The Phallic Phase : [Wiesbaden] 4th September 1932 [1933] : Ernest Jones

by Julia Evans on September 4, 1932


1) International Journal of Psychoanalysis : Vol XIV : 1933 : p1-33 :

2) also p452-484 of Papers on Psychoanalysis : Ernest Jones : Fifth Edition December 1948 : Baillière, Tindall and Cox, London :

3) At with other references from Seminar IV.

Available at   /authors a-z or authors by date

This paper was read in brief before the Twelfth International Psycho-Analytical Congress, Wiesbaden, September 4th, 1932, and in full before the British Psycho-Analytical Society, October 19th and November 2nd, 1932.

References by Jacques Lacan

Seminar IV : 28th November 1957 : See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here  for notes on this reference.

Paragraph 10 of Seminar IV : 9th January 1957 : See Seminar IV : The Object Relation & Freudian Structures 1956-1957 : begins 21st November 1956 : Jacques Lacan or here

The Meaning (or Signification) of the Phallus (Munich): 9th May 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here : p77 of Jacqueline Rose’s translation : The amusing thing is the way he manages, on the authority of the very letter of Freud’s text, to formulate a position which is directly opposed to it : a true model in a difficult genre.

The problem, however, refuses to go away, seeming to subvert Jones’s own case for a re-establishment of the equality of natural rights (which surely gets the better of him in the Biblical ‘Man and woman God created them’ with which he concludes).  : See P484 of  The Phallic Phase : given in Wiesbaden on 4th September 1932 [1933] : Ernest Jones or here

I will allow myself now to single out the conclusions which seem to me to be the most significant.

Lastly I think we should do well to remind ourselves of a piece of wisdom whose source is more ancient than Plato: ‘ In the beginning . . . male and female created He them.’

Guiding Remarks for a Congress on Feminine Sexuality : 1958 [Presented in Amsterdam, 5th September 1960] : Jacques Lacan : Information and details from here

Seminar VI : 3rd June 1959 : See

Seminar VI: Desire and its interpretation: 1958-1959 : from 12th November 1958 : Jacques Lacan : information and availability here

& Seminar VI : 3rd June 1959 : Ernest Jones & the term castration complex

by Julia Evans on April 16, 2014 : Available here

References to Sigmund Freud

Page numbers vary with where it is published & I have given up……

Female Sexuality : 1931b : Sigmund Freud : International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1932, vol. xiii., p, 297. & p 282 & 283 & 296 & 286 & 294 & 281 & 286 & 297 or SE XXI p221-243  : Published at download here   

The infantile genital organisation: An interpolation into the theory of sexuality : 1923e : Sigmund Freud : ‘Collected Papers’ (International Psycho-Analytical Library, $24), vol. ii., P. 245. & p246

Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes: 1925j : Sigmund Freud : International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1927, vol. viii., pp. 133, 144. & 140 or SE Vol XIX, p243-58

P452 : I (Ernest Jones) put forward the suggestion that the phallic phase in the development of female sexuality represented a secondary solution of psychical conflict, of a defensive nature, rather than a simple and direct developmental process; last year professor Freud (3) declared this suggestion to be quite untenable. Already at that time I had in mind similar doubts about the phallic phase in the male also, but did not discuss them since my paper was concerned purely with female sexuality:

Female Sexuality : 1931b : Sigmund Freud:

International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1932, vol. xiii., p, 297. & p 282 & 283 & 296 & 286 & 294 & 281 & 286 & 297 or SE XXI p221-243  : Published at download here   

p453 (probably) : I will first remind you that in Freud’s (5) description of the phallic phase the essential feature common to both sexes was the belief that only one kind of genital organ exists in the world—a male one. According to Freud, the reason for this belief is simply that the female organ has at this age not yet been discovered by either sex. Human beings are thus divided, not into those possessing a male organ and those possessing a female organ, but into those who possess a penis and those who do not: there is the penis- possessing class and the castrated class :

Freud: ‘The Infantile Genital Organisation of the Libido’, Collected Papers (International Psycho-Analytical Library, 1924). Vol. ii, p. 245 & 246. : The infantile genital organisation: An interpolation into the theory of sexuality : 1923e : Sigmund Freud

P454 : It is plain that the difference between the two phases is marked by the idea of castration, which according to Freud is bound up in both sexes with actual observation of the anatomical sex differences. As is well known, he is of opinion (l) that the fear or thought of being castrated has a weakening effect on the masculine impulses with both sexes. He considers that with the boy it drives him away from the mother and strengthens the phallic and homosexual attitude-i.e., that the boy surrenders some of his incestuous heterosexuality to save his penis; whereas with the girl it has the more fortunate opposite effect of impelling her into
a feminine heterosexual attitude. :

Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes: 1925j : Sigmund Freud : International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1927, vol. viii., pp. 133, 144. & 140 or SE XIX p241-258.

