Are You Attracted To YOURSELF? Autoerotism

Uploaded 9/12/2022, approx. 30 minute read

Can you become sexually attracted to your own body, passionately desired?

Can you become sexually attracted to an introject, a self state, a representation of someone in your mind, an inner voice?

Can you be sexually attracted to a transformation of yourself in our own mind, yourself as a child, yourself as a woman if you are a man, yourself as a man if you are a woman, yourself as an animal?

Can you be sexually attracted to a story, a narrative which involves only you?

Can you be sexually attracted to a future version of yourself, to a past version of yourself?

Can you be sexually attracted to your own absence, to your own death for example?

These are all forms of auto-erotism, phenomena which is one of the cornerstones of pathological narcissism in the topic of today's video.

Today we have a saucy, saucy video. We're going to discuss, what else, sex.

Some people are sexually attracted to their own bodies. They are their own sexual objects.

Even when they have sex with partners, they're actually masturbating with a partner's body.

Some people are sexually attracted to how they imagine themselves to be. They imagine themselves to be, for example, children and then they are attracted to themselves as children.

Some people imagine themselves to be of the opposite sex. Some men imagine themselves to be women and then they are attracted to themselves as women.

And so all these are manifestations of a phenomenon known as auto-erotism.

First described by Sigmund Freud.

Today we are going to survey, we're going to explore the entire range of auto-erotism.

The attraction to one's body, the attraction to one's self as a sexual object, the attraction to oneself as one could have been, role play with oneself, masturbating as a main form of sexual activity.

We're going to discuss phenomena such as homosexuality, transgender states and gender dysphoria and we're going to link them to various mental health theories including Freud's original theory of narcissism, because as Freud said some people are sexually invested and emotionally invested in an internal object which represents themselves. This is called narcissistic libido.

People who are sexually attracted to themselves, people who interact sexually only with themselves, people who are emotionally and sexually invested only in themselves are of course incapable of maintaining any libidinal attraction or relationship with others. In other words, they have an impaired object relations.

Even when they have sex, even when they have a sexual or intimate partner, they're all alone. They're solipsistic. They're isolated in their own minds and their own universe.

And within this universe they undergo fascinating transformations from one gender to another, from one sex to another and for one libidinal object from one sexual object to another.

These transitions, these manifestations of internal turmoil, a kind of identity disturbance, underlie and permeate the narcissistic dynamic.

My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. I'm 100,000 percent heterosexual so don't entertain any unseemly thoughts and I'm a professor of psychology.

I will start by reviewing some recent literature, then I will discuss homosexuality, transgender and gender dysphoria, and then I will give you a review of the original concept of auto-erotism in Freud's work.

These are the three parts of the video and you're completely at liberty to watch only those parts that interest you, as is always the case.

So shortly I will review for you the most recent literature on auto-erotism and similar paraphilias, but before we go there let's start by a general overview of homosexuality, transvestism, transgender, and gender dysphoria, and try to place it in the continuum of narcissism and more specifically auto-erotism.

So this is the first part of the lecture, then I go on to literature review and then at the very end I will describe Freud's concept of auto-erotism.

Let's start with homosexuality.

Research failed to find any substantive difference between the psychological makeup of a narcissist who happens to be heterosexual and a narcissist who happens to have homosexual preferences. There is no typical profile over homosexual narcissists.

The homosexual narcissist is not more predatory than the heterosexual narcissist. The question of whether the homosexual narcissist is lying or telling the truth when he says that he wants to get laid by one and all, the question of whether the homosexual narcissist is suicidal, whether he's not afraid of AIDS, these are all essentially homophobic questions.

Both heterosexual narcissists and homosexual narcissists are predators. Both of them devour narcissistic supply sources as they go along.

Narcissists of all stripes and all sexual orientations look for new victims. The way tigers look for prey. They're hungry. They're hungry for adoration, admiration, acceptance, approval, any kind of attention.

All sources die hard. Once taken for granted, the narcissistic element of conquest simply dies and very often the narcissist is compelled to devalue the source and move on as I've explained in previous videos in my interviews with Richard Grannon.

