Freud theorized about the development of sexuality in children. His most famous theory is the “Oedipal Complex” named after the play by Sophocles Oedipus the King
Psychosexual Development: In the early years the id (libido) fixates on three areas of pleasure and conflict:
- Oral Stage: sucking the breast: ends with weaning
- Anal Stage: controlling the bowels: toilet training
- Genital (phallic) Stage (age 2-5): pleasure from genitals. Sexual identification with male (female) gender
THE OEDIPAL CONFLICT
- The boy identifies with the father: subconsciously, he wishes to possess his mother and take his father’s place.
- BUT his father is much stronger. He is already there.
- The ID wishes to destroy the father,
- BUT the EGO (reality principle) knows this is not possible.
- THEREFORE, the boy identifies with his father (rather than killing him) and forms his male identity. He also internalizes, through his father the SUPEREGO which controls his adult behavior.
“The super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more powerful the Oedipus complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the stricter will be the domination of the super-ego over the ego later on—in the form of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt.” – SF
Tom Leherer, one of the great satirical songwriters of the 1950’s summed it all up in this amusing ditty: