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Weich, M.J. (1989). The Fetishistic Use of Speech. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:245-253.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:245-253

The Fetishistic Use of Speech

Martin J. Weich


The question which has been addressed in this paper is that of how broad or narrow our definition of fetishism should be. Can speech and words be included in the category of fetishistic phenomena?

A detailed clinical case has been presented of an obscene telephone perversion in which obscene words, seen, heard and spoken, were utilized to deal with conflicts involving dread of the sight of the 'castrated' female genital and to ward off intense castration anxiety by supporting the illusion of a female phallus. The clinical observations have been utilized to illustrate the conclusion that although fetishism most often employs concrete objects for the defensive purposes involved, there are other instances in which abstract words and speech can be used concretely in place of or in addition to the more familiar concrete items. A brief discussion has been made of certain aspects of language development that are pertinent in this regard.

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