Pleasure seeking and the aspect of longing for an object in perversion. A neuropsychoanalytical perspective

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.
American journal of psychotherapy 08/2012; 66(2):129-50.
Source: PubMed


In modern psychiatric classifications the term paraphilia has replaced the term perversion by changing the scope of the definitions from avoided procreation to failures of relationship-aspects of sexuality. Contemporary psychoanalysts also seem less interested in pleasure seeking aspects, which were so important within original Freudian thought, and instead concentrate interpretation on hostility and the history of the representation of objects. This paper discusses the connection between distinct object representations in perversions and attachment theory and neurobiological representations. It will discuss the observation that the neglect of pleasure seeking in perversion often results in a failure to recognise the addiction-like aspects of perversion, which seem to be particularly relevant to modern psychiatric and psychological thinking. The SEEKING-system (Panksepp, 1998) is used to conceptualise a neurobiological basis for pleasure seeking. This SEEKING-system may be "hijacked" by rewards in different forms of addiction as well as in sexual obsessions. The polarity between "drive representation" and "object representation," as created by Freud (1933, 1940a), may correspond to the polarity identified in contemporary thinking between the addictive or compulsive characteristics of sexual gratification (drive representation) and the influence of early object representation on the later ability to integrate instinctual wishes into relationships (object representation).

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