Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Freud’s stages of psychosexual stages. There are five stages of psychosexual, which have been explained throughout the paper. The paper starts with a brief introduction of the theory by highlighting the need for this. The first stage of psychosexual development is known as the oral stage. Freud calls the first phase of the development of the child diffused autoerotism and narcissism. If the baby could express in words his attitude to the world. The second stage is discussed after the complete detail of the first one. The second stage is called the anal stage. The anal stage in psychoanalysis is firmly connected with the ideas of children’s creativity in all its manifestations, with the spirit of a fairy-tale, fantastic, and pleasure from experiencing the creepy. After this, the third stage, which is called the “Phallic stage,” discussed in detail. This period lasts from 3 to 6 years of the child’s age. At this stage, libidinal attraction cathects (fills psychic energy) the genital erogenous region. The fourth stage is known as the latent period, where maturation is started. At this stage, the child masters such socially important communication skills as cooperation and compromise, obedience, and diligence along with competition and competition. The last stage is known as Genital stage. It is the stage where the energy of the Self, formerly directed to the knowledge of the outside world.
Stages of Psychosexual Development.
Freud distinguishes the stages of mental life, based on the development of sexuality from birth to adulthood, taking as a basis the “map” of the erogenous zones of the body, thus suggesting that we present the development of mental life as a kind of “movement” of libido. Of course, today, one could understand Z. Freud’s genetic theory not so much naturalistically as metaphorically as a “journey” through the oral, anal, phallic, and genital stages, which mark the critical spatial and temporal milestones of the development of a human being from birth to adulthood (Ivancevich, 2015).
It is Psychoanalysis, with Freud as an indicator, which has stated that sexuality appears from birth and that during the successive stages of childhood that different body areas provide special gratifications to the individual, as they are endowed with energy that seeks pleasure, the libido. Freud distinguished the stages in the following five:
1. Oral stage
According to the orthodox interpretation, the child is initially and totally “sexually perverse,” i.e., it is a purely instinctive creature, driven by undifferentiated spatially unorganized sexuality. Freud calls the first phase of the development of the child diffused autoerotism and narcissism. If the baby could express in words his attitude to the world, we would hear: “I need to be always loved, everywhere, my whole body, without any criticism, without the slightest oncoming movement on my part.”
Nevertheless, in the process of differentiation of erogenous zones, very soon after its birth, the infant discovers for itself the areas of the highest pleasure. During the first 18 months, all his desires are concentrated in the oral area; he receives the greatest pleasure from sucking on a satisfying object – the mother’s breast. Obeying the instinctive impulses of his body, he passively gains satisfaction during the oral-receptive phase and actively seeks it during the oral-aggressive phase. The oral pleasure here is still so diffuse and so tied to purely physiological satisfaction from irritation of the oral mucosa that children get pleasure from sucking everything in the world – the chest, the corner of the duvet cover, the dummy, the bottle, toys or fingers.
Children’s oral sexual urges are intense and conditioned “from within,” but children depend on other people, parents primarily, because they “provide” them with a chest and a bottle for adequate oral satisfaction. Without attaching decisive importance to the primary representations of the mother figure (Freud believed that the child does not yet have a psychic object), as is done in the theory of object relations, orthodox psychoanalysis, however, indicates some of the difficulties that the infant of the first years of life depending on how parents respond to his needs. Maternal deprivation, or hyper protection, makes it difficult to switch from the oral stage to the next through the fixation mechanism: all energy condenses around receiving oral satisfaction; “Oral sadism,” according to Abraham and Fenichel, can become a reaction to postponement or oral frustration, which will find expression in the habit of intense and repeated biting of the mother’s chest (Ivancevich, 2015).
It is assumed that at the stage of oral dependence, the so-called primitive defense mechanisms of introjection, projective identification, denial, and splitting arise. The conditional completion of this stage is, therefore, associated with the formation of the rudiments of the Super-Ego, the beginning of stabilization of the object, and the generation of new alarms due to its potential loss (threat of analytical depression) (Kıvrak, 2018).
2. Anal stage
In the so-called civilized society, the function and production of the anus are usually regarded as something indecent and unsightly, but Freud believed that this “dirty” area of the body acts as an intense source of pleasure for children from 18 months to 3 years of age. The mucous membrane of the mouth loses the role of the leading erogenous zone, and this role passes to the rectum, mucosa of the anus, and adjacent areas of the skin. The impact of intestinal contents, as well as the gentle touch of a caring mother in this area of the child, is pleasantly exciting. Arbitrary regulation of the muscles of the anus begins to give additional pleasure, thanks to which control over the functions of the sphincter is acquired, which brings additional joy, and not only at the level of physiological pleasure from restraint-tension or emptying-discharge.
