Don Juanism: A Peek Into The World Of Womanizers

October 30, 2017

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Womanizing is prevalent in my immediate microsystem. Several of my family members, friends, and co-workers have succumb to temptation. How many of you can utter the same sentiment? I know I am not the only one!

In the span of my crucial teenage years, I began to accept that womanizing is somewhat of a norm. I was young and impressionable. Further exposure to a diverse macrosystem enlightened my path to the complexities of casual and polygamous relationships. My innate exposure to this type of lifestyle made me curious about the possible roots of male sexual promiscuity.

As I was examining a particular case, I vividly recalled the riveting lecture given by my undergraduate professor. He stressed that some men repress their homosexual tendencies by participating in revolving sexual conquests with the opposite gender. He introduced it as the "Don Juan Syndrome" or Don Juanism. It is one of the possible explanations behind the actions of womanizers.

Don Juanism was derived from the character in the play by Spanish dramatist Tirso de Molina. By its medical definition, Don Juanism is a "male paraphilia in which insecurity about masculinity and/or latent homosexuality is masked by multiple sexual liaisons with different female partners." All these interactions are fulfilled without emotional and financial commitments. Simply put, it is a way to deal with the inner conflicts surrounding gender identification.


Notable Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that Don Juanism was driven by a man's unconscious desire to seek the likelihood of his mother. He does this with every woman that he encountered. Interestingly, possessing this so-called trait was not entirely negative for him.

On the other hand, Psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel highlighted that Don Juanism was associated to the "quest for narcissistic supply". Men were compelled to flee from one achievement to another in an unconscious and unceasing quest to overcome a repressed sense of guilt. 

Where might this guilt come from? Dr. Bruce Kugler, a contemporary Clinical Psychologist, enumerated various scenarios that a womanizer may have experienced in his childhood. 

Scenario #1: A boy is completely abandoned by his mother.
Scenario #2: A boy witnessed his father being unfaithful to his spouse or partner.
Scenario #3: A boy observed that his father or father figure abused (e.g., physical abuse or emotional exploitation) his mother or mother figure.

Dr. Kugler believes that there are many scenarios whereby a boy can acquire severe conflicts that affects gender identification, general sexuality, and so on. Experiencing these significant scenarios ignites shame and guilt over "the responsibility for what they experienced with mothering figures".

For me, you must holistically absorb the dynamic origins of Don Juanism to understand its nature better.


In 1989, Jane Carpineto released a book review which located the roots of the Don Juan Syndrome. Carpineto focused on Don Juan's dysfunctional family situation and his fragile ego. The dysfunction in the family may revolve a philandering father, a family with difficulty to express intimacy, a childhood as "mama's boy", and so on. Let us move on to Don Juan's seemingly sensitive ego.

"Adept at sniffing out partners and sweeping them off their feet, they are unable to endure an intimate one-on-one-relationship for fear their feet of clay will show."

To Carpineto, womanizers rarely undergo reform. Partners are encouraged to establish a plan to end the unhealthy relationship or to seek professional help.

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Without posing judgement on the actions of male promiscuity and the issues of homosexuality, may this article widen your knowledge on Don Juanism. This is a sole explanation for the core of womanizers. Please explore other theories to get a comprehensive view of a particular person. 

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