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Hermann, I. (1939). A Supplement to the Castration Complex: The Sphere of Phantasies Relating to the Os Priapi. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 20:322-329.

(1939). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 20:322-329

A Supplement to the Castration Complex: The Sphere of Phantasies Relating to the Os Priapi

Imre Hermann

The psycho-analytical basis of the castration complex has been approached from different angles. One of the starting-points of inquiry is the anatomical difference between the two sexes and the experiences connected with the observation of those differences. Another tendency tries to clear up the part played by the threats—real or imagined—connected with masturbation or brought about by the Oedipus situation. A third path of inquiry seeks to find models for the castrationpattern (the loss of fæces, breast or umbilical cord, or of the libidinal objectfather or mother). From a biological point of view it is perhaps this last way of probing into the castration complex which reveals most. I have myself contributed to the discovery of these models in my studies of comparative psychology.

Experiences gathered in the last few years lead me now to elaborate a fourth path of inquiry, by trying to trace the castration complex to the sexual organ of man itself.

First I shall introduce some examples of the material on which my assumption is based, then I shall endeavour to give a general formulation of that assumption, and finally the phenomena will be set alongside the data of comparative biology and anthropology.

The associations produced by one of my male patients were for several sessions connected with bones (e.g. the gravestone of his mother, work with calcium, etc.). They were also connected with memories of amputations and artificial limbs, and led to a castration-phamasy (originally produced in his puberty) which was intended to ward off erection, namely to the idea of a bleeding penis or the alarming thought of having to place his penis on the tram-lines in the same way as coins are sometimes placed there by children. Another subject, closely interconnected with the former, was that of rigdity and tension. Ultimately one meaning of the patient's neurotic symptom of stammering was revealed: instead of rigidity of the penis, which had been fended off, rigidity was mechanized in a different sphere.

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