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Dickes, R. (1963). Fetishistic Behavior—A Contribution to its Complex Development and Significance. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:303-330.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:303-330

Fetishistic Behavior—A Contribution to its Complex Development and Significance

Robert Dickes, M.D.

… ideas are not the foundation of science, upon which everything rests; that foundation is observation alone.—FREUD (12)

FREUD, IN ELUCIDATING the significance of the fetish (17), centered his main interest on the phallic period and indicated that the fetish represented the female phallus. This conclusion narrows the meaning of the fetish to an imaginary organ and, except for the one sentence concerning the clitoris, omits the consideration of other anatomical parts and their possible genetic contributions to the final fetish. Freud also omitted consideration of precursors of the final object chosen by the fetishist, and did not write concerning the role of the parent in establishing both the fetish itself and the emotional climate necessary for its development.

The analysis of four patients, in whom varying degrees of fetishistic behavior were noted, has permitted me to obtain clinical data which furnish information concerning inanimate objects which are precursors to fetishes. This material also threw light on the relationship of the fetish to body parts other than the fantasied female phallus, and on the role of the parent in fetish formation.

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