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Weissman, P. (1964). Psychosexual Development in a Case of Neurotic Virginity and Old Maidenhood. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:110-120.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:110-120

Psychosexual Development in a Case of Neurotic Virginity and Old Maidenhood

Philip Weissman


Historically, the psychosexual development of the female was regarded as similar to that of the male and was elaborated by Freud in the Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, in 1905. Not until twenty years later did Freud begin what may be considered his three contributions to the psychosexual development in the female only. The original three Contributions have remained the authoritative formulations on the development of boys, and the others are Freud's last scientific contributions on the psychosexual development of girls. The three contributions on female development began with 'The Passing of the Oedipus Complex (1924), then 'Some Psychological Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction Between the Sexes (1925), and his third paper, 'Female Sexuality' (1931). These findings were summed up in his New Introductory Lecture on 'The Psychology of Women' (1932).

The new formulations in these papers called for a revision and reinterpretation in the clinical, theoretical, and technical areas of established knowledge. In the technical area, the discovery of a long preoedipal phase in the female led to the conclusion that male analysts were as suitable as females to handle the preoedipal transference to the mother, and to the further conclusion that the fixation on the male analyst may originate from an equally strong fixation on the mother during the preoedipal period of development. The outstanding revisions that followed in the theoretical area were the differences in the significance of the castration complex between the male and the female.

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