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Brierley, M. (1932). Some Problems of Integration in Women. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 13:433-448.

(1932). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 13:433-448

Some Problems of Integration in Women

Marjorie Brierley

The opinion is now widely held among analysts that it is difficult for women to achieve a successful integration of their psychic forces on account of certain special inter-related features in their libido and ego development. In relation to libido development it is said that a woman has a double task to perform in order to attain full femininity. She has not only to change the method and aim of gratification, to make the switch-over from clitoral to vaginal primacy: she has further to exchange her original love object, the mother, for an object belonging to the opposite sex, the father (3), (4), (7), (11), (12). At once we come up against the fact that even such matters of common knowledge as these must be accepted only with reservation. As Douglas Bryan has pointed out (2), the transference from clitoris to vagina is by no means absolute. There are many women in whom clitoral stimulation is a necessary precondition to vaginal orgasm. If then we find a considerable range of clitoral activity compatible with, or even necessary to, vaginal normality, perhaps we should do better to speak of normality as dependent upon a particular kind of co-ordination between the two functions rather than on a supplanting of one by the other. The time at which the vagina becomes cathected is a moot point. It used to be taken for granted that this occurred only after puberty (Ferenczi described the important part played by menstruation in preparing the organ for its adult functions (5)), but several observers, including Melanie Klein and Josine Müller, now maintain that vaginal activity begins much earlier.

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