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Davison, C. (1943). Intrapsychic Factors in the Choice of a Sexual Object. Psychoanal Q., 12:217-222.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:217-222

Intrapsychic Factors in the Choice of a Sexual Object

Charles Davison


An intensely hostile anal-sadistic fixation to his mother led to a homosexual regression and the development of an obsessional neurosis and increasing anxiety following the death of his father. To escape necrophilic fantasies about his mother, and mounting (feminine) homosexual strivings, he sought, as a compromise, to form an attachment to a woman with a crippled foot, a tendency manifested in adolescence by brief association with two girls who had physical deformities. The deformed foot, by condensation, satisfied his hostility towards the depreciated (castrated) woman, but represented also the woman's penis. This relationship intensified his own feeling of inferiority, and castration anxiety. He was identified with the castrated woman whose castration he strove to deny. After witnessing, and probably participating in, some homosexual activities in childhood, his mother had threatened him with insanity if he indulged in any sexual activity. The conflict which led to the neurotic choice of object was further intensified by a marked increase of ambivalence and anxiety. The working through of this conflict in analysis and the abandonment of the neurotic choice of a sexual object led to a resolution of this conflict.

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