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ERIC Number: ED372310
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 39
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Two Modes of Sexuality.
Firestone, Robert W.
This paper describes the essential difference between two modes of sexual relating: (1) a personal, outward style of interaction that is the natural extension of affection, tenderness, and companionship between two people; and (2) an impersonal, inward, more masturbatory expression in which sex is used primarily as a narcotic. The origins of self-gratifying modes of sexuality can be traced to the "self-parenting" process: a core, psychological defense formed early in childhood in which children learn to "parent" themselves, both internally in fantasy and externally by utilizing objects and persons. This adaptation later becomes externalized in an adult's intimate relationships. This manner of sexual relating is characterized by elements of sexual withholding and control, a reliance on fantasy with corresponding emotional distancing, and the intrusion of negative cognitions during sex. The major distinction between self-gratifying modes of sexuality and more spontaneous, free sexual expressions is that the former represents the utilization of another person as an instrument to assuage primitive needs and longings. The only hope for a couple trapped in such a framework is for them to break out of the imprisonment of their defensive posture of self-parenting, and free themselves to move toward individuation and the possibility for genuine love. (Author/RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A