Anatomy of Masochism, 1st Edition by June Rathbone (auth.)

By June Rathbone (auth.)

Are dominance and submission inevitable in human relationships? Believing that sadomasochism is turning into an ever extra evident phenomenon in constructed nations, the writer surveyed forty eight self-declared sadomasochists (43 male, five woman) and 35 controls (26 male, nine woman) with a purpose to elicit info on early kin relationships, morale, and sexual habit and delusion; she additionally seems to be on the philosophy of masochism and its harmful effects.

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165). Freud makes a distinction between ultramorality and moral masochism: "In the former, the accent falls on the heightened sadism of the super-ego to which the ego submits; in the latter, it falls on the ego's own masochism which seeks punishment, whether from the super-ego or from the parental powers outside ... the sadism of the super-ego becomes 22 CHAPTER 1 for the most part glaringly conscious, whereas the masochistic trend of the ego remains as a rule concealed from the subject". The next statement is low-key, but its practical significance is momentous: "Conscience and morality has arisen through the overcoming, the desexualization, of the Oedipus complex; but through moral masochism morality becomes sexualized once more, the Oedipus complex is revived and the way is opened for a regression from morality to the Oedipus complex.

55). Even if one can swallow her "masochistic triad: castration, rape and parturition" (p. 57), the ultimate improbability is reached with her extraordinary generalization: "In the deepest experience of the relation of mother to child it is masochism in its strongest form which finds gratification in the bliss of motherhood" (p. 58). With that she has, of course, clearly parted company with Freud. In challenging the premisses of Helene Deutsch, with great good sense it must be said, Karen Horney (1935) directs her arguments simultaneously against those of Sandor Rado (1933): "Rado affirms that he is concerned only with pathologic phenomena, but from his deduction as to the origin of feminine masochism, one cannot but conclude that the sex life of the vast majority of women is pathologic.

162). He observes, with equal accuracy, that "the material is very uniform ... But if one has an opportunity of studying cases in which the masochistic phantasies have been especially richly elaborated, one quickly discovers that they place the subject in a characteristically female situation" (p. 162). "This superimposed stratification of the infantile and the feminine" is a very accurate portrayal indeed. A male masochist (and in this, his most important discussion of the subject, Freud clearly recognizes that the perversion is to be found overwhelmingly in males), struggling to achieve 'normal' heterosexual coitus, is constantly impeded by the irruption of infantile and feminine impulses.

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