Primary Emotions: Sex and Organic Needs

  • Peter A. Bertocci
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


Any primary emotion, I am proposing, is a distinguishable, emotive predisposition defined by the meaning-object discernible in its personal matrix. In this chapter, I turn to primary emotions that can be localized more definitely in particular organic processes. However, I shall contend that they cannot be understood in human experience in terms of organic activities alone. I refer to sex, hunger, thirst, and “organic needs” like sleep and exercise.


Sexual Experience Sexual Satisfaction Religious Experience Sexual Response Emotive Tendency 
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Notes for Chapter Eight

  1. 1.
    There has been considerable discussion recently of the relation of “object” to emotion and feeling. Are feelings and emotions contingently related to an object? Should the object of an emotion, for example, be distinguished from its cause? I have been indicating my view, but more discussion is needed. Especially pertinent to the discussion of Freud’s views, is David Sachs’ “On Freud’s Doctrine of Emotions,” in Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Richard Wollheim (New York: Doubleday, 1974).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ruth and Edward Brecher, An Analysis of Human Sexual Response (New York: Little Brown, 1966), xiii. In an essay, “A Defense of Love and Morality,” McCall’s (November, 1966), Masters and Johnson themselves distinguish sex, as essentially a biological reproductive drive, from “sexuality,” (p. 102), a “quality of living as a sexually motivated being [that] does not suddenly emerge at puberty… is not born of glandular change and the ability to reproduce” (p. 103).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    As James Hillman notes: “The term ‘libido’ is a complex image which Freud’s genius struck upon to bring together a group of ideas which were already contained, so to speak, in the word itself. In the Roman god, Liber, we have the notion of a procreative, phallic principle. In libet, lubet (libens, lubens) we have the notion of pleasure. Libido as a flow of energy is found in the Latin root, libare—to pour liquid.” Emotion (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, rev. ed., 1962), 76, footnote; borrowing from R.B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought about the Body and Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2d. ed., 1954), 472–473. Fertility, the flow of life as yielding pleasure, freedom, creativity, all were caught up in “libido.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ruth and Edward Brecher, ibid., xiii, xiv.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Irving Singer, The Goals of Human Sexuality (New York: Norton, 1973).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See my book, Sex, Love, and the Person (Mission, Kansas: Andrews and McMeel, 1967), and my article, “The Search for Meaning in Adolescent Sexuality and Love,” Teachers College Record, 80 (3, February, 1979:483–507).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    William McDougall, Energies of Men (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1933), 99.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    I argue that these larger valuative and qualitative ramifications of sex are critical for a more meaningful, personal, sexual experience in Sex, Love, and the Person (Mission, Kansas: Andrews and McMeel, 1967). See also Rollo May, Love and Will (New York: Norton and Co., 1969).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    McDougall, ibid., 119.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    McDougall, ibid., 98.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Drever seems to add sex as an appetite, along with “primary disgust” and “personal isolation.” See The Instinct in Man (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1917), 249.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Magda Arnold, Emotion and Personality, vol. 2, 174, italics added. See her comprehensive review of the physiological action patterns involved in hunger-eating phenomena.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Arnold, ibid., 180.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Arnold, ibid., 171.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Arnold, ibid., 177, italics added.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    James Ward, Psychological Principles, 2d. ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920), 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Bertocci
    • 1
  1. 1.Borden Parker Bowne Professor Emeritus of PhilosophyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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