Conquest is important to all narcissists, whether they're heterosexual or homosexual and somatic. Conquest is important because it proves to the narcissist his own superiority, irresistibility.

The very act of subduing, subjugating or acquiring the power to influence someone provides the narcissist with narcissistic supply, empowers him. The newly conquered, idolized narcissist, they serve as kind of trophies.

The act of conquering, the act of subordinating, they're epitomized by the sexual encounter. It is an objective and atavistic interaction regardless of the sex of the target.

Making love to someone means that the consenting partner finds the narcissist or one or more of the narcissist trades such as his intelligence, his physique or his money finds them or him, the narcissist, irresistible.

The distinction between passive and active sexual partners is mechanical. It's false, it's superfluous and superficial. Penetration does not make one of the parties the stronger one.

To cause someone to have sex with you is a powerful stimulus and always provokes a sensation of omnipotence in the narcissist. Whether one is physically passive or active, one is always psychosexually active.

Anyone who has unsafe sex is gambling with his or her life, though the odds are much smaller than public hysteria would have us believe.

The reality does not matter, though. It is a perception of reality that matters.

Getting this close to perceived danger is the equivalent of engaging in self-destruction. It's a form of suicide.

Narcissists are at times suicidal in this sense, in this way. They are self-destructive by being reckless.

And this is common to all narcissists, heterosexual and homosexual.

But there is one element which might be unique to homosexuals.

The fact that their self-definition, that their core identity hinges on their sexual orientation.

I know of no heterosexual who would use his sexual preference or sexual orientation to define himself almost fully. I know of no heterosexual who would say I'm heterosexual when he seeks to describe himself.

A homosexual gay man would say I'm gay, a lesbian would say I'm lesbian. This is their core identity. Homosexuality has been inflated to the level of a subculture, a separate psychology, identity politics, a myth.

This is typical of persecuted minorities. However, it does have an influence on the individual, of course.

Preoccupation with body and sex makes most homosexual narcissists somatic narcissists. What I'm trying to say is that prevalence and incidence of somatic narcissism among homosexuals is bound to be a lot more common than among heterosexual narcissists.

In other words, many more homosexual narcissists are somatic than heterosexual narcissists.

Moreover, the homosexual, as Freud had observed, makes love to a person of the same sex.

In a way, the homosexual makes love to his reflection in very substantial ways.

In this respect, the homosexual relations are highly narcissistic. Or if they are not narcissistic, they're highly auto-erotic.

Making love to someone who looks like you, to a very large extent, is auto-erotic. The same way that making love to your offspring is auto-erotic.

The somatic narcissist directs his libido, his sex drive, at his own body, as opposed to the cerebral narcissist who directs his libido at his intellect.

So the somatic narcissist is emotionally and sexually cathected, invested in his own body.

The somatic narcissist cultivates his body, nourishes his body, nurtures his body. He is often a hypochondriac. He dedicates an inordinate amount of time to the needs, real or imaginary, of his body.

It is through his body that the somatic narcissist tracks down and captures his supply sources. And the supply that the somatic narcissist so badly requires is derived from his shape, from his form, from his constitution, from his build, from his profile, physical profile, physiological profile, from his beauty, from his physical attractiveness, his health or his age.

If I am right, in the majority of homosexual narcissists are somatic, this is their psychological profile. The somatic narcissist downplays narcissistic supply, directed at other traits. He uses sex to reaffirm his prowess, his attractiveness, his youth.

Love to the somatic narcissist is synonymous with sex, and he focuses his learning skills on the sexual act. The foreplay, the coital aftermath, how many orgasms did I give you? It's like a scorecard.

Seduction becomes addictive because it leads to a quick succession of supply sources. Naturally, boredom, a form of transmuted aggression, sets in once the going gets routine. Routine is counter-narcissistic, by definition, because routine threatens the narcissist's sense of uniqueness being not average, above the common.

And so, this leads us to transsexuals.

