensations which belong to the passive rǒle of the sexual act one speaks rightly of the passive component of sexuality, but as soon as one speaks of the sexual pleasure gotten from non-sexual suffering or endurance one speaks rightly of masochism. Similarly sadism must be distinguished from the active component of sexuality. “I distinguish sharply between masochism, the passive sexual component, and feminine sexuality.”1

In agreement with Krafft-Ebing, the author finds that masochism mostly manifests itself before puberty. In exceptional cases its advent is later, and sometimes it shows itself in old age. But in these cases also many experiential elements go back to childhood.

The next and most important question is, what part of the normal, infantile, “polymorphous perverse,” sexuality of the child contains the germ of masochism, and under what conditions will it develop?1 P. 109.


1 p. 109

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Krafft-Ebing, without realizing the importance of infantile sexuality, found the root of masochism in the feminine component of sexuality. According to the author it is in the infantile passive component of sexuality that becoming fixed accounts for masochism. This single mechanism is, however, not the only explanation of masochism. There must be many active partial tendencies which become reversed and converted into passive ones. Masochism changes places with sadism. It appears in the place of sadism. Intensive masochists arise from sadistic families. “I know cases which in the course of treatment became almost exclusively sadists, so that I could observe the sudden change from masochism to sadism.”

As the result of analytic experience we can declare that masochism develops from sadism. There are many cases, however, in which masochism and sadism are not absolutely separated; towards some persons these cases are sadistic, while towards others they are masochistic.

From the answers of his patients the author concludes: Sadism and masochism are distinguished not by the conditions of its appearance, not only through the kind of ideas of the individual, but also through a different quality of sexual sensation. In a great number of cases, not only is the sensational quality different, but the somatic localization in the male genitals different for the different ideas.

The author gives an account of a young man, a masochist, who practiced mental masturbation by picturing to himself typical masochistic scenes. Since puberty this had led to ejaculation and intense end-pleasure. The patient could have coitus only with a sadistic type of woman, during which he remained motionless until ejaculation. The surface of the penis was completely sexually anesthetic. During the years when he had practiced onanie he had found that if he touched his penis it interrupted the masochistic scenes and brought sadistic scenes—so he never touched it. During the treatment he came to normal coitus and with the corresponding activity, the surface of his penis became sexually sensitive. The masochistic stimulation was localized in the perineum and continued from the penis root on one side to the posterior on the other. In four individuals who could have masochistic or sadistic ideas, the author found that in the first case the sexual sensation was towards the penis end and in the second case towards the perineum [should this not be reversed?].

The author has had little experience with sadomasochistic women, but in two cases, with sadistic ideas sensations were localized in the clitoris, while with masochistic ideas they were localized in the vulva and vagina.

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Masochism, therefore, appears when the passive sexual sensation communicates its peculiar character of passive pleasure to the whole ego (ganzen Ich). The criterium of masochism is hence the passive pleasurable ideas of the total “I.” Sadism and masochism do not belong in the same category with partial inclinations or sexual components, to which they are usually assigned, but they correspond rather to the perverse side of what is usually called “love.”

“Passive” libido is a contradiction in terms, if libido means an energy or craving. But the distinction is made on the score of the object of the libido, i. e., whether it is for an active or passive experience.

In opposition to Freud's contention that the libido must always be of a masculine nature, the author maintains that it may be feminine, if the object is sensational pleasure in the female organ. “Passive libido is the craving for passive pleasure from all those organs whose sexual satisfaction is associated with a passive end.”

Since the male member is normally an active agent, active libido ordinarily is associated with its functioning, but in the case of masturbation, where the organ is the passive recipient of sensations, masochistic ideas will become associated with what was a source of sadistic thoughts. In general where a sexual craving is satisfied by a tactile stimulation of a sensitive place one speaks of the passive component of sexuality; where this craving is satisfied by muscle activity or movement one speaks of an active sexual component.

There is another sensation characteristic of the genitals: a pleasurable tension. In high-grade masochists this tension plays a large part. Tension libido has a passive character and is satisfied by activity. This tension occupies a middle place between active and passive. Since the sexual sensation is subjectively a unity it takes in sadists an active character and in masochists a passive.

One of the non-genital sources of masochistic pleasure is the bladder. The author says that pleasurable sensations, of a sexual nature (in Freud's sense) originate in the bladder leading to the so-called uretheral eroticism. Also the posteriors, and anal mucous membranes, are sources of passive sexual pleasure. In some individuals the sphincters give a pleasurable sensation in action, so that one can speak of a muscle eroticism. According to Jekels, homosexuality in men finds its primary root in anal eroticism.

The mouth is primarily active, leading to kissing, sucking, biting, etc. The skin as an erogenous zone predisposes to a certain, if not extreme, masochism. To caresses belong a certain pleasurable sensation which comes from the skin.

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That anxiety and shame result in a tension-libido is associated probably with the fact that in the whole animal kingdom anxiety expresses itself in the secreting and loss of almost all excretions and secretions. In human beings this expression of anxiety is associated with an immature sexual organ as well as with other organs, which gives an important contribution to masochism. This infantile anxiety may be a cause of masochism.

If the totality of passion and tension libido is too strong for the individual to overcome, he takes a passive attitude towards it, as a whole, and in this consists masochism.

