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Sexual Emotion: psychoanalysis and neuropsychophisiology of a denied emotion

Volume chapter author (s): Imbasciati A., Buizza C.

People believe sexuality is a biological event, which concerns genitalia and is regulated by the istinct: genitalia produce pleasure and pleasure cause emotions. This is a wrong idea, produced by our conscious-ness. Instinct does not exist in humans. Sex is learned from the first relationalship. Sexuality is due to a complex neural structuring in our Emotional Brain, which is progressively constructed along the individual life, from the infant attachment, through several interpersonal experiences, till adulthood. Emotional Brain works in a quite unconscious way: the subjectivity of an individual depends from it, but a person may feel only few misleadind feeling from his/her emotional brain working. Some of these feeling may be felt as sexual when he/her come to have any behaviors that may be called sexual. Pleasure is not produced by genitalia through specific neural pathways, but by a “lecture”, by our unconscious emotional brain. It occurs when some environmental, interpersonal and intrapsychic situations are organized in that neuropsychic structure built in our emotional brain, that constitute our individual sexual dimension. When his unconscious work occurs, our emotional brain gives orders to our body and genitalia.
This “lecture” is transformed and this transformation is transmitted to consciousness as a particular sensorial pleasure. Physical functioning of organs is not the cause, but the effect of an emotion. Its arousal is quite individual. Nobody has same brain as another person, nobody has a sexuality as another person. A concept like “normal sexuality” does not make sense. Therefore, sexuality represents an unconscious aspect of personality – that regards mind and life experiences – that is presented as a bodily automatic functioning. The misleading ideas that people have about sexuality are due to the unconscious functioning of sexuality, which can be otherwise perceived by our consciousness.
In the book the Authors describe neuroscience, psychoanalysis and experimental psychological researches, which occurred in the last decades, in order to underline how current opinion and literature about sex may be far from a scientific view of sexuality.
Psychoanalisis, in its most recent development concerning Relationship and Attachment Theory, is used to explain, both the variety of sexual behaviors, and cultural historical, mythological, anthropological literature, which was produced worldwide in the past and in the present time.
Neurosciences and experimental and clinical psychology sciences demonstrated that human sexuality does not function by physiological automatisms like stomach or liver. It is instead the somatic expression of an emotion, which happeans in the brain and which is primarily unconscious. Human sexuality origins in the emotional brain when it reads some external or internal circumstances as erotic according with its individual memories (“implicit memory”). Each brain developed its functional maturation by its learning from individual experiences, chiefly that neonatal and infant ones: so nobody has a brain equal to another, nobody has the same mind and each person has its own sexuality.
Notwithstanding scientific progress popular culture is still quite different, nor medical culture is updated. Our book may be useful to sexuologists, psychologists, physicians, educational and social workers, and students, or other scholars who are interested in the topic. Many psychological, anthropological, social and educational considerations can arise if we compare what we now scientifically known about human sexuality and what popular (and sometimes medical) culture thinks and conwequently people behave.


Chapter 1
The emotional essence of sexual phenomena
Antonio Imbasciati, Chiara Buizza
1.1 The misleading consciousness of own sexuality
1.2 Are sexual sensations a specific neurosensorial pathway?
1.3 The sexual emotion
1.4 Learning an emotion

Chapter 2
Sexuality and attachment
Chiara Buizza, Antonio Imbasciati
2.1 Motivational Systems
2.2 The Attachment System
2.3 Attachment Styles and Sexual Motivational System

Chapter 3
The sexual attraction
Chiara Buizza, Antonio Imbasciati
3.1 The sexual attraction: a definition
3.2 Sexual attraction and interpersonal attraction
3.3 The olfaction
3.4 A socio-evolutionary perspective of sexual attraction
3.5 Psychophysiology of sexual attraction
3.6 Sexual Attraction measurement

Chapter 4
Gender, sex, identity: terms and concepts
Juan Fernández
4.1 In the beginning: a first triple perspective
4.2 In the second half of the twentieth century
4.3 Some perspectives and integration efforts

Chapter 5
Gender Identity Disorder
Roberto Vitelli
5.1 The question
5.2 Transsexualism: history of inclusion in clinical categories
5.3 Transsexualism: media-genetic effects
5.4 The Bios field
5.5 Psychosocial factors: the attachment
5.6 Which clinic approach for transsexualism? The anthropoanalysis

Chapter 6
Which gender for identity?
Antonio Imbasciati
6.1 Misunderstanding about gender
6.2 Gender and Identity
6.3 Gender and sexual attraction
6.4 Gender: a deconstruction of the concept
6.5 The psychosexual development
6.6 Why heterosexuality?
6.7 What a kind of gender in the development? Which future adult individual?

Chapter 7
Psychopathology and sexuality
Antonio Imbasciati
7.1 Sexual disorders: effect or cause in psychopathology?
7.2 The roots of sexual dimension
7.3 Sexual Psychosomatics

Chapter 8
Sexual Addiction
Antonio Imbasciati
8.1 Sex as a drugs
8.2 Avoid cousciousness of emotions
8.3 When addiction begins?

Chapter 9
Sexuality in the Myth
Antonio Imbasciati, Francesca Dabrassi
9.1 Myth, “phantasy” and mistery of an emotion
9.2 Eros
9.3 Eros in far myths
9.4 Eros and Psyche

Chapter 10
Homosexuality: patterns, relationships and attachment
Paolo Valerio, Michele Cascone
10.1 The inscrutability of the erotic bond
10.2 Homosexuality in psychoanalysis
10.3 Homosexual relationships
10.4 Rethinking sexuality

Chapter 11
Why every culture needs to rule sex?
Antonio Imbasciati
11.1 Sexuality in history
11.2 An economy in avoiding dreads
11.3 Sexual emotion in the  history of homo sapiens

Chapter 12
Sexuality and aging
Antonio Imbasciati, Chiara Buizza, Carlo Cristini
12.1 Attitudes
12.2 Psychosomatic changes
12.3 Body contact as a care?
12.4 Psychosocial factors of health
12.5 Sexuality, health and culture

Chapter 13
Sexuality and disability
Antonio Imbasciati, Carlo Cristini, Luigi Croce
13.1 Disability and  individuality
13.2 The rights to sexuality
13.3 Images and social stereotypes
13.4 Sexuality and law
13.5 The illusion of rehabilitating

Chapter 14
Sexuality, generativity, parenthood
Antonio Imbasciati, Loredana Cena
14.1 Genesis of sex: male and female He created. And they were divided.
14.2 Prehistory of both sexes: an endless competition for generativity
14.3 The first and the…“second sex”
14.4 From sexuality to generativity: or vice versa?
14.5 Generativity and parenthood
14.6 The “desire” to generate
14.7 The infertility
14.8 Sexuality without generativity: what a future?
14.9 Generativity without sexuality or generation without sexuality? A destiny beyond sexuality?

Chapter 15
The called sexual disfunctions
Antonio Imbasciati, Francesca Dabrassi
15.1 The disfunction concept
15.2 Structuring an emotion
15.3 The misleading notion of sexual disfunction
15.4 The specific structuring of sexual emotion

Chapter 16
Chiara Buizza, Antonio Imbasciati
16.1 A short history of sexology
16.2 Studies on sexology
16.3 The birth of clinical sexology in Italy
16.4 Training in sexology and Italian Schools