Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To use the Information icon…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The Information icon (an i in a circle) will give you valuable information about PEP Web data and features. You can find it besides a PEP Web feature and the author’s name in every journal article. Simply move the mouse pointer over the icon and click on it for the information to appear.

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

Heiman, M. (1968). Discussion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 16:406-416.

(1968). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 16:406-416


Marcel Heiman, M.D.

Sherfey's paper on "female sexuality" (3) encompasses a wide and diverse territory. I shall select for my comments that area of her paper which is of particular interest to me, i.e., her interpretations of recent findings in embryology.

I shall begin with a number of Sherfey's statements which will give us a good picture of her views: "The early embryo is not undifferentiated: 'it' is a female." Until the influence of the sex genes is brought to bear (fifth to sixth week of fetal life), "all embryos are morphologically females." Therefore, "we can no longer refer to the 'undifferentiated' or 'bisexual' phase of initial embryonic existence" (p. 43).

Since, according to Sherfey, the early embryo is a female, "Female development pursues a straight course," while "male development 'can be considered as a deviation from the basic female pattern'" (p. 49).

"Therefore [Sherfey states] the primacy of the embryonic female morphology forces us to reverse long-held concepts on the nature of sexual differentiation. Embryologically speaking, it is correct to say that the penis is an exaggerated clitoris, the scrotum is derived from the labia majora, the original libido is feminine, etc… For all mammals, modern embryology calls for an Adamout-of-Eve myth" (p. 50).

[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 © 2020, 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.