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Lasky, R. (2000). Body Ego and the Preodipal Roots of Feminine Gender Identity. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 48(4):1381-1412.

(2000). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 48(4):1381-1412

Femine Gender Identity

Body Ego and the Preodipal Roots of Feminine Gender Identity

Richard Lasky

Traditionally, visual cues (that is, seeing the difference between one's own genitals and those of the opposite sex) and the fantasies that they prompt were thought to be the central determinants in the organization of gender identity. More recently attention has been focused on mother-infant interaction patterns, on the construction of the body itself, on its kinesthetic sensations, and on the fantasies that these evoke. These matters are now thought to be equal in importance to the traditional considerations. The resulting concept of a core gender identity has suggested the possibility of various forms of preoedipal genital anxiety. This paper discusses how two experiences common to childhood as well as adulthood—the tumescence of erectile tissue and the involuntary vaginal secretions of sexual arousal—may contribute to the organization of feminine gender identity. Case material, including a close examination of an analytic hour, is presented to show how this process may manifest itself in adult neurotic conflict.

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