According to Freud, all psychic activity is regulated by two principles:
- pleasure principle: this principle aims at the fulfillment of desires, the achievement of pleasures, avoiding displeasure; this is the reason why sexual impulses exist, in fact this principle is basically realized through the body;
- principle of reality: this principle implies the awareness by the individual of the complexity of the reality with which the individual must deal and the renunciation of the claim of immediate fulfillment of desires; these drives are dominated by the ego and they too tend towards pleasure, but do not try at all costs to avoid unpleasantness; depriving oneself of immediate satisfaction can be inevitable, postponing the achievement of pleasure, renouncing it altogether or enduring a bit of sorrow (civilization is necessary but causes human suffering).
The sexual drives, however, do not accept being regulated by the reality principle. When a man finds himself living within a society, those sexual impulses that are unacceptable are removed from the ego through the process of repression, a process through which the ego defends itself from sexual impulses.
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