Psychologcal Analysis of Florentino Ariza’s  Sexuality Problem Seen in the Novel Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

There are some sexual aspects in this novel. First, is the sexual relation of marriage couple and unmarriage. The marriage couple is represented by Fermina Daza and Urbino meanwhile unmarriage sex is done by Florentino. Fermina Daza done her first intercourse with dr. Urbino in their first night of honeymoon. It is a common thing of a marriage couple who do sex in their first night. Meanwhile the interesting aspect that will be analyzed here is the sexual relationship of another character, Florentino. He is the protagonist in this novel who uses sex as an important aspect in his life.

The plot makes this story quite interesting because it changes Florentino’s character development to be a new character that far different from the beginning of his life. From an innocent man to be a person who gets sexual addiction. There are several terms that is used to describe human’s sexual problems like hypersexuality, promiscuity, nymphomania, satyriasis, Don Juanism, paraphilia, sexual deviance, hypereroticism, hyperlibido, hyperphilia, hyperaesthesia, and perversion (Finlayson et al. 2001). The contemporary formulation of addiction describes a maladaptive pattern of substance use and impaired control over such behavior with associated adverse consequences (Potenza, 2006). Moreover, psychological dependence has been emphasized and describes intense craving, compulsive behavior directed toward obtaining the substance, and loss of control (Lubman, Yücel, & Pantelis, 2004).

The first time he met his first love, Fermina Daza was when he delivered a telegram to Fermina’s father, Lorenzo Daza. Since the day, he could not stop to think about her. He was a romantic person who views love as something beautiful, lasted forever and unbreakable. When a man falling in love, they rather to follow his heart than his logic. As so Florentino Ariza, he follows his emotion and heart than follows his logic.  His love to her caused him insane. He was thinking of her anytime, everyday and everywhere as he too obsessed her.

When Lorenzo Daza took Fermina away to separate her from Florentino, Florentino felt so sad as a broken man. Fermina’s father took her away to make his daughter forget about her love to Florentino. He did not agree with their relationship because the different social status between Fermina and Florentino. Then when dr. Urbino came to their life, he assumed that Urbino was a perfect match for his daughter.

 As the time went by, Fermina started to realize that it was impossible to continue their relationship. She could not stand against his father, and the journey makes her capable to forget Florentino. When finally she came back to his father old house, she told Florentino that she did not have any feeling anymore. The rejection hit Florentino’s heart. In the same time, there was Urbino who married her. He was a popular man that was educated in Europe and came from high class society. The impact of her rejection and Fermina’s marriage made Florentino be an introvert.

To see his son in a bad brokenhearted, Florentino’s mother sent him into a journey to make him forget about Fermina. The journey that was arranged by his mother did not make Florentino forgot her but it made him thinking more and more of Fermina,. He broke his vow to keep his virginity when a mysterious woman seized him into her cabin and then raped him. Florentino realized that he was enjoying his first experience intercourse very much. Coleman (1986) stated that compulsive sex is like a “fix” and serves to anesthetize feelings of pain, inadequacy, low self-esteem, social and interpersonal phobias, isolation, and loneliness. It helped him to forget his hurted feeling of Fermina Daza from his mind. His first sexual experince became a start point to his next adventure. Since the day, he found a moment to push off his wound. The sexuality in his life is to be a painkiller. Similarities between neurological substrates of addiction (e.g., dopaminergic dysregulation) and sexual appetitive behavior have been identified to support the inclusion of sexual activity as a behavioral manifestation of addiction (Keane, 2004). While neurological processes underlying human sexual behavior are still relatively unexplored, it is generally acknowledged that androgenic hormones, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and serotonin, play a role in sexually appetitive behavior (Kafka, 2003).

A changing in woman’s mind can be a big disaster to a man. In my opinion, Fermina Daza is the antagonist of this story. She is kind but she has broken a heart of a man. Florentino who considers her as his first and true love must be a victim of her feeling. When Fermina finally said to him that he must forget her, it ruins Florentino’s heart. Then when Fermina is married by Dr. Urbino, it breaks his heart more and more.

Sex in this novel is used to be a painkiller of the Florentino’s heart. He did it with so many women that wanted to do with him. He had sex with not only a virgin or whore but also married woman. His deed sometimes made the woman that had intercourse with him got into the trouble. He does the intercourse without include love inside. He just do it not because of love but as a painkiller and to put aside Fermina from his mind. He has a special book that contains the list of the woman that has slept with him. There are six hundred twenty two list of woman. about fifty years, seven months and eleven days is the day that he had spent to wait Fermina.