Philosophically, there is little difference between a narcissist who seeks to avoid his true self, a narcissist who positively attempts to become his false self, and a transsexual who seeks to discard his true gender, or her true gender.

There is a similarity there.

Superficially appealing similarity, but is it doubtful, is it questionable, or is it real?

Is the rejection of one's gender, gender dysphoria, the equivalent of the narcissist's rejection of his true self?

People sometimes seek sex reassignment because of advantages and opportunities which they believe are enjoyed by the opposite sex.

And this rather unrealistic, fantastic view of the other is faintly narcissistic. It includes elements of entitlement, idealized overvaluation, self-preoccupation, and objectification of one's self and others.

This gender dysphoria demonstrates a deficient ability to empathize in some grandiose sense of entitlement. I deserve to be taken care of. There is also some omnipotence I can be whatever I want to be, despite nature, despite God.

So transsexualism involves a lot of grandiosity, a lot of entitlement, and is very reminiscent of narcissism.

The feeling of entitlement is especially manifest in some gender dysphoric individuals who aggressively pursue hormonal or surgical treatment. They feel that it is their inalienable right to receive such treatment on demand and without any restrictions.

For instance, they oftentimes refuse to undergo psychological evaluation or treatment as a condition for the hormonal or surgical treatment.

It is interesting to note that both narcissism and gender dysphoria are early childhood phenomena.

This could be explained by problematic primary objects, parental figures, dysfunctional families, or a common genetic or biochemical problem. It is too early to say which, as yet there isn't even an agreed typology of gender identity disorders, let alone an in-depth comprehension of their sources.

A radical view to some extent was preferred in the 90s by Ray Blanchard. Ray Blanchard seems to indicate that pathological narcissism is more likely to be found among non-core, egodystonic, autogynephilic transsexuals, and among heterosexual transvestites. It is less manifest in core egosyntonic homosexual transsexuals.

Autogynephilic transsexuals are subject to an intense urge to become the opposite sex. And so to be rendered the sexual object of their own desire, this is the path they choose.

A male chooses to become a female because then he can become his own object of unbridled desire and passion.

In other words, these people are so sexually attracted to themselves that they wish to become both lovers in the romantic equation. They wish to become the male and the female simultaneously.

It is the fulfillment of the ultimate narcissistic fantasy of self-sufficiency, the false self as a fetish, narcissistic fetish.

Freud made the distinction between anacalytic objects and narcissistic objects, and this is the ultimate in narcissistic objects.

Autogynephilic transsexuals start off as heterosexuals. They end up being either bisexual or homosexual.

By shifting their attentions to the opposite sex, the autogynephilic transsexuals prove to themselves that they have finally become true and desirable.

So for example, by shifting his attention or her attentions to men, the male autogynephilic transsexual proves to himself that he has finally become a true and desirable woman.

And this is all of course linked to autoerotism.

First describe, who else, by Sigmund Freud.

But before we go there, I would like to give you a literature review.

You can skip the literature review and go directly to the last part of the video, which deals with Freud's auto-erotism.

But before we go there, I want to coin a new word, auto-sexual. Not asexual, but auto-sexual.

The label asexual had come to signify anyone who does not feel the need to engage in partnered sex, who is not attracted to another person, sexually attracted.

This is of course misleading. People who avoid having sex with other people, but they must debate on a regular basis as an exclusive sexual outlet may not be asexual at all. They may be auto-sexual.

So I want to suggest that within the range of asexuality and gray sexuality, we should distinguish a sub-variant, a subspecies of auto-sexuals.

These are people who actually have a sex drive, a very active or sometimes hyperactive sex drive, but it is directed at themselves, directed at their own bodies.

That's why they masturbate, but they are not attracted to other people. They masturbate not only as a release, because masturbation is often coupled with fantasies. But these fantasies are auto-erotic. They concern the person who is masturbating.

All auto-sexuals are auto-erotic, but only a minority of auto-erotics are auto-sexual.

I'll come to it a bit later.

