NARCISSISM: Self-love. Ideally, the libido directs its energies to objects ("object-libido"), including eventually one's love-object. However, the libido can also attach itself to the ego ("ego-libido") to the exclusion of external object-cathexes. This situation leads, according to Freud, to narcissistic behavior and to narcissistic neuroses such as megalomania. Lacan makes narcissism an even more central aspect of the human psyche, aligning it with what he terms the "imaginary order," one of the three major structures of the psyche (along with the Real and the symbolic order). Lacan suggests that, whereas the zero form of sexuality for animals is copulation, the zero form of sexuality for humans is masturbation. The act of sex for humans is so much caught up in our fantasies (our idealized images of both ourselves and our sexual partners) that it is ultimately narcissistic. As Lacan puts it, "That's what love is. It's one's own ego that one loves in love, one's own ego made real on the imaginary level" (Freud's Papers 142).
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