Freud And Sexuality

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Sexuality is absolutely central to Sigmund Freud?s account of human psychic life. According to Freud, the single most important motivating force in adult life is sexual energy or the libido. Sexuality can be defined as any form of pleasure which is or can be derived from the body. (Gay, 1989) Due to the nature of our environment, it is essential, but never entirely satisfied. It is for this reason that Freud investigated the consequences of repressing impulses in order to live in society.

According to Freud, life is a constant battle between the pleasure principle and the reality principle, the former being the need to do what feels good and to obtain pleasure. The latter, reality principle, implores us to subordinate pleasure to that which needs to be done- namely, work. (Ricoeur, 1970) Through sublimation the pleasure is subordinated, and the force of the hidden desires that can not or should not be fulfilled is used to do something useful and productive such as writing a paper.

Desires that can not be fulfilled are repressed in the unconscious. Freud took the unconscious to be a dimension of human life, both inaccessible and important, as a source of thoughts and actions. (Archard, 1984) Due to a strong avoidance of sexuality in society, the things that the conscious mind is not supposed to want become hidden from public scrutiny.

Freud thought that society and civilization were always vulnerable because social life originated in unresolvable conflicts. To Freud, then, the whole purpose of life is simply the agenda of the pleasure principle. (Gay, 1989) However, this is in conflict with the whole world for perhaps two reasons. First, there is the question of the disposition of pleasure itself. Pleasure is a fleeting thing, which may only come about as a contrast between...