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(1966). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLV, 1964: A Contribution to the Study of Gender Identity. Robert J. Stoller. Pp. 220-226.. Psychoanal Q., 35:457-458.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLV, 1964: A Contribution to the Study of Gender Identity. Robert J. Stoller. Pp. 220-226.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 35:457-458

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLV, 1964: A Contribution to the Study of Gender Identity. Robert J. Stoller. Pp. 220-226.

A Case of Ophidiophilia: A Clinical Contribution to Snake Symbolism, and a Supplement to 'Psychoanalytic Study of Ulcerative Colitis in Children'. Melitta Sperling. Pp. 227-233.

Comment on Dr. M. Sperling's and Dr. Stoller's Papers. Herman M. Serota. Pp. 234-236.

Besides the contributions of external genitalia and infant-parent relationships to gender identity there is a third factor, a usually silent, congenital, perhaps inherited biological force toward maleness or femaleness. Stoller presents two cases to show this force with special clarity. One, a neurotic child, was brought up under the assumption he was a girl until an examination at age fourteen revealed he was chromosomally a normal male with fully erectile penis of clitoral size, hypospadias, bilateral cryptorchidism, bifid scrotum, and normal prostate. Upon learning this, the boy changed to boy's dress, his neurosis disappeared, and he was still living a normal boy's life with his family and peers in a different community two years after the examination was made. The second, a case of male external genitalia but female, secondary sex characteristics after puberty,

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and fantasies of being a female from age three until age seventeen when, after increasing withdrawal, he gave up the struggle and became outwardly a female completely undetected by either sex. Examination of the testes after surgical removal along with the penis at age twenty (an artificial vagina was created) revealed the testes had produced large excesses of estrogen since puberty.

A boy treated successfully by Sperling at age seven for ulcerative colitis returned at age twenty-two for three and one-half years' further analysis. Among his presenting difficulties were nightmares involving snakes. At age fourteen when other boys were becoming interested in girls, he had become fond of snakes to the exclusion of both boy and girl relationships. Analysis of dreams and fantasies involving snakes revealed them to have bisexual meaning and involve conflict from all levels of instinctual development. During analysis the snakes were replaced by people and a period of incestuous dreams ensued. The patient eventually became symptom-free, married, and was doing well in all areas two years after completion of treatment.

Serota thinks that Sperling's case provides an unusual opportunity to observe efforts at ego mastery of internal trauma, first through colitis and later through a hobby that was actually a perversion. In both Sperling's and Stoller's cases the ego is confronted with the impact of devastating physical factors and must use whatever devices are available for an attempt at mastery. Stoller's cases, however, leave much unexplained psychologically which, if known, might not require the postulation of a special biological force.

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Article Citation

(1966). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XLV, 1964. Psychoanal. Q., 35:457-458

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