Standard Article

Sexual Development

  1. John Paul McKinney

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0854

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

McKinney, J. P. 2010. Sexual Development. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, sexuality begins in infancy (Freud, 1920/1969). The development of sexuality is a major part of the development of personality. According to Freud, the individual passes through several psychosexual stages: oral, anal, phallic, and genital, each named for the erogenous zone that gives rise to the main libidinal cathexis of that period.


  • child development;
  • developmental psychology;
  • gender roles;
  • sexual development