P460-461 : Actual analysis in adult life of the memories of the phallic stage yields results that coincide with the state of affairs where the phallic stage has persisted into adult life, as mentioned above, and also with the results obtained from child analysis3 during the phallic stage itself. They are, as Freud first pointed out, that the narcissistic concentration on the penis goes hand in hand with dread of the female genital. It is also generally agreed that the former is secondary to the latter, or at all events to the fear of castration. It is not hard to see, further, that these two fears—of the female genital and of castration—stand in a specially close relationship to each other, and that no solution of the present group of problems can be satisfactory which does not throw light on both.

P461 : Freud himself does not use the word ‘ anxiety ‘ in regard to the female genital, but speaks of ‘ horror ‘ (Abscheu) of it. The word ‘ horror ‘ is descriptive, but it implies an earlier dread of castration, and therefore demands an explanation of this in its turn. Some passages of Freud’s read as if the horror of the female were a simple phobia protecting the boy from the thought of castrated beings, as it would from the sight of a one–legged man, but I feel sure he would admit a more specific relationship than this between the idea of castration and the particular castrated organ of the female; the two ideas must be innately connected. I think he implies that this horror is an associative reminder of what awful things—i.e., castration— happen to people ….. : Reference unknown

p463-464 : The findings of child analysis lead us to ascribe ever-increasing importance to the phantasies and emotions attaching to this concept, and I am very inclined to think that the expression ‘pre-Œdipal phase’ used recently by Freud and other writers must correspond extensively with the phase of life dominated by the ‘ combined parent’ concept.
At all events, let us consider first the relation to the mother alone. : Probably Freud, Sigmund. “Female Sexuality,” 1931b. SE XXI, 223.

P464 : In the boy’s imagination the mother’s genital is for so long inseparable from the idea of the father’s penis dwelling there that one would get a very false perspective if one confined one’s attention to his relationship to his actual’ external’ father; this is perhaps the real difference between Freud’s pre– Œdipal stage and the Œdipus complex proper.

P465 : This is tantamount to Freud’s ‘passing of the Œdipus complex,’ the renunciation of the mother to save the penis, but it is not a direct stage in evolution; on the contrary, the boy has later to retrace his steps in order to evolve, he has to claim again what he had renounced

P465 : So much so that when I made the suggestion that the phallic phase in girls represents a secondary solution of conflict I was under the impression that by the phallic phase was meant what I now see to be only the second half of it, a misapprehension Professor Freud corrected in recent correspondence; incidentally, his condemnation of my suggestion(1) was partly based on the same misunderstanding, since on his part he naturally thought I was referring to the whole phase. In extenuation I may remark that in his original paper Freud gave no account of the phallic phase in girls, on the score of its extreme obscurity, and that his definition— a phase in which it is believed that the sex difference is between penis–possessing and castrated beings—strictly applies only to the deutero–phallic phase, the penis being supposed to be unknown in the first one.

The difference between the two halves of the phase in Freud’s conception is similar to that pointed out earlier with boys. According to him, a clitoris supremacy sets in at a certain age when the girl is ignorant of the difference between the clitoris and the penis and so is in a state of contented bliss in the matter;

(1) Freud,’ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 297.

P466 : As with boys, the two halves of the phase are divided by the castration idea, by the idea that women are nothing but castrated beings—there being no such thing as a true female organ. The boy’s wish in the deutero–phallic stage is to restore the security of the proto–phallic one which has been disturbed by the supposed discovery of castration: to revert to the original identity of the sexes. The girl’s wish in the deutero–phallic stage is similarly to restore the undisturbed proto–phallic one, and even to intensify its phallic character; thus to revert to the original identity of the sexes. This I take to be a more explicit statement of Freud’s conception.

P466 : In attempting to elucidate the contrasting views described above I will avail myself of two clues, both provided by Freud. The first of them is contained in his remark (2) that the girl’s earliest attachment to her mother ‘has in analysis seemed to me so elusive, lost in a past so dim and shadowy, so hard to resuscitate that it seemed as if it had undergone some specially inexorable repression.’ :

(2) Freud,’ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 282.

P466-467 : Thus the typical phallic phase—i.e, the deutero–phallic phase—in my opinion, represents a neurotic obstacle to development rather than a natural stage in the course of it. (1)

(1) It may be of interest to note the respects in which the conclusions here put forward agree with or differ from those of the two authors, Freud and Karen Horney, with whose views there has been most occasion to debate. In agreement with Freud is the fundamental view that the passage from the proto– to the deutero–phallic phase is due to fear of castration at the hands of the father, and that this essentially arises in the Œdipus situation. Freud would, I think, also hold that the feminine wishes behind so much of the castration fear are generated as a means of dealing with the loved and dreaded father: he would possibly lay more stress on the idea of libidinally placating him, whereas I have directed more attention to the hostile and destructive impulses behind the feminine attitude. On the other hand I cannot subscribe to the view of sex ignorance on which Freud repeatedly insists—though in one passage on primal scenes and primal phantasies (Ges. Sch., Bd. xi., S. 11) he appears to keep the question open— and I regard the idea of the castrated mother as essentially a mother whose man has been castrated. Nor do I consider the deutero–phallic phase as a natural stage in development. :

(1) Female Sexuality : Sigmund Freud : p297

P467 : To give an example of this: Freud, (1) in criticising Karen Horney, describes her view as being that the girl, from fear of advancing to femininity, regresses in the deutero–phallic stage. So sure is he that the earlier (clitoris) stage can only be a phallic one.