Auto-erotism more frequently finds expression via activities such as same-sex partnerships, homosexuality, or incest.

Incest is actually having sex with a living expression of one's own genetic makeup. When you're having incest, you're having sex with someone who is 50% you.

So this is highly auto-erotic.

Similarly, homosexuals are having sex with the same sex.

This is narcissism thrice removed or more precisely auto-erotism twice or thrice removed.

I'm going to delve into all this deeply a bit later, and I know it's going to be highly controversial. The gay community in general rejects any attempt to analyze the mental issues, or psychological issues underlying homosexuality.

Homosexuality, to be clear, is determined mostly biologically. It's a biological phenomenon, and it probably is determined in uterus, in the womb, long before birth.

But having been born a homosexual, there are layers and layers of psychology and a social context and a cultural context within which homosexuality operates, and it is there that homosexuality becomes very closely identified with auto-erotism.

So as promised, we start with a review of the recent literature.

The Journal of Sexual Medicine, January 2020, there's an article there, Erotic Target Identity Inversions Among Men and Women in an Internet Sample, that's authored by Ashley Brown, Edward Barker, Qaza Rahman, and others.

And I read to you a few highlights from this fascinating article.

Erotic target identity inversions, ETIIs, are poorly studied paraphilias that involve sexual arousal by the idea or the fantasy of being the object of one's own sexual desires.

So the results of the study were mild levels of reported sexual arousal to the idea of being the preferred erotic target, were common among the four groups in the study, characterizing about half of them.

Gender identity discomfort was associated with autogynephilia, autoandrophilia, and autoanthropomorphic zoophilia.

I'll discuss one or two of these a bit later.

Greater gender nonconformity was associated with autogynephilia, autoandrophilia, and autonepiophilia.

Autism scores were associated with autoandrophilia and autonepiophilia.

Masochism was not associated with ETII scores, but humiliation was, and here's a linkage, by the way, to the BDSM community.

The clinical implications of the study are findings suggest that it may be important to distinguish between subgroups of those with different levels and types of ETII arousal and expression.

The results support the concept of ETIIs as a paraphilic dimension in nonclinical samples and the possible role of gender-related psychological factors.

So this is the first study that seems to indicate that autoerotism has a variety of clinical manifestations and that these manifestations are critically dependent on gender roles and psychological factors.

Another recent article, Autogynephilia: an underappreciated paraphilia, was published by Anne Lawrence.

And the abstract is, autogynephilia is defined as a male's men's propensity to be sexually aroused by the thought of himself as a female.

It is the paraphilia that is theorized to underlie transvestism and some forms of male to female transsexualism.

Autogynephilia encompasses sexual arousal with cross-dressing and cross-gender expression that does not involve women's clothing per se.

The concept of autogynephilia defines a typology of male to female transsexualism and offers a theory of motivation for one type of male to female transsexualism.

Autogynephilia resembles a sexual orientation in that it involves elements of idealization and attachment as well as erotic desire.

I want to make clear this is idealization of oneself, what can be called self-idealization, and it involves attachment to one's self as a sexual object of the opposite sex.

So male would get attached to himself as a female. He would idealize himself as a female.

The article continues, nearly 3% of men in Western societies may experience autogynephilia, its most severe manifestation made to female transsexualism, is rare but increasing in prevalence.

Some theorists and clinicians reject the transsexual typology and theory of motivation derived from autogynephilia. Their objections suggest a need for additional research.

The concept of autogynephilia can assist clinicians in understanding some otherwise puzzling manifestations of non-homosexual male to female transsexualism.

Auto gynophilia exemplifies an unusual paraphilic category called erotic target identity inversions in which men desire to impersonate or turn their bodies into facsimiles of the persons or things to which they are sexually attracted.

I want to clarify that target inversion doesn't have to involve the opposite sex. A man can imagine himself to be a child and this is known as autopedophilia. A man can imagine himself to be a woman and this is autogynephilia. A woman can imagine herself to be a man, autoandrophilia. Both sexes can imagine themselves to be animal and this is bestiality.

