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Bychowski, G. (1963). Frigidity and Object Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:57-62.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:57-62

Frigidity and Object Relationship

Gustav Bychowski

In past psycho-analytic explorations of the problem of frigidity, stress was put mostly on oedipal factors and the so-called castration complex. In looking back on my own contributions, I am aware that I, too, was mostly concerned with these points. To be sure, at that time, we lacked important tools and concepts to allow us to see frigidity in the broader aspects as an expression of a disturbance in object relationship. This became possible owing to our knowledge of the early development of the ego and the early stages of object or pre-object relationships. Our deeper insight into the pre-oedipal constellation proved of particular significance here.

Here I purpose to deal especially with what might be called objectal and ego aspects of frigidity. Moreover, as we shall see, this point of view will force us to see frigidity in a broader clinical perspective.

Former studies and observations of the oedipal or, speaking more generally, of the incestuous fixation, encompassed clinically patients who could be considered as hysterical. On the other hand, in cases with prevailing castration complex and penis envy, the clinical picture was related rather to the obsessive-compulsive structure.

From the point of view of object-relationships, we might say that in the former group the object remains incestuous; in the latter the total object, though also incestuous, was largely replaced by a partial object, namely, the phallus. In both groups of patients orgastic experience had been prevented by specific libidinal and object relations which lead to clitoral hypercathexis and vaginal anaesthesia.

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