This entry will use sexual terminology. Some people with trauma history may find it triggering. As with anything on IOI, please be safe.
All right friends, I am so sorry to do this to you. I really like you guys, gals, and however else you may identify. I agonized over this decision, and just couldn’t find any way around it. I am so sorry. Let’s just rip the bandage off and get this done…Today’s entry is about Dr. Sigmund Freud’s theory of development. I went back and forth on whether to write about Freud. There are other theories I will be writing about that expand and improve on Freud’s theory. Freud also made some contributions to psychiatry and psychology with which I strongly agree, and I look forward to writing about those. I think it’s important to know Freud’s stages though. They are such a part of our everyday life, we talk about them without really being aware of it. So, let’s jump right in and get this done. Here we go…
Freud’s stages of psychosexual development:
Freud’s theory consists of five stages. During each stage, a person faces a unique conflict, which must be resolved in order to move on to the next stage, and develop a healthy personality. Problems arise when a conflict is not resolved, and libido gets stuck. Libido is an unconscious, basic, internal energy bade up of basic needs: hunger, thirst, and sexual.
The Oral Stage (0 - 1.5 years): During the Oral Stage, the pleasure center is the mouth. The focus is on feeding, weaning, and then tooth eruption. Not resolving the Oral Stage results in dependency, sarcasm, rejection, smoking, addiction, gullibility, and starving oneself, over eating, or any eating disorder. If you hear someone being referred to as “orally fixated,” this is to what that phrase is referring!
The Anal Stage (1.5 - 2.5 years): The pleasure source is the anus. The task to be mastered is toilet training. Problems arising from not resolving this stage include rigidity, over-generosity, stinginess, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, irresponsibility, and rebelliousness. When someone is referred to as “anal retentive,” this is it right here! An unresolved Anal Stage.
The Phallic Stage (2.5 - 5 or 6 years): As you’d expect from the name, the pleasure source is the genitals. During this time, the task is to identify with the same-sex parent. Not resolving this stage is what we are talking about when someone is said to have an “Oedipal Complex.” During this stage, a person desires the opposite-sex parent, and sees the same-sex parent as competition. An unresolved phallic stage is the cause of anxiety, extreme guilt, phobias, depression, improper sexual identity, and fear of authority.
The Latency Stage (Age 6 - pre-adolescence): During this time, earlier stages and libido are suppressed. The focus is on play, and relationships with same-gender peers.
The Genital Stage (Adolescence through Adulthood): The task for this stage is finding a spouse. During this stage, there are no new conflicts to resolve. However, older, unresolved conflicts will arise. Adult behavior, according to this theory, is influenced by all of the previous stages.
We did it, friends! That’s Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. I believe it has merit, but that human development and behavior is more complicated than this. Fortunately, so did other behaviorists. As we discuss future theories on development, Freud’s influence will be apparent. Freud’s theory of development will also be seen in some of his other theories, like the Model of the Mind. But now that we’ve got this one out of the way, we can get onto some more fun stuff. Leave it to Siggy to take the fun out of talking about sex! I’m going to go orally fixate on some lunch now.