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Wulff, M. (1946). Fetishism and Object Choice in Early Childhood. Psychoanal Q., 15:450-471.

(1946). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 15:450-471

Fetishism and Object Choice in Early Childhood

M. Wulff, M.D.

Of primary object choice in earliest childhood the finer details have never been completely and definitively clarified by psychoanalytic investigation. Of what is known of this subject, that which is most important derives from Freud, who, indeed, emphasized repeatedly that on this important question there was a great deal that still stood in need of further elucidation. Hence it is not surprising that it is precisely this part of psychoanalytic doctrine that has been subjected to the sharpest criticism among psychoanalysts and has been the occasion for the widest differences of opinion.

In addition to the direct observation of the infant, psychoanalysis has taken a further step in investigating the development of the libido through the study of disturbances in this development as manifested in neuroses of adults and in perversions. Of the sexual aberrations with regard to object choice there are two forms known to us: homosexuality and fetishism.

For the present discussion, however, the finer details of primary object choice in relation to the development of homosexuality yield relatively little information, since the primary object is in both sexes always the mother, and throughout the individual's development up to and beyond puberty both sexes may serve as potential objects. We know also that the psychological constellation which favors development in the direction of homosexuality is more or less independent of biological predisposition.

Of greater interest and importance to our topic are the developmental phenomena of early childhood which characterize fetishism.

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