2.   The Nosology of Male Homosexuality.—The author thinks the first real step forward in the study of homosexuality was taken by Freud in his “Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory.” But he thinks he does not completely explain the peculiarity of sexual constitution and peculiar experiences of manifest homosexuality. The author acknowledges that he himself, in spite of such Kopfzerbrechens (!), is unable to solve the problem, but proposes only the right nosological classification for homosexual phenomena.

The term “homosexual” itself he considers collects different things unwarrantably. Sexual relations with the same sex is only a symptom. It is probable that all which is included in the term “homosexuality” presents a clinical unity. For instance, there are the two types of homosexuality, active and passive. Of both one speaks of the “inversion” of the sexual impulse; of “contrary” sexual sensations; of “perversions.” Of the active and passive types, only the passive deserves to be called “inverted.” He feels himself inverted, not only as to genitals, but in all relations to life. While as to the active homosexual, he feels himself a man, is energetic, only his “object” is changed. The first might be called “subject-homoerotic” and the second “object-homoerotic.”

The author has psychoanalyzed a number of male homoerotics. Instead of giving any histories he gives a sort of Galton-photograph of his impressions.

He feels first that “subject” and “object” homoeroticism are essentially different conditions. The first is a true middle stage in sexual development (in the sense of Magnus-Hirschfeld and his school), hence an anomaly of development; “object-homoeroticism,” on the other hand, is a neurosis, and indeed, a compulsion neurosis.

The “subject-homoerotic” as a child figures himself as a woman. He thus has an inverted œdipus complex. He wishes his mother to die so that he can take her place with his father. Phantasies and play are expressions of this.

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The “object-homoerotic,” however, is sexually aggressive very early, indeed, hetero-sexually aggressive. He matures intellectually young, and in his scientific impulse fashions a number of infantile sexual theories. These form the foundation for his later compulsive thinking. Besides these characteristics of aggressiveness and intellectuality he has a strong anal eroticism and koprophilism. From earliest childhood, because of lewd relations with girls and attempts at coitus, they are severely punished by their parents, repeatedly, and thus get to repress violent passion and rage. Thus the mechanism of transfer of libido to persons of the same sex is set in motion. During the latency period the fondness for the female shows but with the increased passions of puberty, it requires only the slightest reproof to turn the inclination to the other sex, i. e., male. This is due to the awakened anxiety aroused by the female.

The “object-homoerotic” repeats the origin of his suffering in his relations to the physician. If the transference is positive there is an unexpected improvement after a very short treatment. But the patient relapses into homoeroticism at the slightest conflict, and only with the beginning of this resistance does the real analysis begin. If the transference is negative from the first, as is especially the case if the patient comes, not of his own accord, but at the advice of relations, then there elapses a long time before any real analysis can begin, and he wastes the hour with boastful and scornful accounts of his homosexual adventures. In the unconscious phantasies of the “object-homoerotic” the physician can take the place of man and woman, father and mother.

The author says that in his experience no severe case of compulsive-homeoroticism has been completely cured. Important improvement, however, he has seen in many cases. He does think that compulsive-homoeroticism is curable, by psychoanalysis, but that it will take at least a year.

The author does not feel that he has exhausted the symptom-complexes by isolating these two types of homosexuality—subject and object, homoeroticism. His object is achieved in removing a certain conceptual confusion.

3.   Constitutional Basis of Locomotor Anxiety.—Whoever has attempted to investigate “locomotor anxiety” by psychoanalysis finds typical factors. For one thing, while the patient suffers from his anxiety, he also rules his environment by it. One important factor is the incestuous fixation of the libido. The patient does not wish to separate himself from his love-object. But the fixation of the

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libido on one person does not explain all. Otherwise many more neurotics would suffer from this form of neurosis than do.

We are forced to the conclusion that in the case of neurotics who suffer from locomotor anxiety there is a special sexual constitution.

A patient who had suffered from a feeling he could not go on the street unless accompanied by his mother, or other intimates, said he enjoyed the going, the walking, if it were not interfered with by the anxiety. To go on the street felt like dancing. He had the greatest pleasure in dancing, and his pollution dreams were often about dancing.

The activity of walking is often accompanied, in neurotics, by a sexual excitement, in particular by a stimulation of the genitals. The author quotes the case of Dr. Eitingon who suffered from what he called “compulsive walking.” The “negative” to this peculiar perversion, appears to the author to be a neurosis which may be called “street-anxiety.”

The author conies to the conclusion that the neurotic who suffers from locomotor-anxiety does so because of an originally over-strong pleasure in walking. These patients have an especially strong pleasure in rhythm. The sexual connection is suggested by the declaration of one patient that a certain rhythm reminded him of the sexual rhythm. In part this was of masturbatory action and in part of the rhythm of ejaculation.

One of the essential characteristics of these patients is a strong inclination to protect the “fore-pleasure.” They are patently autoerotic.

Besides the anxiety due to the repression of active movement-pleasure there is also the suffering due to the passive movement repression. Such patients have had great pleasure in traveling.

The author speaks of having cured a severe case of “street and place” anxiety by psychoanalysis. With the cure the patient gained great pleasure in traveling by land and sea. The author claims here to make one little step in the direction of answering the question of why the patient, so to speak, chooses one, rather than another form of neurosis. It is because, in the case above considered, the patients get an unusual “fore-pleasure” in motion itself.

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Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Emerson, L.E. (1915). Internationale Zeitschrift für Arztliche Psychoanalyse. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(4):458-463

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