Psychosexual Analysis - Part I

Psychosexual Analysis

The concept of psychosexual analysis began with the theories proposed by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Freud's main concern was that sexual desire determines a person's instincts, behaviors, beliefs and psychology. Freud proposed that the psyche was divided to three parts: Ego, super-ego and id. The id, which acts as unconscious part of the psyche, is based on the pleasure principle (sexual drive) that will be devastating in terms of social and self-image. Super-ego acts as the conscience and impose cultural regulations (sexual constraints) to psyche. Ego meditates between id and super-ego to regulate the activity of psyche (sexual analysis).

Freud maintained the idea that a person's growth is determined by her/his psychosexual development. He modeled four stages of psychosexual development for human beings as oral phase, anal phase, phallic phase, and genital phase.

Oral stage describes a child's psychosexual development during the first eighteen months of life. The erogenous zone during this period is mouth. If any fixation happens at this time, the child may seek unconscious mechanisms to fulfill it at a later part of life through excessive smoking, eating etc.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]The early 18 months to 24 months of psychosexual development of a child is marked as the anal stage. The toilet training may affect the kids in two ways at a later part of their lives. They may be obsessed with excessive neatness. On the other hand they may be reckless, careless, defiant and disorganized. In either way it will affect their sexual drives adversely.

Phallic stage during the early 3-6 years of a child has disastrous effects on their sexual life. The erogenous zones during this time are genitals, and boys may suffer from Oedipus complex whereas girls may suffer from Electra complex. The idea of Oedipus complex is based on the Greek myth of Oedipus, who unwittingly kills his father Laius and marries his mother Jocasta. Oedipus complex is essentially the male child's unconscious desire for the exclusive love of his mother (woman at a later stage) and his jealousy or fear of castration towards his father (sexual rival at a later stage). The idea of Electra complex comes from the Greek myth of Electra, who wanted her brother to avenge their father Agamemnon's death by killing their mother Clytemnestra. According to this theory, the girl child will show resentment towards her mother, whom the girl believes caused her 'castration.' She may show attachment to her father and later towards the male sex.

The genital stage starts at puberty, allowing the child to develop opposite sex relationships with the libidinal energy again focused on the genital area.The psychosexual development of a person matures at the genital phase.Any fixation during the genital phase leads to frigidity impotence and unsatisfactory relationships.
Freud was of the opinion that if the person has been constrained from fulfilling his sexual desires at each stage, he may develop various defense mechanisms. Freud put forward various symbols that signify the sexual interests of a person. We will discuss about this as well as the relationship between psychosexual analysis and schizophrenia in the next article.

Story first published: Friday, December 29, 2006, 19:07 [IST]

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