The Freudian approach has always taken as its starting point the outward signs—sometimes extremely severe ones—of mental pathology in human beings in order to raise fundamental questions about mental life in general, to set up models of its normal functioning, and to put forward hypotheses concerning how it comes about in living organisms. The paradoxes of masochism and the challenges that they represent for the pleasure principle, the guardian of our life, led Freud to envisage primary masochism as a process of metabolisation and of transformation that takes place in the encounter between a tendency towards inertia that rules over the organic world and a force of vital energy, the libido, which can survive only if it finds a way in which to oppose “the intended course of life” (Freud, 1924c, p. 160).