            To analyze the problem of Florentino, as we can see him from the psychoanalytic point of view where Sigmund Freud divided the personality into three parts ; the id, ego and superego. The id is the aspect of personality that is driven by internal and basic drives and needs. These are typically instinctual, such as hunger, thirst, and the drive for sex, or libido. The id aspect of Florentino is about his high libido to seek the pleasure of sex needed. The first time sex experience must give him an addict to try more and more. It drives him to look for the pleasure from intercourse relation. As the theory that said that id is about the pleasure principle to avoid pain and get the pleasure, what he need is to take the pleasure itself.

The ego is driven by reality principle. It works to make id and superego can run balance. In order to balance these, it works to achieve the id’s drive in the most realistic ways. It seeks to rationalize the id’s instinct and please the drives that will benefit the individual in the long term. It helps separate what is real, and realistic of our drives as well as being realistic about the standards that the superego sets for the individual. The ego that is in his soul rather follow his instinct to take the benefit for himself as the painkiller.

Meanwhile, the superego is driven by morality principle. It acts in connection with the morality of higher thought and action. Instead of instinctively acting like the id, the superego works to act in socially acceptable ways. It employs morality, judging our sense of wrong and right and using guilt to encourage socially acceptable behavior (Freud, 1937). In the day the woman that is killed by his husband, Florentino comes to her funeral. It is driven by the morality principle where he respects her although his deed (having relationship with the married woman) can not consider as a high morality.  

Sigmund Freud stated that psychic energy is generated by libido. It released through a special thing called drives that are divided into two components: biological need and psychological need. Here in the Florentino’s case, the biological need is a sex desire that is naturally mature man’s need and a psychological desires to see the woman and do sex with her and also to put aside his pain of love. When the two things happened, it form a drive to do sex with woman that he face to fulfill the needed by the psychic energy.

            Florentino’s first experience is with the woman in the ships’s desk. It gives great experience to him that make him addict with sex. Second trial is when he is having sexual relationship with the widow. It is arranged by his mother, shows that sex is legally used in the society where his mother is allowed him to hook the woman. Her mom arranges it because he sees his son’s feeling is not really good enough after being kicked by Fermina. As a good mom, she wants to make her son live normal again and make him forget the bad story between him and Fermina. Then she do it everywhere and anytime he has a chance to do that no matter in the house, public space, in the ship or in the backyard. In the public space seems make him afraid because the woman that is hooked by him is too noisy. Here shows that he want to keep his own pleasure just for him only and also he does not want to people outside know his deed.

Florentino makes the woman interest with him to his mind and calm character. He knew well how to attract and treat the woman’s feeling. In the night of the poetry announcement, a sad woman falls into his hug because he can treat the woman to calm her mind. She feels happy because Florentino gives her sattisfaction not only in sex but for her feeling. What she is looking for is not about the sex but a well treatment for her sad feeling after being rejected in the poetry night anouncement where she is not the winner.

A sex compultion of Florentino has tendecy that he will hurt his people near him. Just take the example, the woman that has husband. He made a big mistake when he write a sentence in her belly. After the woman coming back to his husband, she dead because his husband knew she had affair with any other man. Fortunately her husband does not know that the man who cheated with his wife is Florentino. His love experience does not stop until he is old. For the whole life, he is waiting for Fermina to accept his love. He feels happy when Urbino finally died because that is the time to come to Fermina.

In conclusion, a sex addiction might be an effect from the experience of the person in the past. Here, the bad experience of Florentino that being rejected by his first love is damage his mind and feeling. There is no cure except he finds the way himself by waiting for her until the woman’s husband die and he can owns her although they are in old age. He never grabs Fermina from Urbino because he knows it will be hurt her. Thus he rather to wait her whenever she wants to take her love back. Florentino is too obsessed by the woman she loves and it makes him suffered so long by the feeling itself.

References :

Coleman, E. (1990). The Obsessive–Compulsive Model for Describing Compulsive Sexual

Condition Addiction, 101 (suppl. 1), 142-151.

Freud, A. (1937). The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, London: Hogarth Press and

Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Revised edition: 1966 (US), 1968 (UK)

Journal of Chemical Dependency Treatment, 1, 189-204.

Finlayson, A. J. R., Sealy, J., & Martin, P. R. (2001). The Differential Diagnosis of Problematic

Hypersexuality. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 8, 241-251.

Keane, H. (2004). Disorders of desire: Addiction and problems of intimacy. Journal of

Medical Humanities, 25, 189-204.

Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J. H., Michael, R. T., & Michaels, S. 1994. The Social Organization of

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. 1985. Love in the Time of Cholera. Colombia: Oveja Negra.

Potenza, M. N. (2006). Should Addictive Disorders Include Non-Substance-Related

Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago.


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