Psychosexual Stages of Development

Freud believed there to be five stages of psychosexual development: Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latent and Genital. At each of these stages, pleasure is focused on a particular part of the body. Too much or too little pleasure in any one of these stages caused a fixation which would lead to personality or psychological disorders. For example, too much pleasure in the phallic stage could lead to obsessive masturbation and sexual dysfunction as an adult.

The first stage is called the Oral Stage, characterized by a preoccupation with oral pleasures such as nursing and sucking. This is followed by the Anal Stage, where the main focus is on eliminating or retaining feces. The third stage is the Phallic Stage, where children derive pleasure from the genitals, and develop a desire for the opposite sex parent. Society dictates that these inappropriate feelings be repressed, and when done successfully, is followed by the Latency Stage where sexual urges lie dormant until the next stage.

The last stage is the Genital Stage, when sexual desires reawaken and are directed towards peers of the opposite sex. At each stage, conflicts must come to a successful resolution. Otherwise, it results in fixations that may cause psychological problems in the future.

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