Freud and the sex drive

I was thinking about Freud and his view that underlying all our behavior is the fundamental drive of the sexual instinct. So everything we do is done in the service of the libido. I’ve always thought of this is ridiculous. I’m a computer programmer. I find it utterly absurd to think that the reason I spent $20,000 and 4 long years in university, and then plugged myself into the system where I work 8 hours a day, 5 days of the week, and will go on doing so for the rest of my life, is because I’m horny. But because I can’t just have sex whenever and wherever I want, with whomever I want, I’m forced to substitute this itch by becoming a computer programmer (maybe unconsciously I feel that I can impress the ladies with my geeky programming skills).

But then a whole different perspective on Freud’s idea occurred to me, and it doesn’t seem so far fetched. Tell me what you think.

By saying “everything we do is done in the service of the libido”, Freud may not have intended for this to be taken as “sex is what’s driving us to do what we do”; perhaps the “service” that all our behavior and other (non-sexual) drives are in is simply survival, and that the sexual drive is simply the most important for this goal. Also, if we take into consideration that “survival” is not really survival of the individual, but the species as a whole, then we see how all these drives fall into place, the sexual drive taking the lead roll.

How so? Well, in order for a species to ensure its survival, it must reproduce. That’s the most important thing. Therefore, the sexual drive is the most important of the drives. All other drives are, if not in the service of the sexual drive, then in the service of this overall goal. The hunger drive, although certainly needed for our survival as individuals, is only important because it keeps us going until the day we reproduce. Same with drinking, sleeping, safety and comfort, even breathing. Biologists know that once an individual reproduces, there is no reason for that individual to go on surviving, and indeed in nature this is often the way it works. In other words, what Freud might have meant by saying that our sexual drive is our “most basic” drive, and that all other drives are in its service, is simply that he was appealing to the service and the roll nature has allocated to these drives vis-Ã -vis the theory of evolution - not that when we eat we really want to have sex.

This makes sense because he talks about a life drive and a death drive. The life drive, obviously, is the sexual drive, and the death drive is its counterpart. It is its counterpart because just as much as we are driven to promote the life of our own species, we are driven, in this competitive game of survival, to impede the survival of other species. That is, just as much as we want to survive, we want our competition not to survive. It would make sense, therefore, that evolution bestowed us with a drive for the continuation of the species (sexuality) and for the destruction of other species (aggression). All other drives are only important if they make it easier for these primary drives to be satisfied.

I like Freud, but he goes a bit overboard with the sexual stuff. It’s only somewhat relivant, and not to the extant in wich he has thought.

I’m not sure that you’ve got it quite right Gib. The libido is a sort of basic animalistic instinct. The aim of a rational human being should be the sublimation of this instinct.
Sexual activity is dissipation of you’re energy a complete no-brainer.
You’re right in that it is linked to the survival of the species, but sex can quickly become a vice and a person, man or woman, no more than a slave of their passions. This is what is meant by the statement; “truth will set you free,” from your passions.
It involves the question of identity, who are you, what you aspire to be.

There should be more to life than just survival, far more than the satisfaction of one’s basic needs, and the contentment of a dreary life, doing the same things over and over as millions do. A sub-man that achieves nothing because he cannot control his passions.