Hermaphrodites are called individuals who have primary or secondary characteristics of both sexes. Rarely, but such an abnormality also occurs among humans. However, there are individuals who are not physiological hermaphrodites, but who have psychological characteristics of the another sex. This phenomenon is called psychological hermaphroditism.
Hermaphroditism and neurasthenia
The phenomenon of psychological hermaphroditism Western psychologists became interested long ago. For example, Sigmund Freud, studying the connection between homosexuality and neuroses, discovered that every neurasthenic has homosexual traits. His colleagues Wilhelm Fliss, Richard von Kraft-Ebing, and J. Sadger pointed out that the male neurasthenic suffered from oppressive feminine traits, and the female neurasthenic suffered from male traits. In some cases, these people also exhibited secondary features of the another sex: underdeveloped genitalia in men, underdeveloped genitals, an enlarged clitoris, and a low tone of voice in women. True, the researchers have not been able to prove whether there is a relationship between these pathologies and mental properties.
What are the causes of psychological hermaphroditism?
Meanwhile, according to studies, all men neurasthenic type in childhood and adolescence felt inferior, in a sense, suppressed his masculinity. For example, they were cowardly, weak-willed and submissive to elders, demonstrated shyness and timidity in social situations and lacked aggression, which is traditionally considered a sign of a “real man.
At the same time, some women from childhood exhibited traits of emancipation, including the desire to subjugate the another sex. Not to mention such behavioral traits as wearing clothes of the opposite sex (boys dress like girls and girls dress like boys).
According to scientists, the reasons for the manifestation in neurasthenics of the feminine can be musculoskeletal disorders, soreness, irrational development, various disorders. In women, it may be a veiled desire to become a man (for example, to avoid neglect). Symptoms of this can be vaginismus, sexual frigidity, increased aggression and many other pathologies of a confusing nature.
Adler’s “Male Protest.”
The greatest contribution to the study of psychological hermaphroditism was made by the Austrian psychologist and psychiatrist Alfred Adler. In his The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1910) he, in contrast to Freud, refused to recognize a direct link between psychological hermaphroditism and biological factors, finding that these factors are at best indirectly important and that individuals of both sexes choose the more “male” or “female” line of behavior that best serves their purposes. Thus, when masculinity is prevalent in society, it is more advantageous to be a man than a woman. This is what Adler calls “masculine protest. In neurasthenics “masculine protest” can manifest itself in an extreme form.
Adler’s conception of male protest is as follows: a) a feeling of inferiority due to the presence of feminine traits at the moment; b) a goal for future male power and superiority; c) striving and progressing from a) to b). Whereas Freud spoke of the subject striving for the satisfaction of his urge, Adler’s strives for self-improvement.
A personality characterized by the traits of psychological hermaphroditism can develop in different ways. The boy who is characterized by “femininity” is likely to avoid traditionally male-dominated games and activities and will probably realize himself in some humanitarian sphere – the arts, music and so on. A girl with traits of “masculinity” often since childhood is engaged in sports, prefers friends of the another sex, wears clothes similar to those worn by men, and often chooses traditionally male occupations – for example, driver, pilot, policeman, lawyer.
At the same time it is a mistake to assume that all people with manifestations of psychological hermaphroditism are homosexual or bisexual. Even if their body is dominated by “opposite” hormones, they can also have quite normal sexual orientation, another thing is their role in the family. A feminine man is more likely to be controlled by his wife, and a masculine woman will seek to control her husband. If they do not find suitable partners who will accept their rules of the game, they may be left alone altogether.