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Gilmore, K. (1998). Cloacal Anxiety in Female Development. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):443-470.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):443-470

Cloacal Anxiety in Female Development

Karen Gilmore

Contemporary psychoanalytic theory about feminine genital anxieties has shifted our focus away from some essential developmental realities of the little girl prior to the oedipal phase. Anal phase experience has recently been reemphasized as contributing significantly to the girl's developing body image, her mastery modes, and her psychological experience of gender. This paper proposes that associated with this phase is a specific anxiety described as the girl's fear that her genital is dirty, messy, and repellent to the love object, and that her sexuality is out of control and dangerously explosive. This is an important anxiety for the girl, a specific feminine version of anxiety around loss of love and approval. It derives from her bodily experience and is typically incorporated into the feminine genital anxieties of the oedipal period.

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