Don Juanism  

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"Far from being a sign of strength, Don Juanism may indicate a lack of basic self-belief. The men who feel unable to assert themselves among men, do so among women. The unusual or talented man, who is still not unusual enough to make his mark as a creator, a thinker, a soldier, turns to sexual conquest to achieve self-respect. Among men of genuine talent, Don Juanism is frequently an early stage, before more serious work claims their energy.” Colin Wilson, The Origins of the Sexual Impulse. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1963, p. 42.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Don Juanism or Don Juan syndrome is a non-clinical term for the desire, in a man, to have sex with many different female partners due to his latent homosexuality or insecurity about his masculinity.

The name derives from Don Juan of opera and fiction, who seems in turn to have been patterned after the Spanish noble Don Juan Tenorio. The term satyriasis is sometimes used as a synonym for Don Juanism. The term has also been referred to as the male equivalent of nymphomania in women. Historian Carol Groneman has demonstrated that these terms no longer apply with any accuracy as psychological or legal categories of psychological disorder.

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that Don Juanism was an unconscious desire of a man to seek his mother in every woman he encountered. However, he didn't see the trait as entirely negative; Jung felt that positive aspects of Don Juanism included heroism, perseverance and strength of will. This aspect of the character is examined by Mozart and his librettist Da Ponte in their opera Don Giovanni, perhaps the best-known artistic work on this subject. To write their opera, Mozart and Da Ponte are known to have consulted with the famous libertine, Giacomo Casanova, the usual historic example of Don Juanism. Although not conclusively established, it is probable that Casanova attended the premiere of this opera, which was likely understood by the audience to be about himself. In a famous passage the philosopher Kierkegaard discusses Mozart's version of the Don Juan story. Albert Camus has also written on the subject.

Carl Jung argues that typical effects of the mother-complex on the son “are homosexuality and Don Juanism, and sometimes also impotence. In homosexuality, the son's entire heterosexuality is tied to the mother in an unconscious form; in Don Juanism, he unconsciously seeks his mother in every woman he meets....Because of the difference in sex, a son's mother-complex does not appear in pure form. This is the reason why in every masculine mother-complex, side by side with the mother archetype, a significant role is played by the image of the man's sexual counterpart, the anima.” --Jung, Carl. 1959. Symbols of Transformation. New York: Princeton University Press. p85.

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