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[who?] 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]