And so these target inversions involve autoerotism plus inversion, plus conversion to another type, another organism in a way.

Separate from this we have classical autoerotism which involves sexual attraction and libidinal investment in one's own body or one's interjects.

And separate from this we have sexual activities that involve sexual partners which resemble the active person, for example homosexuality or lesbianism.

In both cases there is attraction to the same sex which somehow embodies the active partner, similarly incest as I've mentioned before.

Another article was published in the Journal of Sexual Research in March, in the quarterly March to June 2009. It was titled the Erotic target location errors: an underappreciated paraphilic dimension. And it says based on studies of heterosexual male fetishes, transvestites and transsexuals, Blanchard in 1991 proposed the existence of a hitherto unrecognized paraphilic dimension, erotic target location errors, ETLEs, involving the erroneous location of erotic targets in the environment.

Erotic target location errors can involve preferential attention to a peripheral or inessential part of an erotic target manifesting as fetishism or mislocation of an erotic target in one's own body manifesting as a desire to impersonate or become a facsimile of the erotic target, transvestism or transsexualism.

Despite its potential clinical and heuristic value, this concept defines a paraphilic dimension that is underappreciated.

And so this review summarizes the studies leading to the concept of ETLEs and describes how they are believed to manifest in men whose preferred erotic targets are women, children, men, amputees, plush animals and real animals. This review also describes the same phenomena in women and discusses possible etiologies, considers the implications of this concept for psychoanalytic theories of transvestism and male to female transsexualism as well as for the forthcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Another article that I wish to refer you to is Clinical Observations and Systematic Studies of Autogynephilia.

The term autogynephilia denotes a male's paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman. This term subsumes transvestism as well as erotic ideas or situations in which women's garments, per se, play a small role on none at all.

This review article, which was published by the way in Journal of Sexual Marital Therapy by Blanchard himself, this review article presents clinical examples of the lesser-known types of autogynephilia, those in which the element of cross-dressing is secondary or entirely absent.

It sketches earlier attempts to label and conceptualize this phenomena. It summarizes recent quantitative studies exploring the relationships between autogynephilia and other psychosexual variables, heterosexual attraction, and speculates on the etiology of autogynephilia and its relationship to transsexualism.

It is concluded that the concept of autogynephilia is needed to fill a gap in our current battery of concepts and categories for thinking about gender identity disorders.

Finally, an article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, August 2005, titled Early History of the Concept of Autogynephilia, again by Ray Blanchard.

It says, since the beginning of the last century, clinical observers have described the propensity of certain males to be erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women.

Because there was no specific term to denote this phenomenon, clinicians' references to it were generally oblique or periphrastic. The closest available word was transvestism. The definition of transvestism accepted by the end of the 20th century, however, did not just fail to capture the wide range of erotically arousing cross-gender behavior and fantasies in which women's garments per se play a small role on none at all. It actually directed attention away from this phenomenon.

The absence of an adequate terminology became acute in the writer's research on the taxonomy of gender identity disorders in biological males.

This had suggested that heterosexual, asexual and bisexual transsexuals are more similar to each other and to transvestites than any of them is to the homosexual type, and that the common feature in transvestites and the three types of non-homosexual transsexuals is a history of erotic arousal in association with the thought or image of themselves as women.

At the same time, the writer was becoming aware of male patients who are sexually aroused only by the idea of having a woman's body and not at all by the idea of wearing women's clothes.

To fill this terminological and conceptual gap, the writer introduced the term autogynephilia, love of oneself, as a woman.

I would like to also dwell upon the concept of autopedophilia. It was described by Kevin Hsu, Michael Bailey, and here is the abstract of their article titled Autopedophilia.

The most salient dimension of men's sexual orientation is gender, attraction to males versus females. A second dimension is sexual maturity, attraction to children versus adults. A less appreciated dimension is location, attraction to other individuals versus the sexual fantasy of being one of these individuals.

