Freud’s 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development: Definition & Stages [Explained]

What are the Stages of Psychosexual Development?

Freud’s personality theory also relates to the stages of psychosexual development theory. He illustrates different stages of human development from infancy to adulthood.

It is to be said psychosexual because all stages are described on the assumption of sexual energy or libido on the different parts of the body called ‘erogenous zone’. Freud recognized the 5 stages of psychosexual development in us human body. They are:

  • Oral stage
  • Anal stage
  • Phallic stage
  • Latency stage
  • and, Genital Stage

Let’s describe Freud’s 5 stages of psychosexual development in detail.

The Oral Stage

From Birth To 1 Year

The oral stage of psychosexual stages remains from birth to 1 year. Within the oral phase, the infant derives pleasure from the mouth through sucking or swallowing. Succeeding, the toddler uses teeth for biting and chewing. If the kid likes mouth or oral needs like swallowing considerably, s/he may fixate on this stage and be an ‘oral receptive personality.’

This is often displayed in later personality development. Such children may realize overeating, smoking, chewing pencils, and excessive dependence could also be seen as personality characteristics. If the oral needs are frustrated or delayed without caring children got to eat. The child’s character could also be arrested or fixated and become an ‘oral aggressive personality during which the kid enjoys verbal aggressive expression in later life.

The Anal Stage

1 To 3 Years

The second stage of psychosexual stages of personality development is the anal phase. This stage continues from 1 to three years when parents introduce toilet training for their children. Children enjoy expulsion or retention of faces as they earn muscular control. Their area shifts from the mouth there to the anus.

The training child receives during this stage later develops his/her personality. Within the early anal phase, children enjoy the removal of faces. If a toddler is fixated at this stage is mentioned as anal-expulsive. These children are cruel, disorderly, and messy in later life. If a toddler receives charging and strict parental education may create a fixated personality that’s overly rigid, obstinate, suborn, and orderly or excessively generous and undisciplined later as adults. This is mentioned as anal-retentive.

The Phallic Stage

3 To 6 Years

The third stage of the psychosexual stage is the phallic phase. The phallic phase covers about 3 to six years of age. The area alters from the anus to the genitals. the kid enjoys touching genitals. this is often the amount the kid develops a sexual attraction to the oldsters of the other sex.

Boys develop the Oedipus complex, loving their mummies and perceiving their father as a competitor. As a young boy, the kid worries that his father will punish his sexual desires towards his mother by removing his genitalia which is named anxiety. To beat his fear the boy represses his concupiscence for his mother and starts to spot together with his father. This is the crucial period for the event of the superego. The boy then tries to repeat his father’s behavior, values, attitudes, etc. which can cause a successful resolution of the Oedipus complex and therefore the male sex role for additional advancement of personality.

Girls develop an Electra complex, loving their father and needing to urge obviate the mother. For young girls, they need “penis envy” as they sense that they are doing not have a penis. the women blame their mummy (mother) for that cause, and as a result, transfer her to the daddy to catch up on her loss of the penis. The girl understands that society won’t allow fulfilling her desires to her father and controls her sexual desires and begins to spot together with her mother. This act is a crucial part of superego development. Copying the role of the mother results in the successful resolution of the Electra complex. 

In some cases, girls don’t completely distinguish themselves from mothers due to the dominant inferior feeling of men. this might be the rationale that a special identity grows in such girls more than in normal girls.

The Latent Stage

6 To 11 Years

The fourth psychosexual stage is the latent stage. This stage lasts from 6 to 11 years. during this period sexual interests are usually suppressed until the start of adolescence. Freud has given importance to academic, social, and moral development. for instance, riding, playing, and faculty work. They dislike excessive parental affection and are keen on both parents.

The Genital Stage

Above 11 Years

The last of stage Freud’s 5 stages of psychosexual development is the genital phase. The above 11 years aged genital phase is seen with the reappearance of oral, anal, and phallic stages. This stage is often further divided into two parts:

  • Homoeroticism: in which children prefer to play with the same sex. Girls with girls, boys with boys. They are very egocentric. This may be because society opposes opposite-sex attachment too early in life.
  • Heterosexuality: in which sexual interest becomes stronger and the erogenous zone remains in the attraction toward the opposite sex. The heterosexual relationship is seen working as a foundation for adult sexual behavior.

However, reaching the genital phase is normal if fixation has not occurred at the sooner stages of the event. If such fixation has occurred before, the event toward a far better personality could also be blocked and end in a mental disorder of maladjustment.


The outlines Freud has provided to psychoanalytic theory went on several criticisms, which gave rise to the Neo-Freudian perspective. These Neo-Freudians denied the concepts of id, a fixation, or the mental energy with the libidos. They argued that these concepts can’t be measured scientifically. His emphasis on sexual motives rather than ego also as social aspects of personality also created confusion. The psychodynamic theory has been greatly utilized within the treatment of psychological disorders. However, the contribution of psychoanalysis theory has played in psychology can’t be ignored. 

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: