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Robertiello, R.C. (1974). The Female Orgasm: Psychology, Physiology, Fantasy. Seymour Fisher, New York: Basic Books, 1973. x + 533 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(3):485-486.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(3):485-486

The Female Orgasm: Psychology, Physiology, Fantasy. Seymour Fisher, New York: Basic Books, 1973. x + 533 pp.

Review by:
Richard C. Robertiello

In this extensive volume devoted to female sexual functioning, Fisher reviews the literature on the subject in great detail. In addition he sets forth his own findings derived from a five-year study of three hundred middleclass housewives. His main objective was to ascertain the relationship between personality and sexual responsiveness and especially orgasmic capacity. He appears to be a sober, thoughtful, and responsible psychological researcher, and he creates an atmosphere of credibility and objectivity that is not always found in works dealing with sexuality. I found myself believing his findings and trusting his wisdom and judgment in setting up and evaluating his procedures.

Some of Fisher's findings are really quite unexpected, and many of them must give psychoanalysts a great deal of insecurity about many aspects of the theory because the findings tend to refute classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory about women. For example, one finding that is extremely difficult to explain, even without psychoanalytic theory to the contrary, asserts that women whose orgasms are vaginally oriented display a great deal more anxiety and are much more dissociated from their bodies than women whose orgasms are clitoral.

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