Men sexually aroused by the idea or fantasy of being the kinds of individuals to whom they are sexually attracted, they have an erotic target identity inversion, ETII.

We conducted, say the authors, an online survey to investigate the prevalence and phenomenology of ETII among 475 men sexually attracted to children. Autopedophilia or sexual arousal by the idea of being a child was common among them.

Furthermore, autopedophilic men tended to be sexually aroused by imagining themselves as the kind of children with respect to gender or age to whom they are sexually attracted.

The results support the concept of ETIIs and exemplify the simultaneous importance of three dimensions of male sexual orientation.

Autoerotism. I'm going to read to you the entry on autoerotism in the Freud Encyclopedia.

Autoerotism is the term used to describe those forms of sexual activity that do not involve a sexual object.

The specifically psychoanalytic sense of autoerotism is distinct from its general sense, as a synonym for masturbation, although this distinction is sometimes blurred by psychoanalytic writers.

Freud's concept of autoerotism had important ramifications for several central components of psychoanalytic theory, including the problem of the choice of neurosis, psychosexual development and the etiology of perversion.

The thesis that infantile sexuality is predominantly autoerotic underwent a gradual attrition after its publication in 1905.

The term autoerotism was introduced by the British sexologist Havelock Ellis in 1989.

He used it to denote spontaneous, unprovoked episodes of sexual arousal.

Ellis published a second paper in 1898 linking the symptoms of hysteria to autoerotism, citing Freud and Josef Breuer, and he sent an off-print to Freud.

Freud adopted the term autoerotism a year later in a letter to Wilhelm Fliess in which he describes autoerotism as the lowest of the sexual strata which dispenses with any psychosexual aim and seeks only locally gratified sensations.

Even at this point Freud defined the term differently than Ellis.

As he later put it, the essential point is not the genesis of the excitation but the question of its relation to an object.

Freud made no published reference to autoerotism until the three essays on the theory of sexuality in which he cited Ellis's work and distinguished Ellis's views from his own. This was in 1905.

Freud distanced himself from Ellis's inclusion of the whole of hysteria and all the manifestations of masturbation under autoerotism.

As Freud later made explicit, both hysterical symptoms and many examples of masturbation involve fantasized sexual objects, whereas autoerotism is not directed towards any object, as he wrote in 1908.

In 1905, Freud believed the entire period of infantile sexuality to be predominantly autoerotic although not exclusively so. With object choice prevailing, only one's puberty is reached, although over the next few years he began to qualify these emphasis on the autoerotic character of infantile sexuality.

Children, said Freud, initially stimulated their anal and genital zones to obtain pleasure without reference to a real or fantasized object.

Unlike early genital and anal impulses, the oral drive is an object from the beginning, the breast, and only later becomes autoerotic.

Autoerotic activities become object related by being brought into association with the psychological attitudes towards others, or by the attachment of sexual instincts to vital self-preservative activities requiring objects.

During the autoerotic phase, the components of the sexual drive behave autonomously, seeking gratification independently of one another. Each of them goes its own way to obtain pleasure, said Freud in 1916.

It is only at puberty that these drives are subordinated to the genital organization and to reproduction.

And this feature of autoerotism in conjunction with its objectlessness determines the perverse character of infantile sexuality.

In 1911, Freud introduced a modification into his developmental model of a stage of autoerotism, giving way to object related sexuality and puberty.

So the modification was this.

Originally Freud said that there is a stage of autoerotism in infantile sexuality and it gives way, it disappears, and is replaced by object related sexuality, more or less in adolescence.

But now Freud introduced a stage of narcissism. He interposed the stage of narcissism, self-love, between autoerotic and mature sexuality.

So now there are three phases, autoerotism, narcissism, and object sexuality.

During the narcissistic stage, the child takes himself as his first love object and only later learns to love other people.

Freud distinguished between obtaining sexual pleasure from one's body without recourse to a real or imagined sexual object, and that is autoerotism, and being sexually excited by one's body as a sexual object, narcissism.

Freud went on to claim that paranoiacs are fixated in the stage of narcissism, whereas schizophrenics are fixated in the stage of autoerotism.

