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child to the parent; the submission of the individual to the herd; and the submission of the female to the male. That is to say, the submissive impulse is derived from three sources, self-preservative, social and sexual. Only this last is distinctively sexual; the first, submission of the child to the parent and to a large extent the second, submission of the individual to the herd, are not sexual but directed towards the safety, protection and self-preservation of the individual. Submissive tendencies in childhood are expressed in nestling into the mother's breast, rocking to and fro, and other such passive experiences. The child seeks to be near its parent. Such nearness, passivity and submission are biologically necessary to self-preservation amongst mammals and are encouraged by the pleasurable feelings associated with them. But such gratification does not necessarily constitute it sexual. If the tendencies pass naturally into the service of sex, they take their place as normal tendencies of sexual life, the natural and gratifying submission of the female to the male, a tendency which of course is manifested in early childhood as well as in adult life. If these tendencies of submission are morbidly manifested they tend to persist and, fusing with sex feelings of a later age, combine to give rise to the sex perversion of masochism: when therefore we analyse masochistic tendencies of adults we frequently discover their origins in the pleasurable submission of the infant to the mother. Feelings of dependence are most characteristic of the first year of life, as self-assertive tendencies are most dominant in the second and third.
The actual origin of this tendency and those of self-assertion and curiosity and self display are not yet sufficiently elucidated for us to be certain whether these impulses themselves should be classed as sexual, but most of the evidence so far goes to prove them to be originally non sexual and only to be secondarily sexual in that they are subsequently utilised for sexual ends. In so far as they are utilised for sexual ends, as in sexual curiosity, or the overmastery of the female by the male, we may call them sexual, but this should not extend to a systematic definition of the impulses as themselves sexual.
(e) We come now to a number of pleasurable activities and impulses like thumb-sucking, urination and the passing of motions. These do not themselves come under the terms of our definition, since the impulses to which they give rise do not naturally lead to reproduction, but to ends which are egotistic. In so far as they enter into perversions associated with ordinary sex feelings we may class them as sexual. But neither the activities themselves nor the pleasures derived from them should be called sexual.
These activities are of two kinds; those which actually fulfil their biological functions (such as sucking the breast) and those which take the form of a pure indulgence without reference to any further end (like thumb-sucking).
It is not clear whether Freud regards as sexual both these forms of sensuous gratification, or whether he regards only those activities as sexual which are indulged in for their own gratification. The latter view is suggested in passages in which he speaks of sucking as sexual which has " no other object but that of obtaining pleasure"-"its only purpose is in the pleasure derived1." These passages suggest that the activity of sucking which obviously belongs to the nutritive instinct, becomes sexual as soon as it is indulged in for its own gratification, when its only purpose is the pleasure derived.
But is not this always the case as far as the child's conscious 'purpose' is concerned? Are we to assume that the child sucks for any other reason than that of gratification? The infant knows no such distinction: its 'purpose' is never anything but the pleasure derived, whether it be the breast or its thumb.
Are we then to say that the sucking impulse is an expression of the nutritive instinct when it actually nourishes and sexual when it does not; that it is nutritive when milk is absorbed and sexual when saliva is swallowed; that sucking at the breast is nutritive, but as soon as the child after feeding lies contentedly back upon its mother's breast and sucks its thumb, it is sexual?
To define an instinctive activity according to whether it actually attains its biological end or not is to do violence to scientific classification. We cannot doubt that it is the same impulse in either case whether it achieves its end or not. It is true that the subjective experience of sucking the breast differs in some measure from thumb sucking, for the activity is associated with hunger in the one case, and not in the other. This justifies us in putting them in a different category and looking upon thumb-sucking as a perversion-a perversion of the nutritive instinct-we are not justified in transferring it completely to another instinct and calling it sexual.
Elsewhere Freud and other psychoanalysts extend the term sexual to apply to all forms of sensuous gratification.
Hug Helmuth2 argues that because an infant enjoying blissful sensations behaves similarly to that of an adult enjoying sexual sensations,
1 Introductory Lectures, p. 264.
2 A Study in the Mental Life of the Child.
it is sexual. There is sensuous pleasure both in being replete and in sex satisfaction: but as Gordon1 says: "Things that are examples of the same principle are not themselves identical." That 'same principle' is of course the feeling of sensuous gratification, which is common to both activities but which does not therefore make them identical. We can call these infantile sensations sexual only by identifying the sexual with the sensuous.
Again, Dr Glover2 speaks of sucking at the breast as 'libidinal.' This seems to me a perfectly justifiable use of the term 'libidinal,' taking this term to mean a striving after sensuous gratification. But if by libido we mean, as the psychoanalysts do, "the force by means of which...the sexual instinct...achieves expression3" this commits us to the view that sucking at the breast is sexual in that it is libidinal. Indeed sucking is obviously both sexual and nutritive.