If the process of excretion gives the child pleasure in the first “expelling” phase, then in the second, “delaying” phase, he learns to enjoy the restraint in order to increase the pleasure of excretion, “bestowal.” In this case, pushing out feces and having fun, the child as though pushes out of himself both the part of himself and the part identified with the “bad” mother. Intestinal contents are perceived by the child as something threatening and hostile. In this case, pushing out feces and having fun, the child as though pushes out of himself both the part of himself and the part identified with the “bad” mother. But do not forget that the child identifies “mastery” of the object with “keeping the feces in himself” and the desire “not to give them away.” Thus, deterrence becomes a carrier of libidinal drive, while emptying becomes a carrier of destructive impulses of “separation,” “rejection” (Ivancevich, 2015).
The anal stage in psychoanalysis is firmly connected with the ideas of children’s creativity in all its manifestations, with the spirit of a fairy-tale, fantastic, and pleasure from experiencing the creepy. And yet, the main acquisitions of the anal phase include feelings associated with the formation of self-identity: self-assertion and assertion of one’s independence; in relation to the primary object, a narcissistic feeling of omnipotence, omnipotence, the ability to control others and subjugate them is manifested. Self-assertion and assertion of one’s independence; in relation to the primary object, a narcissistic feeling of omnipotence, omnipotence, the ability to control others, and subjugate them is manifested. Self-assertion and assertion of one’s independence; in relation to the primary object, a narcissistic feeling of omnipotence, omnipotence, the ability to control others, and subjugate them is manifested.
3. Phallic stage
At this stage, libidinal attraction cathects (fills psychic energy) the genital erogenous region. From 3 to 6 years, children show an increased interest in their genitals, and frequent masturbation is increasing. Interest in the genitals of persons of the opposite sex is noted, which is satisfied in children’s role-playing games, as well as in the mutual examination of the genitals by children or mutual petting. This age is called phallic, implying that psychologically for both the boy and the girl, only one sexual organ, namely the penis, is crucial in the development of the entire mental life(Ivancevich, 2015).
It is believed that in the phallic phase, the boy is identified with the penis, which becomes (sometimes remains for life) a measure of his I’s value, a standard of comparing himself with others, which, in particular, is manifested in the well-known children’s prank game. Anxiety for girls of this age is associated with the discovery of anatomical differences in the genitals; in her fantasies, the clitoris is perceived as something inferior, or she assumes that she once had a penis, but she was deprived of it for something (hence the postulate of the primordial feeling of female inferiority and the fear of punishment, deserved or undeserved). During this period, “phallic rivalry” was characteristic of girls: little girls adopt boyish manners and strive to keep up with the boys in no way.
At the age of 3-5 years, the pattern of communication radically changes; from a dyadic mother-child, he is now transformed into a classic triangle, where it is in his male role that the father is included. In addition, brothers and sisters and peers act as the “third element,” complex problems of an interpersonal plan arise leadership-subordination, the need to correlate and hierarchize role niches in different communication groups, the demand for cooperation and mastering the rules of communication, in other words, intensively communication skills and related emotions are formed.
Sexual desires developing in a child are now unfolding in the space of trilateral relations. The Oedipus complex implies the intensification of the erotic component of love for a parent of the opposite sex and jealousy, rivalry, hatred, or even the desire for death in relation to a parent of the same sex. At the same time, ambivalence permeates the child’s feelings for each of the characters in this triangle. The mother figure suddenly begins to be perceived in a completely new perspective, “a familiar stranger.”
However, everything is far from simple for an idyllic picture. No less attention, curiosity is now attracting the father, also a new stranger, and the mother in these relations often acts as an obstacle in establishing with her father “her,” separate and purely male relations. The bisexual disposition adds a significant dose of love, masculine attractiveness, attractiveness, admiration to the father, which play an extremely positive role in the development of the boy’s identity, as they contribute to the formation of the Ideal Self as a model of identification. It is no coincidence that this complex is called the climax of infantile sexuality(Kıvrak, 2018).
