Freud’s Psychosexual Stages of Development in Relation to Gender Development

915 WordsJul 5, 20084 Pages
Describe Freud’s psychosexual stages of development in relation to gender development “Few of the findings of psychoanalysis have met with such universal contradiction or have aroused such an outburst of indignation as the assertion that the sexual function starts at the beginning of life and reveals its presence by important signs even in childhood. And yet no other findings of analysis can be demonstrated so easily and so completely” – Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud believed that all children were curious about sex and their own origins – this caused outrage in Victorian society. He believed that all children followed five stages of development, not moving forward to the next one until the previous one was completed. His theory was…show more content…
Freud termed this ‘castration anxiety’. In relation to girls Freud referred to their similar set of feelings for their father as the Electra Complex. He believed that girls suffered from ‘penis envy’. Towards the later part of this stage children begin to identify with the same sex parent rather than see them as a rival. They can ‘possess’ the opposite sex parent through them. In both sexes the sexual feelings towards the parent of the opposite sex are repressed during the latency stage and when they re-emerge at the genital stage they are displaced to an appropriate member of the opposite sex. Freud theorised however that women never resolved their penis envy and they would become fixated on this stage. This has been disputed by modern psychologists as inaccurate and demeaning to women. The psychologist Karen Horney proposed that men actually feel inferior because they cannot give birth to children! The Latency Stage – 6 to puberty At this age the sexual preoccupation of the earlier stages are repressed. The child’s energy is then put into developing new skills and new knowledge. The child enters school and become more concerned with friendships, hobbies and other interests. This stage is important for the development of social and communication skills and self confidence. The Genital Stage – puberty to adulthood Latency is the calm before the storm of
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