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Analysis of Excess in Sexuality According to Sigmond Freud and Leo Bersani´s Theories

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Sexual excess is an antithetical idea, one that denotes both liberated pleasure and contemptible transgression. Therefore, it is also an idea that rests on the assumption of boundaries and an insatiable desire, one that needs to move beyond normative parameters in order to achieve pleasure. Whether it is the uncontainable physical sensations, the decision to avoid the “talk” with children, or even the inability to construct emotions into words, the notion of excess spawns from the inevitable interconnection of morality with modern sexuality. Such an interconnection emotionally enables desire to push the limits while granting shame the capacity to retain normative boundaries. Therefore, whether it is Sigmund Freud’s idea that excess is surplus stimulation or Leo Bersani’s contention that excess is a structure-shattering experience, both rely on the otherness of sexuality. Upon analysis of both their work, it is clear that the concept of excess has the ability to overcome shame through the otherness of sexuality.
It is of particular interest to look at sexuality in relation to the modern daily life. What may seem abnormal and even abject in daily life is constitutive in human sexuality. It goes beyond normal functioning, rationality, and purposefulness, making sexuality inherently excessive. The discrepancy between the sexual and daily life connotes the otherness of sexuality. Freud mentions this in Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality in his contention that perversion should be used a term of reproach: “no healthy person, it appears, can fail to make some addition that might be called perverse to the normal sexual aim.” Although he may have been focusing on the abnormal particularities in normal sexual life, this idea expounds ...


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...scinating power and makes the nude body feel obscene and the sexual act sordid and filthy. In order for shame to recede, it needs a resonating desirous other, who validates sexual excitement and transgresses against the same shame.
Generally, excess denotes to a superfluous, degraded matter, disposable waste. However, by its richness the term excess connects well to sexual experience, as it reflects sexuality subjectivity as overflowing, as a mounting inability to contain desire, as well as a seeking of arousing, even shattering, experiences. Excess is still antithetical and therefore aptly conveys the double-edginess of sexual experiences. Whether it is Freud’s excess as excitation or Bersani’s excess as a means to shatter and enable evolving structures, the empowerment of sexual excess in its inherent sexual otherness disables shame through the power of desire.



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