Pre-genital phases

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Freudian Dictionary

We will call the organizations of the sexual life in which the genital zones have not yet assumed the dominating role, the pregenital phase.

One of the first of such pregenital sexual organizations is the oral, or if one will, the cannabalistic. Here the sexual activity is not yet separated from the taking of nourishment and the contrasts within it are not yet differentiated. The object of the one activity is also that of the other; the sexual aim then consists in the incorporation of the object into one's own body, the prototype of identification, which later plays such an important psychic role. As a remnant of this fictitious phase of organization forced on us by pathology, we can consider thumbsucking. Here the sexual activity became separated from the nourishment activity and the strange object was given up in favor of one from his own body.

A second pregenital phase is the sadistic-anal organization. Here the contrasts which run through the whole sexual life are already developed, but cannot yet be designated as masculine and feminine, but must be called active and passive.[1]

Third comes the phallic phase, in which for both sexes the penis (and what corresponds to it in the girl) achieves an importance which can no longer be overlooked. We have reserved the name of genital phase for the final sexual organization, established after puberty, in which the female genitals receive for the first time the recognization which the male genitals have long since obtained.[2]


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