Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To view citations for the most cited journals…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Statistics of the number of citations for the Most Cited Journal Articles on PEP Web can be reviewed by clicking on the “See full statistics…” link located at the end of the Most Cited Journal Articles list in the PEP tab.


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Devereux, G. (1965-66). The Displacement of Modesty from Pubis to Face. Psychoanal. Rev., 52D(4):51-59.

(1965-66). Psychoanalytic Review, 52D(4):51-59

The Displacement of Modesty from Pubis to Face

George Devereux, Ph.D.


The importance of the process whereby one part of the body is made to symbolize another part of the body is recognized both in psychoanalysis and in psychosomatic medicine. Such symbolic equations, and the substitutions which functionally implement them, have been studied by many experts. Nonetheless, relatively little is known about their actual genesis and about their first overt behavioral implementation, in actions which often resemble defensive improvisations in a situation of stress.

The purpose of this paper is to describe what was probably the first appearance, on the behavioral level, of the symbolic equation: face = vulva, in a woman patient undergoing a routine pelvic examination, as part of a general physical examination, for which she presented herself because of a variety of (largely psychosomatic) complaints.

Case History

External Conditions

It is one of the author's duties to observe how selected fourth-year medical students (assigned to the Comprehensive Medical Care outpatient clinic of Temple University School of Medicine) examine new patients, and to study the interaction between them and their patients. The observations about to be reported were made while a medical student was performing a pelvic (vaginal and rectal) examination on a patient.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.