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Bryan, D. (1922). A Note on the Tongue. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:481-482.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:481-482

A Note on the Tongue

Douglas Bryan

It is a well-known fact that certain organs of the human body are at times replaced both psychically and physically by other organs of the body, and the function assigned to the primary organ is more or less carried out by the substituted one. Instances of this substitution are replacement of the penis by the tongue and the vagina by the mouth.

The particular replacement on which I wish to make an observation refers to the tongue as a substitute for the penis.

The psychical substitution of the penis by the tongue is frequently found in dreams, phantasies, fairy tales, etc. Its use as a symbol is derived from certain of its characteristics which it has in common with the penis, for example, both are elongated organs usually flaccid but which become lengthened and stiffened on protrusion, in colour and texture there are distinct similarities, and power of movement, moistness and slipperyness are common to both. This utilisation of the tongue as a symbol of the penis is not usually recognised consciously, and no term is applied to it voluntarily that shows that its definite connection with the penis is consciously appreciated.

On the other hand in those cases where the tongue is used as an obvious physical substitute for the penis the substitution is fully conscious. The well-known example of this is cunnilingus; here the tongue is applied directly to the female sex organs. Although the tongue in this case is used as a direct substitute for the penis I had never seen or heard it stated that the person consciously perceived any lingual sensations analogous to penile ones under like conditions.

A short time ago, however, I came across a case which has caused me to amend the above statement.

A man whose main source of sexual gratification is obtained by the practice of cunnilingus, and that by preference on girls from fourteen to sixteen years of age, perceives the physical feeling of erection in his tongue analogous to erection of the penis.

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