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Richards, A.K. (1992). The Influence of Sphincter Control and Genital Sensation on Body Image and Gender Identity in Women. Psychoanal Q., 61:331-351.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:331-351

The Influence of Sphincter Control and Genital Sensation on Body Image and Gender Identity in Women

Arlene Kramer Richards

ABSTRACT

The development of one aspect of feeling female is hypothesized to account for certain phenomena in the treatment of young women patients. Fear of loss of genital pleasure experienced as contractions of the anal and genital-urinary sphincters is seen as the central issue in conflicts manifested in genital, oral, and anal modalities. It is suggested that the female's awareness of her genital arises from the generalization of sphincter sensation in the little girl, which is then represented in the body image. The body image is postulated as a link between genital pleasure and the valuing of femininity.

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