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260: The Madonna/Whore Split

Foreplay Radio -- Couples and Sex Therapy

Sports & Recreation

Originally identified by Freud, the “madonna/whore complex” is the inability to maintain sexual arousal in committed, long-term relationships. It is the split between the softhearted and sexual currents in male desire. Freud wrote “where such men love they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love.” Men want to keep the two separate- they desire a sexual partner who is sexy and promiscuous, while they cannot sexually desire the respected partner. Women in particular split themselves- whether it’s the all-giving, loving mother madonna or the fun, sexy party girl. It can be hard to merge the two! The difficulty when you're in a committed monogamous relationship, is this how do we let both parts of ourselves out? And how do we see both parts in our partner. The same applies to women and their conflicting desire for the “caveman/co-partner!”  Don’t settle for either/or! How can you have both? Sometimes this requires re-eroticizing your partner, taking risks, and rekindling the lustful side of yourselves. What Freud was missing was...you need secure attachment to make it work! In order to bridge the divide of how to feel safe while also bringing out that lustful side, you need clean ways of communicating that create safety in your relationship. That integration is the key!!


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