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Galenson, E. Vogel, S. Blau, S. Roiphe, H. (1975). Disturbance in Sexual Identity Beginning at 18 Months of Age. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 2:389-397.

(1975). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 2:389-397

Disturbance in Sexual Identity Beginning at 18 Months of Age

E. Galenson, S. Vogel, S. Blau and H. Roiphe


In an infant boy whose early relationship with his mother was overly intense and highly ambivalent, premature genital arousal was present from his fifth month onward. Separation from his mother and injury to the mouth at the end of the first year, combined with the mother's new pregnancy, intensified the hostile aggression and interfered with both self and object schematization. Inanimate objects were utilized in order to deal with the resultant anxiety.

With the awareness of urinary and anal functioning and then awareness of the genital difference came overwhelming fears of body disintegration and object loss. The use of a new group of objects then emerged, which seemed to function as infantile fetishes, that is, to bolster the wavering sense of both body integrity and the phallus. Further traumata led to unusually intense attempts to indentify with the withdrawing mother as well as increasing involvement in his festishistic and fantasy involvement. Confusion in sexual identity and disturbance in his sense of reality ensued.

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