During the latter parts of the nineteenth century, renowned Australian neurologist Sigmund Freud introduced a model depicting the psychosexual development of humans. The model, which is now known as the stages of psychosexual development, describes in detail how a person develops his sexual drives and desires from infancy up to adulthood.
The theory of psychosexual development and its five stages also serve as main focal points of Freudian psychology’s psychoanalytic drive theory. According to Freud, the sexual drives and desires of a person develop in five stages – oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital.
Oral – from birth to 1 year
The oral stage is the first among the five stages of Freud’s psychosexual development theory. It starts from birth up to a child’s first year. In this stage, Freud pointed out that the central erogenous zone or the area that stimulates erotic sensation is the mouth.
Needless to say, the sexual gratification in this stage is derived particularly from breastfeeding.
Anal – 1 to 3 years
The anal stage of psychosexual development normally spans from one to three years of age. In this stage, the anus serves as the central erogenous zone. Just like other stages of psychosexual development, the anal stage is also critical in shaping not just the sexual drive but also the overall personality of a person.
Phallic – 3 to 6 years
From three to six years-old, a child undergoes the psychosexual development stage known as the phallic. The erogenous zone in this stage is the genitalia. It should be noted that the concepts of Oedipus complex and Electra complex are present in this stage.
Both of these concepts alter the child-parent relationship. According to Freud, a boy in this stage develops a discrete and unconscious rivalry against his father while a girl, also in this stage, develops the same feelings of jealousy against her mother.
Latency – 6 years to puberty
Under the psychosexual stage of latency, dormant sexual feelings are developed towards the opposite sex. The latency stage is actually more of a period that spans in between the phallic and genital stages. Nevertheless, the influences on personality and psychosexual development under this stage are significant enough that the period of latency merits mention.
Latency normally spans from a child’s sixth year up to the onset of puberty.
Genital – puberty to death
The genital stage is the last stage in Freud’s psychosexual stages of development. It results into a more aggressive approach towards sexual gratification and the opposite sex. It is considered as the most mature among the five stages of psychosexual development.