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Ferenczi, S. (1936). Male and Female—Psychoanalytic Reflections on the "Theory of Genitality", and on Secondary and Tertiary Sex Differences. Psychoanal Q., 5:249-260.

(1936). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 5:249-260

Male and Female—Psychoanalytic Reflections on the "Theory of Genitality", and on Secondary and Tertiary Sex Differences

Sándor Ferenczi

Against a reproach which is still frequently heard I regard myself as today reasonably proof. Of psychoanalysis it is said (although with undoubted exaggeration of the actual facts) that it would fain account for everything on the basis of sexuality. Since it is my present desire to speak of the sex differences between man and woman, it can hardly be too venturesome to speak also of sexuality in this connection, for no one can very well doubt the fact that the external appearance and the psychic characteristics of masculinity and femininity are remote effects of the functioning of the sex organs. Indeed, in the matter of establishing this fact the biologists have anticipated us. Animal experiments have shown unmistakably that the sex characters can be abolished, or even transformed into their opposites, by means of the implantation or extirpation of the gonads. Even the effects of purely psychological influences upon the sex characters are not wholly new to biology. It will suffice to cite a single example. A sexually quite atrophied male rat which from birth had been kept exclusively in the company of other males was suddenly placed in the vicinity of a cage of female rats. Within a short space the animal underwent a change in the direction of masculinity, internally, externally, and with regard to its behavior—under the influence, obviously, of the sight and smell of the female (Steinach). Certainly it is no exaggeration to speak in this case of a change in sexual character under a psychological influence; it could be demurred to only by one who rejected in toto the ascription of mental or quasi-mental attributes to animals.

To be sure, psychoanalysis goes further on occasion than the exponents of present-day biology.

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