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Eder, M.D. (1935). Sexual Aberrations: By Dr. Wilhelm Stekel. Translated by Dr. Samuel Parker. (John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd., London. Two volumes. Pp. ix. + 396. Pp. vi. + 355. Price 30 s. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:111.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:111

Sexual Aberrations: By Dr. Wilhelm Stekel. Translated by Dr. Samuel Parker. (John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd., London. Two volumes. Pp. ix. + 396. Pp. vi. + 355. Price 30 s. net.)

Review by:
M. D. Eder

These two volumes consist of some seventy cases of different fetishisms, including transvestitism, mostly analysed by Stekel. The analyses are, it would seem, rarely longer than three months—the case of transvestitism was concluded in thirty-three sessions.

Stekel sums up his conclusions as to fetishism in ten commandments (Vol. I., p. 37). He regards it as a complicated compulsion neurosis which also serves the purposes of ascetism. The fetish itself is a substitute for the whole person of an object; 'the complete possession of an object for the purpose of pleasure doubtless includes the genitals too' but the fetish might conceivably be a substitute for the mother. 'But is it really possible, ' he asks, 'that the shoe, the handkerchief, or the glove can replace the genital (of the mother)?' Earlier papers and cases of Freud are quoted, but no reference is made to his paper on fetishism, where he concludes that the fetish is a substitute for the mother's penis, which can be interpreted as the penis of the father in the mother. For Stekel the conflicts of the fetishist represent the conflicts of every civilized man, extremely magnified and distorted. The fetishist is an anarchist and yet a lover of society and social custom. This can be postulated of, a large number of persons, normal and abnormal, who are not fetishists.

Stekel does not seem to think it necessary to find anything specific that shall distinguish fetishism from other sexual oddities, and he has written two large volumes to say this. At the most, he finds in some cases a conditioned reflex.

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