Lest there should be further doubt as to the use of the term sexual, as synonymous with sensuous, let us return to Freud himself. Two quotations must suffice to show this identification. Freud says: "The gratification (of sucking) can only be attributed to the excitation of the mouth and lips, hence we call these parts of the body the erotogenic zones and the pleasure derived from them sexual." It is difficult to follow this argument. Why should sucking be called 'sexual' because it is "attributed to excitation of the mouth and lips"? It is impossible to say, unless we assume that sex is synonymous with sensuous gratification. Elsewhere he is even more explicit: he says: "The sexual excitation produced by these influences (sensations from the skin, joints and muscles) seems to be of a pleasurable nature-it is worth emphasizing that for some time we shall continue to use indiscriminately the terms 'sexual excitement' and 'gratification,' leaving the search for an explanation of the terms to a later time." Here the conception of sex and pleasurable gratification are so identified that the terms are used indiscriminately. I have simplified the argument by taking the one illustration of sucking: the same reasoning applies to the other pregenital activities.
It appears then that while Freud charges others with narrowing down the use of the term 'sexual' to mean 'genital5,' he himself makes the
1 Journal of Neurology and Psychopathology, Nov. 1922.
2 Social Aspects of Psycho-analysis, p. 49.
* Freud, Introd. Lectures. p. 263.
4 Three Contributions, p. 62 (italics mine).
fundamental mistake of extending the term sex to mean 'sensuous gratification.' What is the justification for making the identification, and for ascribing the term sexual to those early sensuous activities?
First, the clinical evidence; namely, that the sexual disorders of adult life, when clinically analysed, lead us back to these infantile pleasurable activities.
Secondly, that stimulation of the pre-genital zones in children produces genital sensations. This is true, but may be explained as merely an example of surplus excitation, which spreads from the original zone to all parts of the body. Shall we also argue that because tickling often gives rise to anger, that the sensation of tickling belongs to the pugnacious instinct?
Thirdly, that the activities of the pre-genital zones are organised and brought in subordination to the genital (or phallic) zone. There is continuity of development from the beginning.
Fourthly, that we find these activities persisting in the sexual per
Fifthly, that it is difficult to say where the sexual begins, since the same common feeling characterises these infantile activities as well as the definitely sexual tendencies of adult life.
Let us briefly examine these arguments.
There are very strong clinical arguments for the identification of these activities with the sex instinct. If one investigates the origin of sexual activities in adult life, especially the abnormal, one is ultimately led to activities in childhood of a pleasurable nature, associated with bodily functions like sucking or defaecation. "As you know," says Freud, "we call the doubtful and indefinable activities of earliest infancy towards pleasure 'sexual,' because in the course of analysing symptoms we reach them by way of material that is undeniably sexual1." Since the clinical association between these infantile activities and later sexual life is so intimate it is natural and convenient for clinical purposes to group them all as 'sexual.' But apart from the clinical, these arguments appear to be quite inadequate.
It is a complete misinterpretation of the biological functions of these infantile sensuous activities to call them sexual.
Freud describes systematically the phases of development of the sexual organisation, saying that "the partial impulses, under the primacy of one single erotogenic zone, have formed a firm organization for the attainment of the sexual aim in a strange sexual object." He again
1 Three Contributions, second edition, p. 58.
refers to this as "the subordination of all the sexual component instincts under the primacy of the genital zone." It is argued then that these socalled erotic activities (oral, anal, etc.), are sexual, because in the development of the individual they normally 'pass' over (Three Contributions, p. 52) to the sexual. We do not deny the facts of such infantile sensuous gratifications-they are admitted in every nursery-nor do we deny that these activities appear in the sex perversions; but we do dispute the theory which interprets these facts and which ascribes such activities to the sexual instinct.
There are certain biological functions which are necessary to the survival of the individual, such as sucking and defaecation. All such biological activities successfully expressed, give pleasure, and this pleasurable element serves to encourage the persistence of the activity and so to establish it as a habit.
It is biologically necessary that a child should suck, and this activity at first performed reflexly in response to the external stimulus, is later sought for the gratification it brings. This gratification therefore tends to make the function of sucking persist. It is necessary that a child should excrete, and this is encouraged by the pleasure in passing motions. Similarly with the pleasure in passing urine, characteristic of early childhood. It is biologically necessary that a child's skin should have free access to air to throw off the impurities by means of this excretory organ, so the child loves to have the winds play upon its naked body. (Nudism is not necessarily exhibitionism.) Reproduction is biologically necessary for the continuance of the race, and this is encouraged by the pleasurable stimulation of the sex organs. In this way we have various activities, sucking, defaecation, genital, maternal, each phase succeeding the previous one and each during its phase of activity being accompanied by pleasurable feeling tone, the pleasurableness encouraging the establishment of the habit. When the habit is thus established, that is to say, when what we conceive to be its purpose has been served, there is no further need for the pleasurable element to be so prominent, and so it passes to give way to the next phase, in which another form of gratification becomes most pronounced.
It is therefore, in the first place, a misnomer to call these activities 'perversions' at all; they are normal and valuable biological functions.
It is again not true to say that the earlier conative tendencies, like the pleasures of sucking, are 'organised into' the later sexual activities, still less can you 'organise' one form of sensuous gratification into another. All that has happened is that one physiological activity