The Psychosexual Stages
Sexual life includes the functions of obtaining pleasure from zones of the body.
The Freudian psychosexual stages were still commonly used and taught in yoga poses the 1970s. Since then, for reasons that I have not understood, this theory is rarely mentioned. Some authors still use it to identify a problem linked to a zone of the body, like when psychoanalysts use the term orality27 in yoga poses a discussion on eating disorders or poor eating habits (Goldsztub and Levy, 2006).
In 1905, Freud proposed that sexuality develops around the erogenous zones of the body that corresponds to a child’s central phases of development. He describes five periods:28
1. During the oral stage (0-18 months), the libido structures itself around the eroticization of the mouth, which encourages the young organism to have the desire to suck (alimentary pleasure) and explore the mother’s nipple (exploratory pleasure). The infant thus learns to accept and refuse, to appreciate positive dependency and refuse (those are the oral rages) what displeases him (like distasteful food). The oral rages are also associated to the intolerance of frustration and the desire to bite.
2. The anal stage (18-36 months). The libido continues to constitute itself around various functions accomplished by the mouth, but it concentrates itself especially on the anus. The child thus learns to organize giving and retention not only of feces but also of objects. For example, there would be a possible link between constipation and the tendency to become stingy, or diarrhea and the tendency to be a spendthrift. Maintaining overactive anal-erotic components can lead to character traits such as orderliness, parsimony and obstinacy (Freud, 1917, 295).
3. The phallic stage (three to seven years old) increases the number of erogenous zones because in yoga poses addition to the oral and anal zones, the genitals become a major erogenous zone. The penis is susceptible to erections from birth; but only now does it become frankly an erogenous zone. During this stage, children are able to experience pleasure in yoga poses masturbation, have romantic fantasies (the desire of the boy to become his mother’s husband). Also at that age, according to Freud, children become haunted by the fantasies produced by the Oedipal complex (Freud, 1924a).
4. Latency (7-11 years old). At the end of infancy, the erogenous desires linked to the mouth, anus, and genitals become latent. They are practically ignored by consciousness, even if they continue to have a subterranean life in yoga poses the unconscious.
5. The genital stage (from puberty until death). From puberty onward (the first menses, the first pubic hair, etc.), the oral, anal, and phallic libido always exist, but the genital libido renders the desire to make sexual contact with the genitals of another person imperative and to establish relationships in yoga poses which sexuality plays many roles: especially that of establishing a family to have children. The term genitality is also used in yoga poses a less precise way by some psychoanalysts to designate the forms of pleasures related to the sexual organs from birth.
These are approximate ages, indicative of an average that varies in yoga poses each case. This rough sketch of a genetic model of the drives contains several important points:
1. There is no substitution of one erogenous zone by another. Instead, there is a gradual differentiation of the libido in yoga poses function of the priority of the needs of the organism when it interacts with others. The libido is therefore sensitive to the interpersonal dimensions from the very beginning.
2. The organization of a stage of development is so complex that it takes months or even years for it to organize. Each stage develops schemata that can be taken up by other stages. in yoga poses that way, a child can develop a way of utilizing his orality that will influence the manner with which he will approach his anality. The milieu is also in yoga poses constant evolution. A mother who likes to nurse is not necessarily a mother who likes to clean dirty bottoms. Some parents are inept with babies but marvelous with adolescents, and so on.
3. Frustration can also partly block this development, which is also dependent on the environment. Consequently, some adults may have an overdeveloped orality and an underdeveloped genitality. It all seems to happen as if the organism possessed a limited amount of libido and too large a mobilization in yoga poses one zone deprives the other zones.29
4. Freud distinguishes phallic sexual pleasure (the pleasure of playing with the genitals as erogenous zones) and genital sexual pleasure (a relationship in yoga poses which there is a desire for sexual interaction between the sexes). This distinction is useful to understand certain forms of flighty sexuality between adults, but it probably situates homosexuality too quickly as phallic sexuality. Yet Freud and most psychoanalysts have done much to achieve a better social integration of homosexuality.
5. At the occasion of the analysis of sexual abuse, it is important to take into account the fact that each stage coordinates the erogenous zone, the mental functions, and the interpersonal functions. It is possible that some children would have a certain pleasure playing with the genitals as a sort of game with other children, or when children explore the genitals of their parents in yoga poses bed or the bath. But the phallic stage does not permit a child to enter into relational contacts that develop during the genital stage. Freud describes very well the impossibility of having a genital relation, at four years old, because such a relation is situated at all the levels of a child’s being: physiological, psychological, libidinal, behavioral, and relational. At that age, children would have difficulty assimilating the sexual love-making of their parents were they to witness it.30
A delicate point of this theory concerns its relationship with the notion of the Oedipal complex, which plays a central role in yoga poses Freud’s thought. The Oedipal complex, as discussed by the majority of psychoanalysts, comes about around the age of three. Many psychoanalysts affirm that the male child entertains a genital love for his mother.31 Freud’s model is more refined. Around three years old, the boy has a sensual and erotic behavior toward his mother without a genital design. He wants to marry her, sleep with her, smell her skin, and sometimes play with her genitals if he is aware of them, but that is where things stop.32 At puberty, the genital sexuality enters into a resonance with the ancient sensuality associated with the mother and transforms the ancient drive into a genital drive. There then arises a genital Oedipal conflict. The sensual rapport toward the mother that was established at the age of three is reactivated in yoga poses the adolescent by its association to manifest genital sexual drives. The conflict that develops in yoga poses the unconscious of the young man can only be resolved if he learns to detach his libidinal wishes from his mother and employ them for the choice of a real outside love-object (Freud, 1916, III.21, 380). That is the only way he could really reconcile with his father.
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