Magritte, The Ignorant Fairy    

The Science of Sex

Basic Sex Differences (4)

Sex Substitutes

Excerpts from Section 14 of

The Tyranny of Ambiguity

BASIC INSTINCTS: PRIMARY SEXUAL EXPRESSIONS OF MALES AND FEMALES. SUBSTITUTES. Clearly people do not usually have all the sex they desire, so substitutes are found. Based on the basic sexual instincts of males and females, an examination of sex substitutes can be made.

MALE SEX SUBSTITUTES. Males are basically pleasure-seekers. The primary sexual activity of the male is physical sexual activity; that is, copulating. A major group of male sex substitutes satisfy the male’s pleasure-seeking instincts. Another major group of substitutes take the form of a build up of tension followed by its resolution.

Males substitute for sex anything which builds up to a climax and is then resolved. A very obvious example is competitive sport, which combines the instincts for an accumulation of tension and its resolution with competition. It satisfies both the aggressive and competitive instincts and finally the male is given a ranking, a number, which is a measure of his success.

It is not true that males are only interested in the short term, but they do desire resolvement as quickly as possible so that their energies can be directed most efficiently. The energy being expended on an unresolved target may be being completely wasted.

Males may substitute power, or business, or the pursuit of a particular objective for sex.

DRUGS AS A SEX SUBSTITUTE. Psychoactive substances such as marijuana, heroin and alcohol can be used as sex substitutes because they stimulate the pleasure centres which normally provide encouragement, that is, reinforcement, to have sex. One reason opiate addicts are thin is because they lose their desire to eat due to the pleasure reinforcement of eating being relegated to comparative insignificance by the sensations provided by their drug of addiction. They also usually have a very much suppressed sex drive.

In a famous laboratory experiment the brain of a rat was wired directly to its pleasure centre. The rat received a preset dose of pleasure whenever it pushed its nose against a button on the side of its cage. The amount of pleasure which was delivered was gradually increased until above a certain threshold the rat spent all its time repeatedly pushing the button and, thus neglecting to eat, starved to death.

It seems that our natural addiction to sex is hijacked by these substances, which provide a similar sense of well-being to that obtained by sex, by stimulating or supplanting normal endorphin production. This might be particularly true of opiate addiction. Further, the nature of these substances is that an individual takes some of the drug and after some time, wants more. A reinforcing cycle is established. There may be parallels to be drawn with the Satiation/Insatiation Effect but most substance abuse is by males because they are predominantly pleasure-seekers, while females are predominantly relationship-carers.7

There are certainly accounts of users falling in love with their drug, for example someone describing how they became addicted to heroin: they “Just, well, fell in love with it, I suppose.” I remembered a similar experience myself when once becoming re-addicted to tobacco; I had the same sensation briefly, of falling in love with it.

As to whether marijuana is addictive, it is certainly true that a tolerance to it can be acquired and this is halfway to addiction. Marijuana is definitely psychologically addictive. Clearly if a tolerance can be acquired then some adjustment is required to return to the normal state, and this is an essential component of the addictive cycle.

FEMALE SEX SUBSTITUTES. Food is a major female sex substitute. Females also substitute intimacy with each other for an intimate relationship with a male. Many females are clearly preoccupied with domestic pets. By this stage of these investigations it has become clear that domestic pets, perhaps especially cats, are a female sex substitute. Cats are a substitute for sex, or at least what females are biologically conditioned for in sex. There were the quotes in Section 3, particularly “My cats are my children.”

SUBSTITUTION AND SUBLIMATION. There is however a definite distinction to be made between substitution and sublimation. It is proposed that the first stage in the evolution of neurosis and its sublimation is music and religion.


7. Many drugs involve risk, including the risk of losing control of the addiction, and the use of psychoactive drugs is normally discouraged by elders. This might be compared with sex, which for a young male might be discouraged or forbidden, especially until a few decades ago, and there may be a danger of discovery of a clandestine relationship.

F21US1 reported having met two female intravenous heroin users who experienced orgasms at their moment of injection. Possibly the ritual in which many addicts indulge prior to their fix may be analogous to foreplay, with the injection in these two separate cases then inducing orgasm.

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