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Renik, O. (1992). A Case of Premenstrual Distress: Bisexual Determinants of a Woman's Fantasy of Damage to her Genital. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:195-210.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:195-210

A Case of Premenstrual Distress: Bisexual Determinants of a Woman's Fantasy of Damage to her Genital

Owen Renik, M.D.


Case material is used to illustrate specific clinical application of the concept of primary femininity. Some contemporary contributions to the psychoanalytic theory of female psychosexual development are presented as complementary with, rather than contradictory to, more familiar, longstanding formulations that emphasize phallic strivings in women. In the clinical example reported, a fantasy of genital damage underlay a woman's premenstrual distress. Aspirations and concerns related to both aspects of her fundamental bisexuality participated in symptom formation and had to be investigated in order to achieve symptom relief. As the analytic work unfolded, it could be seen that the patient's awareness of her feminine aims served to keep her masculine aims out of awareness, and vice versa.

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