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Psychosexual Stages

  1. John Paul McKinney

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0748

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McKinney, J. P. 2010. Psychosexual Stages. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In Sigmund Freud's (1938) personality theory, development is described in terms of stages defined by the specific expression of sexual, or libidinal, urges. Those areas of the body—the erogenous zones—that give rise to libidinal pleasure at specific ages are identified as the focus of each developmental stage. Thus the pleasure derived from sucking liquids and mouthing foods is the focus of the first developmental period, the oral stage. The satisfaction surrounding the retaining and expelling of feces defines the second, the anal stage. The phallic stage refers to the period in which the young child begins to explore and derive pleasure from the genitals. These three stages, called the pregenital stages, span, respectively, the first year of life, the second 2 years, and the years from 3 to 5, roughly.


  • anal stage;
  • Freudian stages;
  • genital stage;
  • libido;
  • oral stage