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Phallic stage

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The phallic stage is the third of Freud's psychosexual stages, when awareness of and manipulation of the genitals is supposed to be a primary source of pleasure. In this stage the child deals with the Oedipus complex, if male, or the Electra complex, if female. According to Freud, this stage first occurs around the age of five and a half years.

Female sexuality and criticism of Freud's theories

Freud believed that it was natural for female children in this stage to focus on the clitoris as their primary organ for sexual pleasure. He believed that upon reaching adulthood and sexual maturity, a female's primary sexual focus shifts to the vagina. There is considerable criticism regarding this theory, as it portrays adult women who continue to enjoy and/or orgasm from clitoral stimulation as having not reached full sexual maturity.

See also