Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the proto-phallic or polyphallic stage in the Object Altruist

Old journals are littered with articles that seem to be contradictory until one appreciates psychic bisexuality.

The phallic stage in males is supposed to be synonymous with the urge to penetrate and so information that didn't keep with this picture was ignored.
Loewenstein, R. (1935). Phallic Passivity in Men

It is well known that, in many men who suffer from disturbances of potency, inhibitions, such as collapse or total absence of erection, make themselves felt in certain circumstances only. In some cases this occurs whenever the sexual partner makes the slightest show of resistance, while, in others, coitus is impossible unless the woman not merely consents but takes the initiative.

We know that the inhibition from which these men suffer has its source in the fear of castration and that this fear is associated with episodes in their childhood. In analysis it often transpires that, as boys, they made an attempt to seduce their mother, or a mother-substitute, behaviour which called forth a rebuff or a threat. Such attempts at seduction are generally of a childish character, as is natural at that stage of sexual development, and they would hardly be recognized for what they are by adults ignorant of such a possibility. For instance, a little boy may try to take his mother by surprise, when she is undressed, and may sometimes be bold enough to attempt to touch her breasts, her buttocks or even her genitals. A frequent form of attempted seduction is masturbation in the mother's presence, for example, when she is attending to the child's toilet: this manoeuvre is tantamount to an invitation to her to touch his penis. Or the attempt may assume a paradoxical form, so that at first it escapes recognition: a little boy who has already been forbidden to masturbate nevertheless does so in front of his mother. It is as if his intention were to call forth a fresh prohibition, a threat or even punishment. The meaning of his behaviour is this: by causing his mother to catch him in the act and to punish him he forces her nevertheless to take part in his masturbation. The rebuff which he meets and the threat of castration which often accompanies it frequently constitute traumas that help to put an end to his infantile genital activity 334-5

In my opinion we shall do well to distinguish two stages in the phallic phase: a passive and an active stage. The passive stage manifests itself first and, according to my own observations, it actually includes the period of the Oedipus complex. Indeed, the sexual aims of the little boy's incestuous wishes are clearly passive, although they may exist side by side with the active aim of penetration which begins to make itself felt at the same period. In some cases the masturbation practised at puberty begins with purely passive genital acts. Boys of this type like to have their penises handled more or less roughly, and they achieve orgasm without any semblance of a 'to and fro' movement or of penetration. Some of these boys develop normally but the majority are likely to remain habitual masturbators, for whom masturbation will always provide a more complete satisfaction than coitus (337)

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