We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Sigmund Freud’s theory on female sexuality Essay

Freud revolutionized modern thinking with his conception and development of female sexuality. His theories about the Oedipus complex are of vital significance in the investigation of neuroses. The idea of infantile sexuality is linked to the effectively determinist approach of psychoanalysis that the past is repeated in the present, even if it is in a distorted form (Roger Horrocks, 2001).The present paper focuses on Freud’s major contribution in development of theory on female sexuality and his views about sexuality and females. Freud never accredited the actual relevancy of his principle of sexual intermediaries that emphasizes the everlasting inter sexual condition of all human beings and that intended to reinstate the traditional sexual binary with a outline of sexual plurality in which each individual is noticeable by a inimitable sexuality. Psychoanalytical theory of Freud depends upon the new conception of sexuality he developed in disagreement to the biological conception which were overriding in the nineteenth century. Freud considered sexuality as a general psychical character that comprises the very core of human activity.In developing his theories, Freud put heavy importance on biological development in general and on sexual development in particular. The elucidation of sexual differences plays a vital role in Freudian theory. His major work in advancing psychoanalysis was to be aware of the meaning of early childhood. Freud accentuated the course of psychosexual development through succession of stages focused upon body zones (Morgan 1981, pg: 520). The main rationale of psychoanalysis is not to explain woman figure but to know how she comes into being, how a woman develops out of a child with a bisexual character (Freud, 1933, p. 116).While Freud had an assumption of a perverse polymorphous temperament in every individual.  He eventually evaluated this disposition from the viewpoint of sexuality even though of its unsteadiness that constitutes the aim of the individual’s sexual development. Freud formed an instrumentality that incorporated the redefinition of bisexuality as psychical content; a new approach to perversions, the psychic duality of the life and death drives in order to understand aspect of the sexual away from investigation. Furthermore, Freud stated  in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1924, the thought of drive is the most pertinent and at the same times the most unfinished part of psychoanalytical theory. Before the publication of the Three Essays, Freud initiated to develop a notion of bisexuality as a basic psychical structure common to all humans and independent of any biological substrate opposing to the embryological and anatomical idea of bisexuality as a natural episode. Freud mentioned in his theory that bisexuality is the real psychical basis of heterosexuality and homosexuality, both constitute formations based on the tapering of sexual choice.In view of the fact that unconscious bisexuality suggests as existing in a state of latency in all heterosexuals and as a descriptive belief of homosexual object choice, Freud discards the hypothesis of a separate third sex. Freud termed libido which is in psychic life, the sexual drive that marked itself through the mental energy. Freud indicated in Abriss der Psychoanalysew, a text began in1938 that even though the finding of the repressed Oedipus complex was the only achievement of psychoanalysis, it would deserve the claim to categorize this discipline with the important new possessions of humanity. Oedipus complex is best understood in Freudian theory, mainly as the unconscious demonstration that manifests the child’s sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and his resentment to the parent of the same sex. The Oedipus complex emerges at the age of three and five years old, and in  the phallic phase of sexual development described by Freud, which follows the oral and anal phases and is preceding to the genital phase that begins in puberty. According to Freud, there is no definite analogous between the male and female Oedipus complex.The Oedipus complex develops in the male child at the end with the emergence of the castration complex, that is, the identification by the child that the father figure represents a hindrance to the recognition of his incestuous wishes. He then relinquishes the mother and develops towards an identification with the father that let him to pick up objects different from the mother, but of her same sex. In contrasts to this development in the male child, the Oedipus complex in the female child is turned into possible by her wakefulness of castration, which results in penis envy. The complex is noticed in her desire to have a child by her father. The girl, then, has to give up her mother as an object of the same sex in order to reorient herself toward the desire of the paternal penis. To explain this notion Freud asserted that the libido present from the beginning in both sexes is of a male nature. For Freud, the postulation of this libidinal monism is substantiated by the equivalence between the female refusal of femininity in the form of penis envy and the male resistance against the passive attitude toward other men. He further stated the denial of feminine passivity is embedded in the biological basis of sexuality, which psychoanalysis is unable of altering (Morgan, 1981, pg: 521).Freud focused on the progressive replacement of erotogenic zones in the body by others to predict the decisive development of the sexual drive. He explained that an initially polymorphous sexuality first look for satisfaction orally through sucking at the mother’s breast, an object for which other substitutes can later be provided. The infant comes to realize its mother as the first external love object because initially he can not differentiate between self and breast. Afterward Freud would challenged that even before that moment, the child can indulgence its own body as such an object, going beyond undifferentiated autoeroticism