(1) Freud,’ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 296.

p467 : In my Innsbruck paper I expressed the opinion that vaginal excitation played a more important part in the earliest childhood than was recognised—in contra–distinction from Freud’s (3) opinion that it begins only at puberty … :

(3) Freud, ‘ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 283.

p467 : Freud, who holds that both intensity and direction are to be explained in terms of the proto–phallic masculine phase, and that the trauma of seeing the penis only reinforces this, criticises Karen Horney for believing that the direction alone is given by the proto–phallic phase, the intensity being derived from later (anxiety) factors. (1) In so far, however, as Karen Horney is a supporter of view B—and I cannot of course say just how far this is so—she would maintain the exact converse of the view Freud ascribes to her; she would agree with him that the intensity of the deutero–phallic phase is derived from the earlier one (though with displacement) and differ from him only in holding that its direction is not so derived, being in the main determined by secondary factors. All this again depends on whether the earlier phase is regarded as predominantly masculine and auto–erotic or predominantly feminine and auto-erotic. 
Freud (2) would appear to hold that the question is settled by the very fact that many young girls have a long and exclusive mother attachment. He calls this a pre–Œdipal stage of development, one where the father plays very little part and that a negative one (rivalry). :

(1) Freud, * Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 296. (2) Ibid.

p468 : They should be helpful in the present connection, since—as Freud has long ago shown—the sexual theories of a child are a mirror of its particular sexual constitution. A few years ago Professor Freud wrote to me that of the two points of which he felt most sure in the obscurity of female sexual development one was that the young girl’s first idea of coitus was an oral one—i.e., of fellatio. (1) Here, as usual, he put his finger on a central point. : No reference given

p468? : According to Freud, (1) the child’s love and sexuality are essentially devoid of aim (ziellos), and for this very reason are doomed to disappointment. :

(1) Freud, ‘ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 286.

p468?473 : Freud (3) holds that when the girl’s wish to own a penis is disappointed it is replaced by a substitute—the wish to have a child. :

(3) Freud, ‘ Some Psychological Consequences,’ etc., op. cit., p. 140. :

Some Psychical Consequences of the Anatomical Distinction between the Sexes: 1925j : Sigmund Freud Note: it is not known where else in this text, this is a reference.

P469 : This is in disagreement with Freud’s (1) formidable statement that the concept of the Œdipus complex is strictly applicable only to male children and ‘ it is only in male children that there occurs the fateful conjunction of love for the one parent and hatred of the other as rival.’ We seem compelled here to be plus royaliste que le roi.

Freud’s fellatio account of coitus, however, from which we started, yields no explanation for the important observation on which he insists,(2) that the girl infant feels rivalry for her father. :

(1) Freud,’ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 284. (2) ibid, p. 282

p469 : We must regard the sexual development of both boys and girls as influenced at all points by the need to cope with fear, and I must agree with Melanie Klein’s (1) scepticism about the success of Freud’s (2) avowed endeavour to depict sexual development without reference to the super–ego—i.e., to the factors of guilt and fear.

At this point I am constrained to express the doubt whether Freud does not attach too much significance to the girl’s concern about her external organs (clitoris–penis) at, the expense of her terrible fears about the inside of her body. I feel sure that to her the inside is a much stronger source of anxiety … :

(1) Melanie Klein, ‘The Psycho–Analysis of Children,’op.cit.,p.323.
 (2) Freud, ‘ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 294.

p469 : As the girl grows she often transfers her resentment from the mother to the father when she more clearly understands that he it is who really owns (and withholds) the penis. Freud (3) quotes this curious transference of hostility, resentment and dissatisfaction from the mother to the father as a proof that it cannot arise from rivalry with the mother, but we have just seen that another explanation is at least possible. :

(3) Freud,’ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., pp. 281, 286.

P471 : Freud (2) asks whence, if there were any flight from femininity, could it derive its source except from masculine strivings. :

(2) Freud, ‘ Female Sexuality,’ op. cit., p. 297.

p484 : I will allow myself now to single out the conclusions which seem to me to be the most significant.
The first is that the typical (deter–) phallic phase is a perversion subserving, as do all perversions, the function of salvaging some possibility of libidinal gratification until the time comes—if it ever comes—when fear of mutilation can be dealt with and the temporarily renounced hetero–erotic development be once more resumed. The inversion that acts as a defence against the fear depends on the sadism that gave rise to the fear.
Then we would seem to have warrant for recognising more than ever the value of what perhaps has been Freud’s greatest discovery —the Œdipus complex. I can find no reason to doubt that for girls, no less than for boys, the Œdipus situation, in its reality and phantasy, is the most fateful psychical event in life.

References to this paper

This paper is references in Pregenital Patterning : 1952 : Phyllis Greenacre  See  here


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London

Further texts

By Ernest Jones here

Of the clinic : here

From other LW working groups : here

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By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

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