The Madonna-Whore Syndrome…

In 1912, when S. Freud elaborated the theory of sexuality, he introduced a psychoanalytic concept on the relational stage, which in literature is called “Madonna-Whore Syndrome” and managed to hystericize at least half of the people on the planet. And he continues to do it today, only in another way. Today, psychoanalysis is blamed for the importance of percentages given to sexuality in the individual’s mental life (before, it simply denied the presence of sexuality or its importance). The fact that what is obvious in everyday life is not to be found in psychoanalysis is a dichotomy. I mean, why should Freud’s value be interpreted as abuse in explaining neurosis? If we are still so concerned by the subject of “sex,” why would we then wonder that inhibiting sexual function generates problems? (Actually, it does!)
Madonna / Whore syndrome brings the idea that men (and women) classify women into two categories to the forefront, dividing them into two camps: “Madonna” and degraded women, “Whores.”
The good girls – the Madonnas – are virtuous, innocent, pure and virginal, almost to the point of asexuality (like angels that fly through the heads of some). The bad girls – the whores – are sexually voracious, indiscriminate and aggressive … in fact, they are often depicted acting in a way traditionally defined by male sexuality.
Freud had many brilliant insights (obviously he also had many mistakes in his theories, genius is not guaranteed, nor absolute at anyone), but the dichotomy he exhibited in Madonna / Whore syndrome is brilliant.
This dichotomy had existed for centuries long before Freud’s theory of sexuality before he began to have strange thoughts about cigars and see penises everywhere 🙂 Sexuality is a central theme in our lives. Primitive societies, archaic cultures everywhere have put sexuality under control, invented rules, precepts, taboos, or specific laws. Sexuality is most often forbidden – and “the most forbidden practice,” then it is no wonder that the mythologies of peoples grant absolute liberty in this field only to supernatural gods and beings. For Hindu people, for example, styles of sexual intercourse between mythical beings are carved on temples. Very good :), at least they can enjoy it. Or coming closer to our day, when archaeologists discovered the ancient city of Pompeii, which under the pressure of the lava was kept intact, seeing the mosaics with explicit sexual scenes in the houses of the Romans made them wonder if they did not arrive in Las Vegas 🙂 somehow by mistake. Today we can see this manifested in pop culture: “the blond girl,” virgin and even repressed (usually a blonde) and ” la femme fatale”, the immoral woman (usually a brunette) for whom sex is a weapon and men are just tools. It can be clearly distinguished from the way men – and women – refer to women’s behavior and how men treat women in their lives.
And this faith hurts them all.
Madonna or Whore – a dilemma for the modern woman who wants to reconcile all roles and a more emotional and erotic dichotomy for men who cannot combine both roles of a woman: the serious woman and the “easy” woman.
How does the Madonna-Whore Syndrome actually manifest?
By the man’s inability to maintain a passionate erotic relationship with the woman he loves and with whom he is in an assumed relationship. When he develops a deep sense of romantic attachment, he can even experience episodes of temporary impotence. He will avoid starting hot sex parties, feeling castrated in the relationship with that woman. That’s because in his mind women are split into two categories: women they admire and women they want to have sex with and the loved woman with whom they are in a relationship cannot be both. His sexuality will be inhibited by the emotion of love, and he, not rarely, will decide to satisfy it beyond the relationship but without any intention to leave his lover or wife.
From a certain point on, a man can look at his beloved woman as the woman he wants to have children with, and as such he unconsciously passes her into the category of “saints.” His sexuality can be affected because he does not see her as a woman with whom she can have erotic pleasures with but as a woman who will raise his children. And if there are issues about Oedipus’ complex (suppression of sexuality to his mother, and competition with his father for mother’s affection), romantic-erotic failure is a certainty. Sometimes the fixation of the Madonna-Whore complex can also be facilitated by an accentuous religiosity that divides love into the divine sacrifice and the profane-animalistic. Unfortunately, even today, some families consider the sexual impulse as coming from “the ancestral reptilian brain” (referring to Adam and Eve and the belief that the woman introduced the primal sin), or even being “devil’s work” which is good to protect yourself from as much as you can. The sex sphere thus divided during childhood remains dissociated in two directions that are excluded from each other and fail to reach a unitary sexual pattern.

