Port­noy’s Complaint

  • From the Publisher
March 21, 2013

Port­noy’s Com­plaint n. [after Alexan­der Port­noy (1933- )] A dis­or­der in which strong­ly-felt eth­i­cal and altru­is­tic impuls­es are per­pet­u­al­ly war­ring with extreme sex­u­al long­ings, often of a per­verse nature. Spielvo­gel says: Acts of exhi­bi­tion­ism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroti­cism and oral coitus are plen­ti­ful; as a con­se­quence of the patien­t’s moral­i­ty,” how­ev­er, nei­ther fan­ta­sy nor act issues in gen­uine sex­u­al grat­i­fi­ca­tion, but rather in over­rid­ing feel­ings of shame and the dread of ret­ri­bu­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the form of cas­tra­tion.’ (Spielvo­gel, O. The Puz­zled Penis,“Inter­na­tionale Zeitschrift für Psy­cho­analyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvo­gel that many of the symp­toms can be traced to the bonds obtain­ing in the moth­er-child relationship.

With a new After­word by the author for the 25th Anniver­sary edition.

Discussion Questions