Phallic stage

Phallic stage

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In Freudian
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 psychology
Ego psychology
Ego psychology is a school of psychoanalysis rooted in Sigmund Freud's structural id-ego-superego model of the mind.An individual interacts with the external world as well as responds to internal forces. Many psychoanalysts use a theoretical construct called the ego to explain how that is done...

, the Phallic stage is the third stage of psychosexual development
Psychosexual development
In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

, spanning the ages of three to six years, wherein the infant’s libido
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

 (desire) centers upon his or her genitalia as the erogenous zone
Erogenous zone
An erogenous zone is an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of erotic sensations or sexual excitement.People have erogenous zones all over their bodies, but which areas are more sensitive than others vary...

. When children become aware of their bodies, the bodies of other children, and the bodies of their parents, they gratify physical curiosity by undressing and exploring each other and their genitals, the center of the phallic stage, in course of which they learn the physical
Human anatomy
Human anatomy is primarily the scientific study of the morphology of the human body. Anatomy is subdivided into gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy. Gross anatomy is the study of anatomical structures that can be seen by the naked eye...

 differences between “male” and “female”, and the gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 differences between “boy” and “girl”, experiences which alter the psychologic dynamics of the parent and child relationship. The phallic stage is the third of five Freudian psychosexual development stages: (i) the Oral
Oral stage
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...

, (ii) the Anal
Anal stage
The anal stage, in Freudian psychology, is the period of human development occurring at about one to two years of age. Around this age, the child begins to toilet train, which brings about the child's fascination in the erogenous zone of the anus...

, (iii) the Phallic, (iv) the Latent, and (v) the Genital
Genital stage
The genital stage in psychology is the term used by Sigmund Freud to describe the final stage of human psychosexual development. This stage begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. Through the lessons learned during the previous stages, adolescents direct their...

.

Complexes: Oedipus and Electra


In the Phallic stage of psychosexual development
Psychosexual development
In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

, a boy’s decisive experience is the Oedipus complex
Oedipus complex
In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrate upon a boy’s desire to sexually possess his mother, and kill his father...

 describing his son–father competition for sexual possession of mother. This psychological complex
Complex (psychology)
A complex is a core pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes in the personal unconscious organized around a common theme, such as power or status...

 indirectly derives from the Greek mythologic character Oedipus
Oedipus
Oedipus was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. He fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thus brought disaster on his city and family...

, who unwittingly killed his father and sexually possessed his mother. Initially, Dr. Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 applied the Oedipus complex to the development of boys and girls alike; he then developed the female aspect of phallic-stage psychosexual development as the feminine Oedipus attitude and the negative Oedipus complex; but his student–collaborator Carl Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

 proposed the “Electra complex
Electra complex
In Neo-Freudian psychology, the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, is a girl’s psychosexual competition with mother for possession of father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic stage formation of a discrete sexual identity; a boy’s...

”, derived from Greek mythologic character Electra
Electra
In Greek mythology, Electra was an Argive princess and daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. She and her brother Orestes plotted revenge against their mother Clytemnestra and stepfather Aegisthus for the murder of their father Agamemnon...

, who plotted matricidal revenge against her mother for the murder of her father, to describe a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father.


Oedipus — Despite mother being the parent who primarily gratifies the child’s desires, the child begins forming a discrete sexual identity — “boy”, “girl” — that alters the dynamics of the parent and child relationship; the parents become the focus of infantile libidinal
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

 energy. The boy focuses his libido (sexual desire) upon mother, and focuses jealousy and emotional rivalry against father — because it is he who sleeps with mother. To facilitate uniting him with mother, the boy’s id wants to kill father (as did Oedipus), but the ego, pragmatically based upon the reality principle
Reality principle
In Freudian psychology, the reality principle is the psychoanalytic concept describing circumstantial reality compelling a man or a woman to defer instant gratification...

, knows that father is the stronger of the two males competing to psychosexually possess the one female. Nonetheless, the fearful boy remains ambivalent about father’s place in the family, which is manifested as fear of castration
Castration anxiety
Castration anxiety is the fear of emasculation in both the literal and metaphorical sense.-Literal:Castration anxiety is the conscious or unconscious fear of losing all or part of the sex organs, or the function of such....

 by the physically greater father; the fear is an irrational, subconscious manifestation of the infantile Id.
Electra — In developing a discrete psychosexual identity, boys develop castration anxiety
Castration anxiety
Castration anxiety is the fear of emasculation in both the literal and metaphorical sense.-Literal:Castration anxiety is the conscious or unconscious fear of losing all or part of the sex organs, or the function of such....

 and girls develop penis envy
Penis envy
Penis envy in Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the theorized reaction of a girl during her psychosexual development to the realization that she does not have a penis....

 towards all males. The girl’s envy is rooted in the biologic fact that, without a penis, she cannot sexually possess mother, as the infantile id demands, resultantly, the girl redirects her desire
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

 for sexual union upon father. She thus psychosexually progresses to heterosexual femininity (which culminates in bearing a child) derived from earlier, infantile desires; her child replaces the absent penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

. Moreover, after the phallic stage, the girl’s psychosexual development includes transferring her primary erogenous zone from the infantile clitoris
Clitoris
The clitoris is a sexual organ that is present only in female mammals. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora, above the opening of the urethra and vagina. Unlike the penis, which is homologous to the clitoris, the clitoris does not...

 to the adult vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

. Freud thus considered a girl’s Oedipal conflict to be more emotionally intense than that of a boy, resulting, potentially, in a woman of submissive, less confident personality.

