Evil Deeds

A forensic psychologist on anger, madness and destructive behavior.

The Psychology of Sexuality

Sexuality is part of what makes us human. Naturally, its fundamental function is to propagate the species. But, obviously, sex goes far beyond the powerful evolutionary instinct to procreate. Read More

I found this interesting, but I was wondering...


I quite liked your article, which I found interesting. However I noticed a few Freudian ideas in it, and I was wondering what modern psychoanalysts make of ideas from evolutionary psychology or other schools. For instance you note that repressed sexuality may amerge as a perversion as in the case of priests. However a Billion Wicked Thoughts notes that someone gets a perversion when they have an intense sexual experience with a strong olfactory or tactile element during a window of sexual development (9 - 14 years). Are these two viewpoints reconcileable, and if not, which is more persuasive? In turn what does that say about psychoanalysis or other psychological schools?

I think it is a bad idea to

I think it is a bad idea to promote the idea that sex is "spiritual".

Sex and love are physiological and biochemical ---no magical thinking needed.

Love is biochemical? And so

Love is biochemical? And so is your writing ...

I was put off by the

I was put off by the reference to spirituality as well. In fact, by the second use of the word, I quit reading. I was expecting a scholarly essay, not.. this.

Reply to Anonymous #1

Thanks for your comments. To me, these two etiological conceptualizations of sexual perversions are not antithetical. Strong associations between sexuality and smells or sights are common. But they don't necessarily result in sexual perversion. They can sometimes just be pleasant or unpleasant associations which may enhance or diminish sexual pleasure or performance. This can also occur with music, for example, when closely associated with certain memories or experiences. Freud himself, for example, may have suffered from a music phobia which prevented him from taking pleasure in listening to music (see my prior post Why We Love Music--and Freud Despised It). I would say that the more persuasive explanation of sexual perversions is that they are primarily related to chronic repression or dissociation of sex or eros, i.e., the daimonic. In all cases there is some specific reason and significance for this chronic repression, which is often related to some negative or positive experience (not just singular trauma but toxic environment) and sometimes Pavlovian association to sexuality. In a sense, you could consider this way of thinking a combination of behaviorism and psychoanalysis.

Sexual abuse is about power,

Sexual abuse is about power, not sex. The majority of people who commit sexual assault and rape are partnered or married with healthy, active sex lives. The deeply hierarchical structure of religious institutions is a more likely cause of sex crimes by the priesthood. It creates a desire for power over others, of wanting to be god-like. Sexual assault and rape, particularly of weaker, more vulnerable people, eg. children, is one way to get it.


but priests aren't married. And they don't supposedly have another sexual outlet. So it seems to me that a priest who is abusing children is doing it for the sexual excitement too, not primarily the power? Just wondering - I'm not an expert on the subject.

I like having a little control and power over some things in my life too, but I have zero interest in expressing that through rape or abuse. So it's hard for me to see the reasoning that it's about power alone.

In fact, for many people power and sex are closely linked in all kinds of fantasies - dominant-submissive, boss-secretary, dominatrix, being seduced, groupie for an NBA star, etc.


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Stephen Diamond, Ph.D., is a clinical and forensic psychologist in LA and the author of Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity.


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