The Strange World of Emotion

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Structure  of  Sexual Response

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Sexual Magnetism

In the last year of my psycho-analysis I began a period of prolonged sexual day-dreaming. I managed to tie my emotional moods to my phantasies and finally understood my pattern of responses to women.

I consider responses within harmonious relationships, and then explain some kinds of mental and physical abuse that can occur.

I formulated the following structure of sexual response, within a male heterosexual mentality. 

Sub - Headings
Table 4: directions of  Love Flow
Responses of  Jealousy
Dulling the Mind


When I am experiencing jealous love the masculine in me is dominating the feminine in a woman. This is the traditional concept of sexuality from the man’s point of view and represents sexual transference. [¹]
My love is masculine.


When I am experiencing narcissistic love the feminine in me is responding to the feminine in a woman. Emotion is dominant but transient.
My love is feminine.


With a woman of strong will the masculine in me responds to the masculine in the woman. Will power is a masculine attribute. This is the mode of sexual attraction, based on narcissism. [²]
The love that is received by me is masculine.


When a woman satisfies my need for social approval, by giving me appreciation or by initiating friendship, the masculine in me is dominated by the feminine in the woman. Jealousy (in self-pity mode) and sexual desire become prominent in me. [³].
The love that is received by me is feminine.

These four responses determine the nature of the relationships between heterosexual partners. There are four ways of experiencing sensual love, within an harmonious relationship.

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In response (a), jealousy (mode of love) is the dominant emotion in me. Sexual relationships based on jealous love tend to last for a lengthy period of time. The relationship can last even if hate replaces love, because in symbolic terms the man is relating to his mother. The man can choose a wife who has similar conscious characteristics to his mother, or similar subconscious characteristics (depending on whether he consciously loves his mother or subconsciously hates her - see Note).

In response (b), narcissism (in love mode) is the dominant emotion in me. Sexual relationships are fleeting or absent, and no permanent ties are desired.

In response (c), both man and woman are attracted by will power, so that the dominant polarity is masculine. In such a situation a platonic relationship is easily maintained. Narcissism is again dominant, but this time it is in vanity mode in me. The love is contributed by the woman.

In response (d), the need for social approval is dominant. A lasting relationship can be formed, but it will be maintained only as long as the partners validate each other. When validation no longer occurs then the relationship may be retained for social convenience or quickly ended. Jealousy in self-pity mode is dominant in me. The love is contributed by the woman.

In responses (b) and (c), the polarities of the man and woman are the same ; feminine in the first response and masculine in the second one. Therefore, in the two relationships originating from narcissism it is the same polarity in the partners that is important.
By contrast, in the other two responses, (a) and (d), the polarities differ. In the two relationships derived from jealousy the man is attracted to the opposite polarity in the woman.

Therefore the need for a physical union of two bodies operates like ordinary magnetism:
unlike polarities ( = jealousy) attract each other and like polarities ( = narcissism) repel.

Note. Trying to change the past
A man may subconsciously hate his mother, and yet still bond to a woman who has character attributes similar to his mother. Why does this bonding occur?  It would seem to have the least likelihood of ever happening. However, it is an issue in identity.

The man feels that his mother did not love him enough, and so his identity is weak. If such a woman did love him, then his identity would change dramatically. Therefore, subconsciously such a woman can strongly attract him and give him another chance to change the past, but only if he can persuade her to love him. He finds such a woman, bonds to her, but only sees his hopes wither away. He cannot change the woman, and so his subconscious hatred of her character type remains, as does the weakness in his identity. He experiences only another failure.

If he had managed to make the woman love him, it would have had a greater beneficial impact on him than bonding to a woman whose character is complementary to his own. A complementary woman cannot change his past for him.

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These ideas can be restated to highlight differences and processes. For a heterosexual male:

In responses (a), (c), and (d) I am masculine ; in response (b) I am feminine. This unbalance is what it means to be a male heterosexual – three quarters male and one quarter female ! There can be no such thing as a completely masculine man (or a completely feminine woman).

These four kinds of love-relations require a specific object to arrest the flow of emotion. The love is trapped by the object (the other person). In both love modes I project ; I am subject. In the other two modes I introject ; I am object. [4]

The direction of flow is from love modes of jealousy or narcissism in the subject to the other modes of self-pity or vanity in the object. [ This scenario assumes that the two people are close enough together for their auras to touch. When they are apart then each person uses the idealised image of the other in order to switch on the loop of projection and introjection as a self-contained process].

I assume that the responses of a heterosexual female complement those of a heterosexual male.

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I return to the four responses. I show the direction of love flow in the following table. The arrow indicates the direction in which love is flowing.

Table  4.  Direction of  Love Flow

In response (a), the flow of love is from man to woman.
Man: jealousy (love)  leads to  woman: jealousy (self-pity).

In response (b), the flow of love is from man to woman.
Man: narcissism (love)  leads to  woman: narcissism (vanity).

In response (c), the flow of love is from woman to man.
Man: narcissism (vanity)  from  woman: narcissism (love).

In response (d), the flow of love is from woman to man.
Man: jealousy (self-pity) from  woman: jealousy (love).

