hysterogenic zone

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In psychoanalysis, areas of the body identified in 1890 by the French neurologist Jean Martin Charcot (1825–93) as the focal points for symptoms of conversion hysteria (conversion disorder). According to Charcot, the patient describes them as painful but experiences sexual pleasure if they are stimulated (they function as erotogenic zones), although this can precipitate a hysterical attack. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) endorsed this theory in 1895 in Studies on Hysteria (Standard Edition, II, at p. 137) and in ‘Some General Remarks on Hysterical Attacks’ (1908/9), where he describes such a hysterical attack as ‘an equivalent of coition’ (Standard Edition, IX, pp. 227–34, at p. 234).

Subjects: Psychology.

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