Anal eroticism

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Anal eroticism, in psychoanalysis, is sensuous pleasure derived from anal sensations.[1] Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, hypothesized that the anal stage of childhood psychosexual development was marked by the predominance of anal eroticism.[2]


The English sex manual The Joy of Sex talked about the erogenous sensitivity of the anus, and its role in sexual pleasure.[3]:118 Its author, Alex Comfort, stated that anal intercourse was part of many heterosexual as well as homosexual relationships[3]:118 (as indeed had Freud at the start of that century).[4][non-primary source needed] Comfort also stressed the importance (in the French tradition)[clarification needed] of postillionage or anal fingering prior to orgasm.[3]:167


In 1973, the psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott spoke of "the tremendous pleasure that belongs to the doing of a motion just exactly when the impulse comes...another little orgy that enriches the life of the infant".[5][non-primary source needed]

Freud, in his 1908 article Character and Anal Erotism argued that, through reaction formations and sublimation, anal eroticism could turn in later life into character traits such as obstinacy, orderliness and meanness.[6][non-primary source needed] The psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi extended his findings in 1974 to cover the sublimation of anal eroticism into aesthetic experiences such as painting and sculpture, as well as into an interest in money.[7][non-primary source needed] In 1946, the psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel linked anal eroticism to feelings of disgust, to masochism, and to pornography.[8][non-primary source needed]

The psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva would subsequently explore anal eroticism in connection with her concept of abjection.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ C. Rycroft, A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (1995) p. 7
  2. ^ P. Gay, Freud (1989) p. 281-2
  3. ^ a b c Alex Comfort, The Joy of Sex (1974)
  4. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (PFL 7) p. 64-5
  5. ^ D. W. Winnicott, The Child, the Family, and the Outside World (1973) p. 43-4
  6. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (PFL 7) p. 208-15
  7. ^ Sandor Ferenczi, 'The Ontogenesis of the Interest in Money' in J. Halliday/P. Fuller eds., The Psychology of Gambling (1974) p. 264-272
  8. ^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis (1946) p. 139, 351 and 359-60
  9. ^ F. L. Restuccia, Melancholics in Love (2000) p. 66

Further reading[edit]

  • Susan Isaacs, 'Penis-Feces-Child', International Journal of Psychoanalysis VIII (1927)
  • Jack Morin, Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women and Couples, 4th edition, San Francisco, Down There Press, 2010, ISBN 0940208377

External links[edit]