to a egotistical love for the self as such. Because Freud mainly believed on male sexuality as the standard of development, his investigation of third phase aroused substantial resistance, due to his declaration that its major concern is castration anxiety. To understand this concept of fear meant by Freud, it is essential to comprehend one of his innermost contentions. It has been stated that the death of Freud’s father created shock that allowed him to look into his own psyche. He speculates that every male child has a desire to sleep with his mother and remove the obstruction to the realization of that wish, his father. He later called the Oedipus complex which presents the child with a decisive problem, for the unrealizable longing at its root aggravates an imagined response on the part of the father that is the danger of castration. If the Oedipus complex associated with castration anxiety is being resolved then the phallic stage can only be successfully passed. Freud explained that this resolution can take place when the boy finally represses his sexual desire for the mother, entering a period of latency, and internalizes the reproachful ruling out of the father, making it his own with the construction of that part of the psyche which  Freud labeled the superego or the conscience.If the conception of ethnicity is understood as the institution of relationship structures based on exogamy, then the Oedipal drama reveals the deeper resist between natural desire and cultural authority. Freud, conversely, always preserved the intra psychic significance of the Oedipus complex, whose thriving resolution is the prerequisite for the changeover through latency to the mature sexuality.  Freud observed that the parent of the opposite sex is irrefutably neglected in support of a more appropriate love object able to respond reproductively useful fervor. He detailed that sexual development is upsetting maladjustments thwarting this upshot if the psychosexual stages are unsuccessfully passed. At any time, fixation of sexual objects can come about that is caused either by an actual disturbance or the obstruction of a dominant libidinal urge. If the fixation is permissible to put across itself straightforwardly at a later age, it results in distortion. Freud argued that if some part of the psyche forbids such overt expression then repressed and censored impulse produces neurotic symptoms, neuroses being conceptualized as the negative of perversions. Freud’s theory of the sexual origin of neurosis comes from the reality that he observed many of his patients suffered from hysteria and he diagnosed sexual repression to be the reason. Conformist Freudians acknowledge believing in the sexual origin of all neurosis, and since they look for unconscious sexual memories in their patients, and interpret what they hear into sexual symbols (Blunden, 1998).Perception of female sexuality is one of the most disparaged aspects of Freud’s psychoanalytical theory. Sigmund Freud believed that sexual gratification was a fundamental need for both men and women. However, he wasn’t at all certain that women could grown-up to reach their sexual potential. Dr. Freud had a commanding pessimistic influence on the understanding of the sexual nature of women. Sigmund Freud theorized that men are being gradually thrashed for years over some imprudent annotations about female sexuality. Freud constantly affirmed his unawareness of female sexuality all through his work. Due to social factors, he disposed to look upon this ignorance as human being. He increasingly seemed it as arising from the psychology of women and the nature of femininity itself. In the beginning of 1905, he attributed the impenetrable obscurity surrounding female sexuality to a certain extent to the stunting effect of civilized conditions and partly to the conventional secretiveness and insincerity of women.Later on, for explanation given that the nature of femininity is itself a puzzle, Freud agreed to a new prudence concerning the applicability of the oedipal model to the little girl. The theory of adult female sexuality proposed by Freud rests upon his concept of the Oedipus complex, which is basically that “the boy regards his mother as his own property” (Freud 1961, pg: 48). Freud observes this thought infringing up when the boy enters in  adolescent stage, because, as he writes “the time has come for disintegration, just as the milk teeth fall out when the permanent ones begin to grow” (Freud 1961, pg: 48). While Freud’s theory caused quite a blend, it is a historic phenomenon, and man descends from lower creatures. It has to be considered that at the time when Freud developed his thoughts, he lived in the society (Viennese) where women were stringently the second sex and were well thought-out to be useful as wives and mothers. It meant females were considered as progenitors of the family and nation.Even though he deeply premeditated the notion of a boy’s need his mother, but it is also a need to know that there laid within many women the need for sexual aggressiveness. Freud again emphasizes that women have a desire for physical sex but it is not necessary to give birth to baby. In some way, Freud gave contradictory statement that is he refers to the primacy of the phallus for both sexes, he warns that we can describe this state of things only as it affects the male child, the corresponding processes in the little girl are not known to us. Freud writings on female sexuality were developed in 1931 when Freud comes to the understanding of something that he had been incapable to see before that fact behind the woman’s entire sexual development was the little girl’s attachment to the pre-oedipal mother. After such observation, He appropriately eulogizes the research of women analysts and explains his lack of knowledge as a problem of counter-transference. It is a truth that Freud never renounces his conviction in the importance of penis envy for female sexuality.  In Analysis Terminable and Interminable, he explains the suspicion that one has been “preaching to the winds” when one is trying to convince a woman to abandon her wish for a penis.  