a) Inversion

Behaviour of inverts

(a) Absolute Inverts' sexual objects are exclusively of their own sex. Person of the opposite sex arouse, if anything, sexual aversion, and the sexual act derives no enjoyment.
(b) Amphigenic Inverts' sexual objects may equally be of their own or of the opposite sex.
(c) Contingent Inverts' sexual objects are of the opposite sex, but given certain external conditions (e.g. inaccessibility of opposite sex) they may derive satisfaction from same sex, sexual objects.

Nature of Inversion

The earliest characterization of inversion as an innate nervous degeneracy, involves two assumptions: that it is innate and that it is degenerate.


Freud argues that the term "degeneracy" should only be used when several serious deviations from the normal severely impair efficient functioning and survival. In this sense he argues that inverts are not degenerate, adding the point that it can be seen have been of importance amongst peoples of antiquity at the height of their civilization, and even today is widespread amongst savages.

Innate Character

Innateness is only attributable to the absolute inverts, and depends upon assurances that at no time has their sexual instinct shown inclination towards another course. The other classes, especially the contingent inverts, are inconsistent with this idea, thus the view has arisen that inversion is an acquired character of the sexual instinct. In evidence, this view cites the cases of inverts in whom:

(a) an early sexual impression can be identified as shaping their invert tendency
(b) an external influence can be identified as effecting their inversion
(c) inversion has been removed by hypnotic suggestion.

Freud, therefore concludes that the choice between 'innate' and 'acquired' is not exclusive.

Explanation of Inversion

Freud concludes that in general the nature of inversion is best explained in terms of an innate constitution within the subject, which subject to accidental or otherwise, external life influences, results in either inverted, or heterosexual tendencies.


Freud addresses the cases in science of hermaphroditism (where the sexual apparatus combine female and male characteristics). Many (Lydston 1889, Kiernan 1888, and Chevalier 1893) extended this to the mental sphere to explain all varieties of inversion as psychical hermaphroditism, however the fact that inversion is rarely accompanied by anatomical hermaphroditism suggests that these two phenomena are independent.

Character inversion has also been cited as being related to sexual, psychical inversion However this is only seen with any regularity among women, so in general it seems that this too is independent of inversion. In summary Freud concludes that:
(a) a bisexual disposition is somehow concerned in inversion, though it is unclear in what this disposition consists beyond anatomical structure, and
(b) one must look at the disturbances that affect the sexual instinct in the course of its development.

Sexual Objects of Inverts

The theory of psychical hermaphroditism holds that an inverted man, for example, feels he is a woman in search of a man. The many male prostitutes who offer themselves to inverts, imitating women in their clothing and behaviour, support this. In women, Freud suggests that inverts exhibit both mental and physical masculine characteristics and look for femininity in their sexual objects.

Sexual Aim of Inverts

Freud argues that no single aim can be given in the case of inversion. The aim can vary from anal intercourse, to masturbation, or even just contact with the mouth.


Freud highlights the errors relating the sexual instinct and sexual object as being more intimate than they actually are. He concludes that the sexual instinct is probably independent of its object and that its origin is unlikely to be due to its object's attraction.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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