Perverse Masochism and the Question of Quantity


The author challenges some of the traditional views regarding perverse masochism, drawing on a case of a male subject who had carried out perverse practices for much of his life only to eventually abandon them. While some conventional conceptions note common elements to perverse masochism, such as castration anxiety and rich fantasy, the author shows that it’s instead characterized by limited oneiric activity, the absence of anxiety, and suggests that the masochist not only does not fear castration, but even desires it. In contrast to Freud, for whom masochism would be the trace of the combination between Eros and the death drive, the author does not refer to the latter, speaking rather in terms of the constancy principle and constitutional elements. The author argues that perverse masochism could be considered as one tool (among others) for dealing with the excess quantity of drives that a subject is unable to manage through mental mechanisms.

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European Journal of Psychoanalysis