A Guide to Psychology and its Practice

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Page Contents: Talking about masochistic fantasies related to past sexual abuse.                    


If your sexual identity is all wrapped up in masochistic fantasies, does that mean that even working through issues of abuse, that that will always be there? I just wondered if, in your experience, that is the case. I have voiced these feelings to my therapist, but she declined to answer. I am deeply ashamed of these tendencies and couldn’t bear it if it was always there.

It’s a huge blunder that your psychotherapist would not answer such an important question.

The fact is that masochistic sexual tendencies are usually a psychological defense against childhood emotional pain. It’s an odd thing, but it tends to derive from the concept that people who are afraid of bad things happening to them often make bad things happen to them so they can feel in control of when and how the bad things happen. This solution does nothing to actually help you heal those old wounds; it only covers them over so you can pretend they don’t exist. But if you learn to understand—and heal—your pain in psychotherapy, then, your masochism will dissipate. That is, when you can face life directly and honestly, you won’t need illusions about sexuality to shield you from life’s harsh reality.

Granted, I’m not being “politically correct” here, but the unconscious cares only for truth, not political correctness. If we don’t admit to the pain and trauma of our lives, then it will fester as a subversive unconscious influence on us, and it will leak out in fantasies, no matter how much we might be pressured by others to claim that such fantasies are “normal.”


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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