The truth behind this complex “simple learning ” is much more; it’s not just sex. Both roles are insulting to women. The suggestion that a woman is a sexual being implies that it is otherwise worthless because it is sexual. The concept of “shing-shaming” – mocking or insulting a woman to be a sexual being – also springs from this dichotomy. Because a woman doesn’t follow the role of restricted sexuality that culture creates for her (the way of Madonna), she must be scorned and scared. The guilt of the treatment of a whore is focused only on her. If she were docile, innocent and pure, it would not attract judgment on her.
On the other hand, “Madonna / Virgin” represents the fear of unrestricted sexuality, Madonna is equally patronizing and insulting to women. Putting Madonna on the pedestal of holiness and purity becomes something “protected.” Her role is to be submissive to men as well; just as “Whore / Prostitute” is meant to be punished, Madonna must be preserved and worshiped. Her personality is completely ignored.
It’s About More Than Just Sex.
The difference between Madonna and the Whore goes beyond just sexual expression. The division of “good girl” from “bad girl” covers societal codes for behavior as well. The Good Girl is submissive. She does not act too forward or aggressive for fear of offending others. She’s quiet. She goes along to get along. The Bad Girl, on the other hand, is a bitch. She’s brassy. She’s loud. She stands her ground or even pushes for more. She makes a fuss.

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The first step for men who are still under moral pressure (unconscious or taught) of the Madonna / Whore Syndrome is to accept that all women are sexual beings. The division between the “good girls” who do not and the “bad girls” that do is a remanence of time, religion, and culture that no longer exists. A woman who has sex, enjoys sex and radiates sexuality is still a woman who is as capable of being a loving and responsible parent for your future children (perhaps even more successful because she is not repressed). Similarly, the girlfriend or wife you love is still a sexual being; the fact that you’re in a relationship or putting a ring on her finger does not mean she still does not want the wild sex that you two had in the first few days when you burned through every page of Kama Sutra.
The authenticity and congruence of a relationship are more than finding a maternal figure that will grow your future descendants. You want a partner, yes, but a partner in crime too. You both signed a contract to share an adventure together, and that means sharing and experimenting with the crazy fantasies that you have. Remember that she is a sexual bearer just like you and enjoys the adventure together (yes, even on the “transgressive, borderline illegal stuff” section), that you dream of having once.
Appreciate that (your girlfriend, your wife) your angel has her side of the devil inside of her or that your devil has that angelic part and embraces them all.

Author: mydoina

Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes. -Carl Gustav Jung-

25 thoughts on “The Madonna-Whore Syndrome…”

  1. Agreed. The dichotomy is too “simple” (and insulting) but Freud more than anything is a reflection of his time. Perpendicular (independant) dimensions must be sought. Freedom is one. 😉
    Bon week-end.
    B.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Brian, I’m glad you read what I wrote 🙂 and yes, you’re right! If we considered the historical context of the early 20th century when he dared to “whistle” in the cultural pudibondery church: let’s talk about sex! (in German):))) … I’m glad he did it! But beyond the cultural aspect, I think what he has pointed out is that we, the people, are the prisoners (and masters) of the labels! A nice weekend to you!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Labels. Essentialization. “Etiquettes”. Yes, we tend to put everything in boxes, including ourselves. Two solutions: think outside of the box. Or get rid of the box altogether. 🙂
        Have a great boxless week.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting that sexuality was/still is considered from the males perspective. Bunuel’s obscur object of desire addresses this issue wonderfully. He goes all the way with the Madonna or devil dichotomy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting, what if there are no whores just underachievers? What if the human race has never reached it’s sexual peak? What if we don’t really even know what we’re doing with sex.
    Men are still functioning on the same orgasm they started with, I believe women are now past 5 different types of orgasms.
    Just a thought.

    Like

    1. Very interesting as you say, only that, in 1912, when Freud developed the Theory of Sexuality, the world was still not ready to accept that we are sexual beings, not to talk about it … (and not only in the Christian world). .. in my opinion :). Thank you for visiting my blog!

      Like

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