In the final analysis of the case, Freud, among other things, notes the patient’s early identification with the mother, in the image of which her pain, hypochondria, and the specific angle of seeing her in the scene of coitus, in which he put himself in the place of the mother, envied her in her relationship with her father. The organ in which this identification with a woman and passively homosexual attitude towards a man could manifest itself was the anus. Over time, the dysfunction of the anal zone acquired the importance of homosexual gentle spiritual movements and retained this value during the subsequent illness. He fell ill when an organic genital disease (gonorrhea. – ES) aroused the fear of castration in him, inflicted a mortal blow to his narcissism, and forced him to abandon the expectation of an exceptional favor of fate in relation to himself.
So, the successful passage of the Oedipal stage of development is ultimately accomplished through the sublimation of sexuality into tenderness, and hatred into identification with the father: through the mechanism of identification with the aggressor and the desire to “become like a father,” some aggressive drives are mixed with libidinal ones, then their balance is achieved and tolerance to the ambivalence of feelings for both parental figures increases(Kıvrak, 2018).
4. Latent period
With the resolution of the Oedipus conflict, a certain equilibrium state is established. The balance of libidinal and aggressive drives is controlled by the “I’, directing part of the energy to research and an adequate assessment of reality. The maturation and development of the Super-Self and Self-Ideal continue; thanks to their functioning, the instinctive, object-oriented drives are desexualized and return to the Self, providing more opportunities for his own narcissistic satisfaction. In other words, the transformed energy of drives is directed to the development of the Self, that is, to self-knowledge, self-esteem, and improvement of the mechanisms for controlling drives. If the development of the Super-Ego is associated with the introjection of parental prohibitions and restrictions, and in this sense, the child is inclined to develop emotionally saturated and therefore hyperbolic inaccurate parental representations,
Thus, despite the widespread point of view that nothing happens at the latent stage, we, on the contrary, tried to single out very significant processes and mental structures that prepare the development of the mental apparatus, the goals of which are an adaptation to reality and stable, independent self-esteem. Communication with peers begins to acquire greater value than intra-family communication(Ivancevich, 2015).
The child masters such socially important communication skills as cooperation and compromise, obedience, and diligence along with competition and competition. Initially, the very harsh Super-Ego, “curbing” the Oedipus drives, turns out to be more tolerant, especially when it acquires the I-Ideal as an ally: the child gradually begins to become aware of his actions, evaluate them based not only on external restrictions but also due to the development of feelings of guilt and shame, as well as influenced by the opinions of peers. Game and cognitive attitude to the world, which is losing (partly) the quality of hostility, rule their ball here (Kıvrak, 2018).
5. Genital stage
The latent period ends with the beginning of the hormonal restructuring, which signifies the revitalization of the calmed-down conflicts, as a result of which the balance between the Self and It is disturbed. The energy of the Self, formerly directed to the knowledge of the outside world, must again be invested in resolving intrapsychic battles, and, if this metaphor is continued, battles are fought on all fronts, capturing both nearby (in time) and very remote territories. Partial drives come to life: gluttony returns from the long-forgotten oral past, and all kinds of addictions, including alcohol, smoking, drugs, instantly join it; the new generation added a computer, gambling, and an unbridled love for strange, “inhuman” electronic toys.
From the anal stage adolescent cruelty, sloppiness, shamelessness are approaching shamelessness and other “demons” in the form of teenage delinquency. Fragments of the Oedipal drives make themselves felt in the form of countless castration fears and doubts about one’s gender identity; masturbation motifs are revived (manifested not only in masturbation); torments of shame, their own imperfection are ready to gnaw a poor lad, lost in the abyss of unexplored sensations and by no means always pleasing discoveries.
In addition to all these misfortunes, both a young man and a girl, in order to avoid an incestuous choice of an object, must separate from the primary objects, in other words, move away from the tender relationship with parents, which almost never happens smoothly. As a result of separation from the family, parental ideals, to a large extent, lose their influence and strength. To the extent that the Super-Self in this period is still saturated with libido emanating from relations with parents, it is itself considered as a suspicious incest object and becomes a victim of the consequences of asceticism (Kıvrak, 2018).
Ivancevich, D. (2015). Sigmund Freud. Deviance: Theories on Behaviors That Defy Social Norms: Theories on Behaviors That Defy Social Norms, 25.
Kıvrak, Y. (2018). Psychosexual stages of development and its relationship with depression and anxiety. Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bulteni, 28, 69-69.
Watson, J. B. —Sigmund Freud.