One of the most important theories of human life development is the theory of psychosexual development by Viennese physician Sigmund Freud. According to Sigmund Freud, psychosexual development refers to the combined development of the human mind and sexuality. Here he linked human’s mental development to sexual development and introduced the theory of psychosexual development.
He says sexuality is not only seen in adults, it is also seen in children from childhood. From the time of birth, the path of sex or libido begins to move and it continues in various ways. Sigmund Freud, in his theory of psychosexual development, has shown that every child or man goes through the five stages of their psychosexual development.
Those stages are –
1) Oral stage (1 year from birth),
2) Anal stage (18 months or 2 years to 3 years),
3) Phallic stage (3 or 4 to 6 years),
4) Latency stage (from 6 years to puberty for girls and from 6 or 7 years to puberty for boys),
5) Genital stage (from puberty to adulthood).
During infancy, a child’s sexuality or libido progresses through the first three stages which are the oral stage, the anal stage and the phalic stage.
Table of Contents
1) Oral stage (1 year from birth):-
The first stage of psychosexual development is the oral stage. The span of this stage is from birth to 1 year of age. During this time the baby’s sexuality or libido is located in the baby’s mouth. This is called the basic sexual stage. At this stage, the baby’s mouth is their first sexual representation organ that gives pleasure to the baby. This pleasure comes in the babies when they sucks breast with their mother’s nipples in their mouths. They also enjoy sexuality or libido through finger sucking, biting, chewing etc. At this stage, a common tendency among children is that they want to put in everything in their mouths.
2) Anal stage (18 months or 2 years to 3 years):-
The second stage of psychosexual development is the anal stage. The duration of this stage is from 18 months or, 2 years of age to 3 years of age. At this stage the baby’s sexuality or libido changes from his mouth to the anus or urethra. For this reason, the baby’s interest is transferred from the mouth to the rectum or urethra, and they enjoy pleasure by holding or releasing body wastes through contraction and dilation of the rectum or urethra.
3) Phallic stage (3 or 4 to 6 years):-
The third stage of psychosexual development is the phallic stage. The duration of this stage is from 3 years or, 4 years of age to 6 years of age. At this stage the baby’s interest is transferred from the anus or urethra to his genitals, because the genitals are their primary erogenous zone at this stage. At this stage child discovers the ability to gain sexual pleasure through the sexual senses. As a result during this time they play with their genitals and enjoy pleasure by touching or moving their genitals. This is the stage where children become familiar with gender differences. At this stage children can learn about the physical differences between men and women and the gender differences between boys and girls.
At the beginning of this stage, sexuality or libido addiction is remain limited only to one’s own physical pleasure. This is because during this time the child’s ego begins to develop gradually and his sexuality or libido becomes associated with his ego. As a result, the child’s only desire at this time is to gain his own physical happiness. This is the child’s initial narcissism.
Towards the end of this stage the baby’s sexuality or libido leaves the ego entity and becomes attached to the external subjects. At this time the subject of the child’s first addiction is his parents. According to Freud, the two main features of this stage are the “Electra Complex” for girls and the “Oedipus Complex” for boys. He says that these two characteristics are the result of sexual attraction or sexual pleasure, which children experience with parents of the opposite sex.
The “Electra Complex” is a psychosexual competition between daughter and her mother to take possession of her father. Because of this complexity, the girl child loves her father more than her mother at this stage. On the other hand, the “Oedipus Complex” is a psychosexual competition between son and his father to take possession of his mother. Because of this complexity, the boy child loves his mother more than his father at this stage.
4) Latency stage (from 6 years to puberty for girls and from 6 or 7 years to puberty for boys):-
The fourth stage of psychosexual development is the latency stage. The latency stage comes after childhood. The span of this stage is usually from the age of six years to the onset of puberty in case of girls, and from the age of six or seven years to the onset of puberty in case of boys. At this time there have no outward manifestation of sexual instinct in the boys and girls. They are remain latent at this time. So due to this reason, this stage is called latency stage. At this stage, boys and girls form close friendships with members of the same sex and neglect or hate members of the opposite sex.
5) Genital stage (from puberty to adulthood):-
The fifth stage of psychosexual development is the genital stage. This stage is the last stage of the development of sexuality or libido. The period of this stage is from adolescence to adult life. Adolescence is the starting point of this stage. During this time, sexuality or libido of boys and girls leave their previous position and take shelter in the genitals. As a result, adolescent boys and girls experience a strange feeling of strong and active sensation in their genitals at this time. During this time they feel attraction to the members of the opposite sex.
At this stage sometimes, they feel pleasure or gain happiness through masturbation by stimulating their own genitals. They love themselves at this stage and take care of their body beautification and decoration so that people of the opposite sex are attracted to them. Moreover at this time they show special interest in getting close to the members of the opposite sex. From this interest, they sometimes form sexual relations with members of the opposite sex.
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