Later on, he also pressurizes the importance for female sexuality of an strong and enduring attachment to the pre oedipal mother an attachment that marks all succeeding love objects, including, most importantly, the attachment to the Oedipal father (Grigg, pg:7-8).Freud stated that sexual desires conflicts with one another, with social conventions, and most vitally, with reality. He scrutinized them as primary but by no means entirely fulfilled. According to Freud’s clearing up, we have much desire for what we do not have or what we feel we have lost, and these unfulfilled desires find expression in surprising, sometimes troubling ways. When Freud thought his theory of psychoanalysis is valuable and he provide therapy to help frustrated women to understand their need for sexual recognition, and to realize that their sons have a ostensibly unnatural attachment to their mothers, he look into deeper into women’s wishes. Even though Freud admitted his comparative unawareness about the desires of women, he contemplated that their sex drives helped form a distinctive female subjectivity. These assumptions aggravated lively disagreements among his followers and critics that are still continue today. In Freud’s analysis, the little girl had to come to terms with her self-perception of being a botched boy.Many critics from Freud’s times and today have comments that Freud seems superciliousness toward homosexuality. Freud’s own theories created many qualms that women are often frightened that Oedipus complex that turns them at a very early age to an apparent need for sexual attention from their mothers and never to another woman. He observed that both young girls and boys have a need for their mothers, but girls seem to grow out of it more rapidly as compared to boys. On the contrary, Freud observed one upsetting growing-up observable fact which appears to persists into female adulthood. In the beginning, the boy child’s penis and the girl child’s clitoris are to some extent equal. It is only when girl makes a comparison with a playfellow of the other sex, she perceives that she has come off faultily and she examines this as a serious mistake done to her and she developed inferiority complex (Freud 1961, pg: 51). This feeling of inferiority, women faces till adult life. When this awareness crops up, women were considered inferior in many ways, and consequently the feelings of adult woman persevered.According to Freud’s exploration about female sexuality, when girls enter to the stage of adulthood, somehow the male castration complex turns into trepidation of the loss of love. In other way, it can be concluded that adult female sexuality is a searching for love and for some sort of equalization of her female genitalia with that of a male. She is entered rather than doing any entering, which makes her submissive and in need of a male sexual partner to make her feel imperative within the limits of her sexuality. Freud stated that man can gratify their sexual desire more willingly than women, but the woman in a passive position that pursues her throughout her life. She is left with two wishes “to possess a penis and a child which prepares the female creature for her later sexual role” (Freud 1961, pg: 52). According to Freud’s analysis, females have clear understanding that she will never have a penis, and that, without a dominant male, she can never achieve her second wish.Another adjustment observed in a woman’s nature that may arise in a marriage when she gives birth to first child. Under the pressure of a woman’s becoming a mother herself, recognition with her own mother may be invigorated, against which she had struggle up till the time of her marriage, and this may attract the entire available libido to itself. Her attitude as a mother in differentiating reaction to the birth of a son or a daughter represents that the old factor of lack of a penis has even now lost its potency. A mother is only brought limitless contentment by her relation to a son, this is overall the most ideal, the most free from ambivalence of all human relationships. Later on, many analysts of female sexuality have focused more consideration to the girl’s relations with the pre-Oedipal mother than to the vicissitudes of the Oedipus complex.The most important contribution of Freud’s psychoanalytic theories is perhaps the fact that it raised more study of the human mind, and the motivation behind an individual’s behavior, thus leading to more study and innovation of new ideas and theories. His work had a thoughtful influence on a female sexuality. Freud’s psychoanalysis was focused on general concept that is Oedipus complex. His observations were restricted to cultural concepts. His theory of sexuality was adapted by number of modern theorists which did not put more stress on sexuality that our society tackles in a very different from those of Viennease society in Freud’s day (Morgan 1981, pg: 527). Freud’s account of female sexuality is critically weakened by the ideological hierarchies and asymmetries he inherited from his surroundings and scholarly environment. Freudian psychology, with its prominence on freedom from a repressive morality to achieve sexual realization, was part of the ideology of women’s liberation. Freud was a most insightful and precise observer of important problems of the human personality (Blunden, 1998).;

How to cite this page

Choose cite format:

Sigmund Freud’s theory on female sexuality. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-sigmund-freuds-theory-on-female-sexuality/

We will write a custom paper sample onSigmund Freud’s theory on female sexualityspecifically for you

for only $16.38 $13.9/page
Order now

Our customer support team is available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm EST. If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less.

By clicking "Send Message", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
No results found for “ image
Try Our service

Hi, I am Colleen from Paperap.

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Click to learn more https://goo.gl/CYf83b