Phallic stage


Phallic stage

The Phallic Stage of Psychosexual Development

The Phallic stage is the third stage of Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development that occurs between the ages of 4 and 6. The source of pleasure at this stage is the genitals. This is also the stage where the conflict of the Oedipus complex is worked through. The Oedipus complex is where boys in this stage have an unconscious sexual attraction to their mother. For girls this is called the Electra complex. For example, girls facing the Electra complex are in competition with their mother in order to get their father's attention. They want their father all to themselves. On the other hand, boys in this stage are in competition with their father for their mother's attention and want to "marry" their mother. They may take on their fathers traits, and strive to be like him in order to receive their mother's attention.Many boys and girls in this stage try to place themselves between their parents in order to keep one parent away from the other so that they get all of the attention. Boys may also face the castration complex in this stage, which is when they fear that their father will punish them for their feelings by castrating them. Girls at this stage are said to develop penis envy, in which they are jealous of males for having something important that they lack (the penis). In the phallic stage, boys and girls have conflicting feelings between the guilt that they have over their secret (sexual) desires and their fear of punishment for these feelings. Children usually deal with this conflict by repressing these feelings and by identifying with the same sex parent instead. The Oedipal conflict is resolved if the child grows into a sexually normal adult. If the Oedipal conflict is not fully resolved, the child may become promiscuous, very sexually inhibited, or confused about sexuality as an adult. The development of the superego can help resolve this conflict during this stage by integrating moral and social values and expectations about their sexual roles as a male or female.

Female sexuality and criticism of Freud's theories

Freud believed that it was natural for female children in this stage to focus on the clitoris as their primary organ for sexual pleasure. He believed that upon reaching adulthood and sexual maturity, a female's primary sexual focus shifts to the vagina. There is considerable criticism regarding this theory, as it portrays adult women who continue to enjoy and/or orgasm from clitoral stimulation as having not reached full sexual maturity.

ee also

* Psychosexual development
** Oral stage
** Anal stage
** Genital stage
* Freud's View of Psychosexual Development


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • phallic stage — noun (psychoanalysis) the third stage in a child s development when awareness of and manipulation of the genitals is supposed to be a primary source of pleasure • Syn: ↑phallic phase • Topics: ↑psychoanalysis, ↑analysis, ↑depth psychology • …   Useful english dictionary

  • phallic stage — in psychoanalytic theory, the third stage in psychosexual development, lasting from age 2 or 3 years to 5 or 6 years, during which sexual interest, curiosity, and pleasurable experiences are centered on the penis in boys and the clitoris in… …   Medical dictionary

  • phallic phase — noun (psychoanalysis) the third stage in a child s development when awareness of and manipulation of the genitals is supposed to be a primary source of pleasure • Syn: ↑phallic stage • Topics: ↑psychoanalysis, ↑analysis, ↑depth psychology • …   Useful english dictionary

  • phallic phase — Psychoanal. the time from about age three to five when the genitals become the focus of a child s sensual pleasure. Also called phallic stage. * * * …   Universalium

  • phallic sadism — in freudian theory, the aggressive and destructive tendencies associated with the childhood phallic stage of development, stemming from the child s interpretation of sexual intercourse as aggressive and violent …   Medical dictionary

  • phallic — adjective Date: 1789 1. of or relating to phallicism < a phallic cult > 2. of, relating to, or resembling a phallus 3. relating to or being the stage of psychosexual development in psychoanalytic theory that follows the anal stage and during… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • phallic — 1. Relating to the penis. 2. In psychoanalysis, relating to the penis, especially during the phases of infantile psychosexuality. SEE ALSO: p. phase. [G. phallos, penis] * * * phal·lic fal ik adj 1) of, relating to, or resembling a penis 2) of,… …   Medical dictionary

  • phallic phase — see under stage …   Medical dictionary

  • phallic — adj. 1 of, relating to, or resembling a phallus. 2 Psychol. denoting the stage of male sexual development characterized by preoccupation with the genitals. Derivatives: phallically adv. Etymology: F phallique & Gk phallikos (as PHALLUS) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Oral stage — The oral stage: An infant feeding at his mother’s breast. In Freudian psychoanalysis, the term oral stage denotes the first psychosexual development stage wherein the mouth of the infant is his or her primary erogenous zone. Spanning the life… …   Wikipedia


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