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Prager, D. (1960). An Unusual Fantasy of the Manner in which Babies Become Boys or Girls. Psychoanal Q., 29:44-55.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:44-55

An Unusual Fantasy of the Manner in which Babies Become Boys or Girls

Daniel Prager, M.D.


A traumatic incident in the childhood of a woman led her to construct the fantasy that her father, a surgeon, had had the option of making her a girl or a boy when she was born. She vividly retained this fantasy in consciousness for twenty-seven years—including a long analysis with a woman analyst—without revealing it to anyone. In a second analysis with a man, the fantasy was suddenly communicated as if it had been a reality. As her father had intensely wished to have a boy, and treated his daughters as if they were boys, she had to work through in analysis until she felt sufficiently trusting that the analyst-doctor-father would not scorn her tender, erotic, feminine feelings before she was able to divulge the fantasy and free herself of the disabilities it had imposed.

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