He said this in 1911, and luckily for him he never repeated it because it's sheer nonsense.

The unification of the sexual drive, which Freud had earlier claimed occurred only at puberty, is now described as a characteristic of the narcissistic stage.

The problem posed by Freud's 1911 thesis of the stages of autoerotism and narcissism as the respective fixation points for schizophrenia and paranoia was dealt with by abandoning the nosological distinction.

In the Disposition to Obsessional Neurosis published in 1913, Freud propounded the idea of a pre-genital organization of the libido, the anal sadistic stage that forms the narcissistic stage.

During this period, the component instincts, said Freud, have already come together for the choice of an object. The object is already something extraneous.

Autoerotism was now implicitly confined only to the earliest phase of infancy.

And then of course in 1914, the famous essay On Narcissism: An Introduction, again, Freud changes his mind.

He altered his scheme by describing the original oral relation to the breast as an autoerotic sexual activity.

The first autoerotic sexual satisfactions, wrote Freud, are experiencing connection with vital functions which serve the purpose of self-preservation.

Object-less oral sexual drive finds satisfaction through the necessarily object-directed self-preservative impulse to feed.

In 1915, another essay, The Instincts and Their Vicissitudes, Freud wrote that the stage of autoerotism is abruptly gone. In other words, in this essay, he doesn't mention autoerotism at all.

Autoerotism becomes the characteristic mode of sexual activity during the narcissistic stage.

So he unifies the autoerotic with the narcissistic, the same way, by the way, I do.

Autoerotism becomes the characteristic mode of sexual activity during the narcissistic stage.

Freud does not spell out the implications of this change for his earlier concept of the disunity of sexuality during the stage of autoerotism. And the view that autoerotism is a phenomenon of the narcissistic stage seems to preclude the existence of truly object-less sexuality.

In other words, by unifying autoerotism with narcissism, Freud destroyed the very concept, undermined the very concept of autoerotism because narcissism is object-oriented. The object is oneself.

In the 1915 edition of the Three Essences of Theory on Sexuality, Freud emphasized that, I quote, the choice of an object, such as we have shown to be characteristic of the pubertal phase of development, has already been frequently or habitually affected during childhood.

That is to say, the whole of the sexual currents have become directed towards a single person in relation to whom they seek to achieve their aims.

Freud drops completely autoerotism. He just distinguishes between two types of objects, self-object, the self as an object, and other people as objects.

In introductory lectures on psychoanalysis, 1916, Freud again reverted to his earlier position on the primary object-directedness of the oral drive, a view that he reiterated seven years later in 1923.

In the latter text, 1923, he also maintains the view that autoerotism is directed at the child's own body. In other words, that is narcissistic.

He writes, in the first instance, the oral component instinct finds satisfaction by attaching itself to the sating of the desire for nourishment, and its object is the mother's breast. It then detaches itself, becomes independent, at the same time autoerotic, that is, it finds an object in the child's own body.

Freud's last major statement concerning autoerotism is found in an autobiographical study. He returns to the notion of a non-centralized stage of autoerotism, but describes this as preceding the oral stage.

This was a logical outcome of Freud's thesis of oral, anal, and phallic organizations of the libido, published in 1925. Its earlier concept of anarchic and structured sexual activity is not compatible with the concept of infantile sexual organization, unless it is taken to precedent.

Freud regards it as likely that the infant does not distinguish the breast from his own body during the oral phase, and therefore it becomes a self-object.

Freud's account of autoerotism became more and more contradictory and ambiguous during the course of his career.

There is an ambiguity, for example, in his use of the term object. Does it refer to a real object out there, or a psychological object, an introject?

This equivocation and confusion have been discussed by several psychoanalytic commentators, notably Compton and McMillan.

So as we see autoerotism in Freudian sense is a problem.

I choose to define autoerotism as a libidinal or sexual or emotional investment, either in one's own body or in an introject.