Here the direction of emotional flow is always from jealousy to jealousy, and from narcissism to narcissism. If the flow of emotion is different from this pattern then the relationship is not at that moment mutually harmonious. This pattern of sensuous love flow requires both a subject and an object.

By contrast, pure love is non-sensuous and is just a free flow, just a flux without an object. (see article Emotion 2, love).

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Responses of Jealousy

My sexual phantasies derived some of their intensity from the years that I spent as a hospital porter. During that period I fell in love four times: I experienced both jealousy modes twice. I found it to be incredibly difficult to practise mindfulness on sensual love. To try to carry on normal relationships whilst I was almost out of my head with love, and attempting not to show it, was nearly as hard as coping with madness.

What is the problem that love brings within jealousy?  Love intensifies consciousness. It is a state of absorption of one person in another, and so it can be tremendously fulfilling. [5]. However, love also intensifies the subconscious mind. And this is the problem. Absorption of one mind with another one brings the pain that arises from the union with the other person’s subconscious mind and all its difficulties. These difficulties lie hidden whilst love is blossoming, but take the limelight when love fades. Hence jealous love brings both pleasure and pain.

For a comparison, love is a state of absorption based on feeling, whilst meditational trance is a state of absorption based on will.

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From my readings in biography, I look at two styles of sexual relationships when jealousy is intense, when love intensifies jealousy to the level of passion.

Consider a person and the sexual partner.

First style
The love mode of jealousy, when coupled to anxiety, leads the person to dominate and control the partner. The partner has to be moulded into the pattern that is desired by the person. Therefore the partner is sacrificed to the needs of the other. The person is triumphant, the partner confused. If the relationship stabilises into this pattern then eventually triumph turns sour when the person begins to resent the obligation of continually taking responsibility for the partner ; controlling the partner becomes a burden. The partner ends by being despised for his /her dependency.

At a level in which passion is absent, this style often creates problems between parent and child. A person that I worked with had this style. The parent controls the child as it grows up into adolescence, taking responsibilities for all decisions that the child should be making. By the time that the child is now an adolescent, it has become incapable of making any important decision, whether about jobs, what clothes to wear, where to take a holiday, etc. The parent has now become tired of always having to make the burden of choice, and complains that the adolescent just cannot make up her mind about anything.

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Second style
This emerges when jealousy exists in the mode of self-pity, when the need for social approval is intense. This style can easily lead to mental and physical abuse. When problems arise in the relationship the person will be unable to handle any signs of rejection by the partner ; inability to handle rejection is an effect of the person's self-pity. So the person implores and begs the partner to reconsider and annul the rejection. If this is achieved then the person becomes ecstatic.

But here lurks tragedy. When the ecstasy fades the person switches from social identity to individual identity. Jealousy fades away and pride becomes the dominant emotion. Now the person is repelled by the grovelling and whining that he /she had to do: grovelling undermines individual identity. Now the person retaliates by subjecting the partner to anger, bullying, and abuse. The relationship degenerates into mental and /or physical violence.

Afterwards, pride fades and jealousy arises again. The person is overcome by remorse and begs forgiveness. If this is given then the cycle starts all over again. In this mode of sexual desire, as the person swings from jealousy to pride, and back again to jealousy the partner is subjected to alternations of love and hate.

Dulling the Mind

I derived these ideas from my obsession with sexuality. However, there was an unpleasant trade-off to my investigations. The continual indulgence in sexual phantasies narrows consciousness and dulls the mind. Every time that I plunged into an intense exploration of sexuality I ended by feeling mentally cramped and shrivelled (this is not a metaphor – the person’s aura does actually shrivel, and this is what the person feels).

Too much sexual phantasising impoverishes the mind. Why?   The phantasising intensifies subconscious sexual guilt ; guilt always narrows the mind. Then the jealousy of sexual desire impoverishes what is left. [6]

As a compensation I yearned for intellectual expansion. My yearning led me to create original philosophy.


The number in brackets at the end of each reference takes you back to the paragraph that featured it.

[¹]. See article on Transference.
My definitions, descriptions, and analysis of emotions are given in the three articles on Emotion. See home page. [1]

[²]. My use of the terms "sexual desire" and "sexual attraction" is described in the article Two Modes of Sexuality, sub-section Two Responses. [2]

[³]. The need for social approval is explained in the article Aspects of Personal Identity. [3]

[4]. Projecting and introjecting are explained in the article Projection and Introjection. [4]

[5]. The idea of absorption is described in the article Aspects of Personal Identity. [5]

[6]. There is a mention of dullness in the article Oedipus and Electra, section Jealousy and Guilt. [6]

Home List of  Articles Links Top of Page

The articles in this section are :

Two Modes of Sexuality - sexuality is dual in form.

Bonding - continues the bonding patterns.

Oedipus and Electra - symbolism in sexual practices.

TV / TS - transvestism & trans-sexuality, plus voyeurism and groping.

Sadism and Masochism - sexual violence and degrading phantasies.

Structure of Sexual Response - four relationship responses.

Partnerships - the way that change affects partners.

The copyright is mine, and the articles are free to use. They can be reproduced anywhere, so long as the source is acknowledged.

Copyright © 2002 Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved

Ian Heath
London, UK

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