In both sexes, defense mechanisms provide transitory resolutions of the conflict between the drives of the Id and the drives of the Ego. The first defense mechanism is repression
Psychological repression
Psychological repression, also psychic repression or simply repression, is the psychological attempt by an individual to repel one's own desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious...

, the blocking of memories, emotional impulses, and ideas from the conscious mind; yet it does not resolve the Id–Ego conflict. The second defense mechanism is identification, by which the child incorporates, to his or her ego, the personality characteristics of the same-sex parent; in so adapting, the boy diminishes his castration anxiety
Castration anxiety
Castration anxiety is the fear of emasculation in both the literal and metaphorical sense.-Literal:Castration anxiety is the conscious or unconscious fear of losing all or part of the sex organs, or the function of such....

, because likeness to father protects him from father’s wrath as a rival for mother; by so adapting, the girl facilitates identifying with mother, who understands that, in being females, neither of them possesses a penis, and thus are not antagonists.

Unresolved sexual competition for the opposite-sex parent might lead to a phallic-stage fixation
Fixation (psychology)
Fixation: 'concept originated by Sigmund Freud to denote the persistence of anachronistic sexual traits'. Subsequently '"Fixation" acquired a broader connotation...

 conducive to a girl becoming a woman who continually strives to dominate men (viz. penis envy
Penis envy
Penis envy in Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the theorized reaction of a girl during her psychosexual development to the realization that she does not have a penis....

), either as an unusually seductive woman
Femme fatale
A femme fatale is a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetype of literature and art...

 (high self-esteem) or as an unusually submissive woman (low self-esteem). In a boy, a phallic-stage fixation might be conducive to becoming a vain, over-ambitious man. Therefore, the satisfactory parental handling and resolution of the Oedipus complex
Oedipus complex
In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrate upon a boy’s desire to sexually possess his mother, and kill his father...

 and the Electra complex
Electra complex
In Neo-Freudian psychology, the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, is a girl’s psychosexual competition with mother for possession of father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic stage formation of a discrete sexual identity; a boy’s...

 are most important in developing the infantile super-ego, because, by identifying with a parent, the child internalizes Morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

, thereby, he or she chooses to comply with societal rules, rather than having to comply reflexively, from fear of punishment.

Feminist


Regarding the phallic-stage psychosexual development
Psychosexual development
In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

 of girls, as a psychologist
Ego psychology
Ego psychology is a school of psychoanalysis rooted in Sigmund Freud's structural id-ego-superego model of the mind.An individual interacts with the external world as well as responds to internal forces. Many psychoanalysts use a theoretical construct called the ego to explain how that is done...

, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 believed it developmentally natural for a girl to center her libido
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

 (desire) upon her pudendum
Vulva
The vulva consists of the external genital organs of the female mammal. This article deals with the vulva of the human being, although the structures are similar for other mammals....

, especially the clitoris
Clitoris
The clitoris is a sexual organ that is present only in female mammals. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora, above the opening of the urethra and vagina. Unlike the penis, which is homologous to the clitoris, the clitoris does not...

 as her primary erogenous zone
Erogenous zone
An erogenous zone is an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of erotic sensations or sexual excitement.People have erogenous zones all over their bodies, but which areas are more sensitive than others vary...

. He further proposed that upon reaching adulthood (sexual maturity), the vagina then became a woman’s primary erogenous zone. Nonetheless, Freud’s successors criticise the phallic stage theoretical constructs, because their logic presents women who are vaginally—and clitorally—orgasmic, as psychosexually
Psychosexual development
In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

 immature.

Contemporaneously, Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual development theory is criticized as sexist, because it was informed with his introspection (self-analysis). To integrate the female libido
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

 (sexual desire) to psychosexual development, he proposed that girls develop “penis envy
Penis envy
Penis envy in Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the theorized reaction of a girl during her psychosexual development to the realization that she does not have a penis....

”. In response, the German Neo-Freudian
Neo-Freudian
The Neo-Freudian psychiatrists and psychologists were a group of loosely linked American theorists of the mid-twentieth century, who were all influenced by Sigmund Freud, but who extended his theories, often in social or cultural directions...

 psychoanalyst Karen Horney
Karen Horney
Karen Horney born Danielsen was a German-American psychoanalyst. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views, particularly his theory of sexuality, as well as the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis and its genetic psychology...

, counter-proposed that girls instead develop “Power envy
Envy
Envy is best defined as a resentful emotion that "occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it."...

”, rather than penis envy. She further proposed the concept of “womb and vagina envy
Womb and vagina envy
In Feminist psychology the terms womb envy and vagina envy denote the unexpressed anxiety that some men feel in natural envy of the biological functions of women — emotions which impel their social subordination of women, and to drive themselves to succeed in perpetuating their names via material...

”, the male’s envy of the female ability to bear children; yet, contemporary formulations further develop said envy from the biologic (child-bearing) to the psychologic (nurturance), envy of women’s perceived right to be the kind parent.

See also

  • Psychosexual development
    Psychosexual development
    In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

    • Oral stage
      Oral stage
      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...

    • Anal stage
      Anal stage
      The anal stage, in Freudian psychology, is the period of human development occurring at about one to two years of age. Around this age, the child begins to toilet train, which brings about the child's fascination in the erogenous zone of the anus...

    • Latency stage
    • Genital stage
      Genital stage
      The genital stage in psychology is the term used by Sigmund Freud to describe the final stage of human psychosexual development. This stage begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. Through the lessons learned during the previous stages, adolescents direct their...