Freud, S. (1927). Fetishism. Standard Edition, 21, pp. 152-159.

Freud's almost fetishistic interest in noses, and thence in periodicity, tempts us to imagine a pychodynamic theory of the future as well as the past, a theory truly bio-psycholoical and neurophysiological.

Freud's rather meandering and strangely-structured argument in the (1927) paper on fetishism contains a number of quasi-assertions which could be recast in probabilistic language and made the basis of empirical study of the peculiar conditioning history implied for fetishists.

The first clinical example, simply cited in passing, concerns an English-German male's basing a fetish on the expression 'Glanz auf der Nase'/ ('glance at the nose') (p. 152).

It is not true that, after the child has made his observation of the woman, he has preserved unaltered his belief that women have a phallus. He has retained that belief, but he has also given it up. In the conflict between the weight of the unwelcome perception and the force of his counter-wish, a compromise has been reached, as is only possible under the dominance of the unconscious laws of thought--the primary processes. Yes, in his mind, the woman has got a penis, in spite of everything; but this penis is no longer the same as it was before. Something else has taken its place, has been appointed its substitute, as it were, and now inherits the interest which was formerly directed to its predecessor. But this interest sufferes an extraordinary increase as well, because the horror of castration has set up a memorial to itself in the creation of this substitute. Furthermore, an aversion, which is never absent in any fetishist, to the real female genitals remains a stigma indelebile of the repression that has taken place. We can now see what the fetish achieves and what it is that maintains it. It remains as a token of triumph over the threat of castration and a protection against it. It also saves the fetishist from becoming a homosexual, by endowing women with the characteristic which makes them tolerable as sexual objects. In later life, the fetishist feels that he enjoys yet another advantage from his substitute for a genital. The meaning of the fetish is not known to other people, so the fetish is not withheld from him: it is easily accessible and he can readily obtain the sexual satisfaction attached to it. What other men have to woo and make exertions for can be had by the fetishist with no trouble at all.

Probably no male human being is spared the fright of castration at the sight of a female genital. Why some people become homosexual as a consequence of that impression, while others fend it off be creating a fetish, and the great majority surmount it, we are frankly unable to explain. It is possible that, among all the factors at work, we do not yet know those which are decisive for the rare pathological result. We must be content if we can explain what has happened, and may for the present leave on one side the task of explaining why something has not happened. (SE 21, pp. 153-155)