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Confabulation is a common human trait, but the distinction between reality and fantasy is never lost. However, the narcissist's very self is a piece of fiction, concocted to fend off hurt and pain and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. The narcissist fails in his reality test and is unable to distinguish the actual from the imagined, the real from the fantasized. The narcissist's countenance, no disagreement, no alternative points of view, no criticism. To him, his confabulation is reality.

Victim of Narcissist: Move On!

The narcissist lives in a world of ideal beauty, achievements, wealth, and success, denying his reality. The partner is perceived as a source of narcissistic supply, and the narcissist pathologizes and devalues them to rid themselves of guilt and shame. Moving on from a narcissistic relationship involves acknowledging and accepting painful reality, educating oneself, and gaining emotional sustenance, knowledge, support, and confidence. Forgiving is important, but it should not be a universal behavior, and no one should stay with a narcissist.

Mourning the Narcissist

Victims of narcissistic abuse often struggle to let go of the idealized figure they fell in love with at the beginning of the relationship. When the relationship ends, they experience a cycle of bereavement and grief, including denial, rage, sadness, and acceptance. Denial can take many forms, including pretending the narcissist is still part of their lives or developing persecutory delusions. Rage can be directed at the narcissist, other facilitators of the loss, oneself, or be pervasive. Sadness is a paralyzing sensation that slows one down and enshrouds everything in the grave veil of randomness and chance. Gradual acceptance leads to renewed energy and the narcissist being transformed into a narrative, another life experience, or even a tedious cliché.

How Narcissist LOVES YOU To ( YOUR) DEATH!

The concept of libido has evolved from being narrowly sexual to encompassing all expressions of love, pleasure, and self-preservation. In psychoanalytic theory, libido is the psychic energy of the life instinct, especially the sexual instinct. Healthy, normal human beings love others through the life instinct, while narcissists love through the death instinct, seeking to control and disable their love objects. Narcissists are incapable of true love due to their lack of a fully formed ego and inability to access positive emotions. Love involves passion, intimacy, and commitment, and is a complex state with various forms and scales. Freud and Jung both believed in psychic energy, with Freud suggesting that it is directed at finding pleasure and Jung emphasizing its role in the development of personality and expression of cultural and spiritual values.

Forgive the Narcissist?

To preserve one's mental health, one must abandon the narcissist and move on. Moving on is a process that involves acknowledging and accepting painful reality, learning, grieving, and forgiving. All stages of grieving are necessary, but it is equally bad to get fixated on rage. Forgiving is an important capability, but it should not be a universal indiscriminate believer. Human relationships are dynamic, and we must reassess and reassess our relationships on a daily basis.

I Can Achieve and Do Anything If I Only Put My Mind to It

The belief that there are no unrealistic aspirations and that positive outcomes are guaranteed is narcissistic and delusional. To avoid self-deception, we need to accept our limitations, learn from our mistakes, and develop a growth mindset that embraces challenges and sees failure as an opportunity for growth. To develop a realistic self-assessment, make a list of your positive and negative traits and ask others to do the same. Compare the lists and grade the answers on a scale of one to five.

How I Experience My False Self

The speaker describes being held hostage by a false self, created as a coping mechanism in response to childhood trauma. The false self gradually took over, leaving the speaker feeling empty and disconnected from their true self. They developed a deceptive persona to protect themselves and cope with their experiences, but ultimately feel imprisoned by it. The speaker longs for love and understanding, hoping it will set them free, but ultimately feels there is nothing left of their true self.

Love Your Narcissist? Make Him Stay, Depend on You (Tips, Resolutions)

In a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to know what not to do and what to do to maintain the relationship. Avoid disagreeing, contradicting, or criticizing the narcissist, and never offer intimacy or challenge their self-image. To make the narcissist dependent on you, listen attentively, agree with everything they say, offer something unique, be patient, and be emotionally and financially independent. It is also crucial to know yourself and set personal boundaries, treating yourself with dignity and demanding respect from others. If the relationship becomes abusive, consider going no-contact and ending the relationship for your own well-being.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
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