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About Everything Wiki » Relationships » "You need to marry a decent one": what is the Madonna and harlot complex?

"You need to marry a decent one": what is the Madonna and harlot complex?

17 Jan 2024, 00:00, parser
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What is the Madonna and Harlot complex

The Madonna and Harlot complex is a condition in which a man divides women into two categories. There are immaculate virgins who are created for the role of wife and mother, devoted, faithful, obedient and caring, so-called good girls. They marry people like that. And there are liberated women who are unworthy to be spouses, but you can go on sexual adventures with them.

It seems, so what. Probably, with this way of thinking, a man simply spends a stormy youth "with the wrong people." And then he meets his Madonna and calms down with her, loves her, has children, lives happily and dies in old age on the same day with the chosen one. That's just a little more complicated.

The Madonna and harlot complex works in such a way that a man is unable to H. S. Kaplan. Intimacy disorders and sexual panic states / Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy experiencing full-fledged sexual arousal in a serious relationship. That is, there is sex in a couple, because children come from somewhere. But somehow everything is wrong and everything is wrong. Because the wife turns out to be a figure that such a man treats with respect, perhaps with care — and with boredom. He can feel real passion only for "harlots", decide to experiment with them, let his desires go free.

If cheating is taboo for a man, he suffers from the fact that he cannot express his sexuality. If not, then he does it on the side, and he himself may not be tormented by remorse. But then the wife turns out to be unhappy. And the preservation of marriage is questionable. Not to mention the fact that a woman may also not be satisfied with sexual relations, which her husband is not very attuned to. If the union eventually breaks up, the man will follow the same path, because you need to marry a decent one, and have sex with "indecent" ones.

Moreover, such splitting may not occur immediately. It also happens that a couple starts a relationship, they are doing well. But the more tightly a woman enters into the role of a wife and mother, the less desire there is for her. Because "she kisses children with those lips."

Where does the Madonna and Harlot complex come from

Initially, this phenomenon was described by Sigmund Freud. Essays on the psychology of sexuality Freud. In his opinion, this is due to the incompleteness of two principles: tenderness and libido. Tenderness towards women begins to form from the first years of life and is directed, for example, at a mother, a sister. Later, libido develops, and a person is faced with the fact that sexual interest cannot be shown in relation to close women. But it is possible to those to whom there is no such tenderness. If everything had gone according to plan, the fusion process would have ended, and the man lived with the realization that one can feel both tenderness and sexual interest for the same person. But everything freezes at the point when these are incompatible desires that can only be directed at different ladies.

But there are also more substantive, sociocultural explanations, which are partly confirmed by the different attitudes towards virginity among different peoples. Yet most of humanity has grown up under the influence of the norms of religions C. Feinman. Women in the criminal justice system , in which women are presented either as virgins first, and then decent matrons, which is evaluated positively, or as harlots. Accordingly, the attitude towards women varies depending on their views on sex. The one that attracts physically, it seems like a sin to love spiritually. And a sample of purity does not necessarily arouse desire.

In addition, when talking about the Madonna and harlot complex, sacred love, respect and tenderness are often contrasted with bodily attraction. That is, Madonna seems to be rising on a pedestal. But from the point of view of the sociocultural approach, this is not necessarily so. "You need to marry a decent one" is also a socially approved trope. That is, it is important that the house be immaculate — and then "what will the boys in the area say?". What she thinks and feels doesn't matter so much.

Moreover, this is not exactly a recent phenomenon, as hinted by the culture of hetaerae in Ancient Greece or geisha in Japan. And it's not just about sex. Both geisha and hetaera were educated girls who knew how to entertain, keep up a conversation, and comfort. They were also independent by general standards, and they were allowed more than women on average. The first ones were considered terribly indecent, of course. And the second kept house, gave birth and were considered decent.

Scientific works show that the division of women into madonnas and harlots is characteristic of a man the more strongly R. Kahalon, O. Bareket, N. Shnabel. The Madonna‑Whore Dichotomy Is Associated With Patriarchy Endorsement: Evidence From Israel, the United States, and Germany / Psychology of Women Quarterly , the more he supports the patriarchal worldview. Moreover, studies were conducted in the USA, Germany, Israel, and everywhere there was a clear correlation between these two things.

Within the framework of the sociocultural approach, the word "complex" is usually not used, the phenomenon is called the dichotomy of the Madonna and the harlot. Because the attitude towards women is not necessarily the result of childhood trauma. It is also the result of the imposition of standard gender roles.

At the same time, the more a man approves of the Madonna and harlot dichotomy, the more peculiar it is to him V. Klein, E. Kosman, R. Kahalon. Devaluation of Women’s Sexual Pleasure: Role of Relationship Context and Endorsement of the Madonna‑Whore Dichotomy / Sex Roles to deny a woman the right to sexual satisfaction. According to research, such a person also often believes that other men treat women with less respect and will not use condoms in case of sexual contact.

The dichotomy is often fueled throughout life. For example, in childhood, my father went to his mistress, so she is a harlot, and my mother is a holy woman, you should look for the same spouse for yourself. Or vice versa: the mother left the family, so you need to marry someone else, a "decent" one. A bright girl threw it — well, it's a whore because our hero himself is a good guy, so a decent one would have stayed.

At the same time, for a man, this means lower sexual satisfaction in a romantic union and, in turn, lower satisfaction with these relationships in general.

What to do with the Madonna and Harlot complex

Ideally, you should contact a specialist psychologist or even a psychoanalyst. Because a man has a long way to go:

  • Deal with your desires and feelings. What he is experiencing and why. What events could have caused this.
  • To realize that people are more difficult than just "bad" and "good".
  • Accept that women are also people and also complicated.
  • Start treating sex not as something dirty and sinful, but as a part of life.
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