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Rado, S. (1933). Fear of Castration in Women. Psychoanal Q., 2:425-475.

(1933). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2:425-475

Fear of Castration in Women

Sandor Rado


The expression, "castration complex", which has achieved a certain amount of popularity, was coined by psychoanalysis. At first its application was limited to the male sex, and it was used as the generic designation of an important group of manifestations, which psychoanalysis had discovered in the psychic life of men. The insight obtained from the study of men sensitized the analyst in his observation of women, and it was soon evident that the new term could be applied profitably in female psychology as well. Abundant material justifying the expansion of the term was ably presented and summarized in 1921 by Abraham in a classic study of the castration complex of women, and requires no repetition here. The manifestations in question were ideas and fantasies, attended by strong emotions, dealing with the possession or lack of a penis, the injury involved in being a woman, the desire to be a man, active and passive mutilative experiences, etc. The agreement of such ideas and certain ideas pertaining to the castration complex of men is unmistakable.


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