Penis Envy


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Skip to main content Skip to table of contents. Contents Search. Penis Envy. Living reference work entry First Online: 26 April How to cite. Synonyms Castration anxiety ; Castration complex ; Masculinity complex.

Penis envy

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The infantile genital organization An interpolation into the theory of sexuality. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud: The ego and the id and other works, 19 — Google Scholar.


  • Penis Envy.
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  • Some psychical consequences of the anatomical distinction between the sexes. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, volume XIX — : The ego and the id and other works. Female sexuality.

    Criticisms of the Theory

    In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, volume XXI — : The future of an illusion, civilization and its discontents, and other works. Analysis terminable and interminable.


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    • In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, volume XXIII — : Moses and monotheism, an outline of psycho-analysis and other works. Horney, K. On the genesis of the castration complex in women. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 5 , 50— The flight from womanhood.

      International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 7, — He uses it again in On Narcissism in It constitutes the girl's castration complex whereas anxiety concerning the penis constitutes the boy's castration complex.

      Fun Facts about Sigmund Freud

      The castration complex leads to "masculine protest," a term invented by Adler and which he attached to ego instincts and not to sexual instincts. In The Sexual Theories of Children c , Freud says that the little girl would rather be a boy but then the accent is put, not on the situation of boys in general, but on the possession of the male sexual organ in itself.

      The girl reproaches her mother with not having given her one and turns away from her to take the father as a love object. Penis envy and the castration complex thus bring her into the Oedipus complex out of which, unlike the boy, she will never emerge cf.

      Sigmund Freud Had Penis Envy | Psychology Today New Zealand

      The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex , d. The desire for a penis is replaced by the desire for a child by the father. But, whereas the boy identifies with the rival and forbidding father and thus constitutes a solid superego, the girl does not manage to produce a superego of the same quality. The result is a series of feminine characteristics: the woman "displays a lesser sense of justice, a lesser inclination to submit herself to the great necessities of life," "she more often allows herself to be guided in her decisions by tender and hostile sentiments.

      Freud's position is linked to his phallocentrism and he failed to assess the degree to which it derived from the patriarchal culture in which he lived. He studied only the case of boys in depth and deducted from it, mutatis mutandis , conclusions concerning girls. He could not conceive of women except in negative terms: in order to become a woman, a man would have to renounce his penis. He was unable to conceive of women in a positive manner, as equipped with organs in which the man is lacking. He could conceive that a man might be afraid of women who want to take his penis from him.

      He could not conceive of men desiring femininity, maternity, or breasts. Women could have the fantasy of being no more than castrated men. Freud asserted that the castration of women was a reality that they had to accept. He thus forced them into a feeling of inferiority from which it is difficult to see a way out. Children of both sexes are subjected to trauma when they learn that, whether boy or girl, neither one is the totality of the human being. Each one relies on their peer group for self-valorization and to devalorize the other. It is in this more general framework that we must situate castration anxiety and penis envy.

      Penis envy does not consist in wanting to change sex but fits into the narcissistic continuity: the girl would like to have the narcissistic and social advantages linked with the possession of a penis, rather than the organ itself Horney, , especially if she has the experience of her father and mother putting more value on the male child.

      Observations and analyses drawn from analytical practice.

      Penis Envy and Freudian Psychosexual Development

      Some psychical consequences of the anatomical distinction between the sexes. SE ,

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