Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Freud’s Psychosexual Stages

What did Freud mean by the genital stage?

The genital stage begins at puberty, in the early teens. At this stage the genitals become the primary erogenous zone. Of note in this stage, Freud does not restrict his focus to male genitals only. The earlier erogenous zones do not disappear, however; instead they are integrated into fully mature genital sexuality. Oral and anal pleasure remain but they are subordinate to genital pleasure. Successful entrance into this stage allows the person to attain pleasure through sexual intercourse. The personality traits that have been associated with genital sexuality include the capacity for mature, reciprocal, and intimate relationships—the capacity for give and take.


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