Oedipus complex

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In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrates upon a child’s desire to sexually possess the parent of the opposite sex (e.g. males attracted to their mothers, whereas females are attracted to their fathers). Sigmund Freud, who coined the term “Oedipus complex” believed that the Oedipus complex is a desire for the parent in both males and females; Freud deprecated the term “Electra complex”, which was introduced by Carl Gustav Jung in regards to the Oedipus Complex manifested in young girls. The Oedipus complex occurs in the third phallic stage (between ages 3–6) of five psychosexual development stages: 1st the oral,  2nd the anal, 3rd the phallic, 4th the latent, and 5th the genital; in which the source of libidinal pleasure is in a different erogenous zone of the infant’s body.

In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, child’s identification with the same-sex parent is the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex and of the Electra complex; key psychological experiences that are necessary for the development of a mature sexual role and identity. Sigmund Freud further proposed that boys and girls experience the complexes differently: boys in a form of castration anxiety, girls in a form of penis envy; and that unsuccessful resolution of the complexes might lead to neurosis, paedophilia, and homosexuality. Men and women who are fixated in the Oedipal and Electra stages of their psychosexual development might be considered “mother-fixated” and “father-fixated”. In adult life this can lead to a choice of a sexual partner who resembles one’s parent.

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Academic year 2012/2013
© a.r.e.a./Dr.Vicente Forés López
© Aitor Bori Ibáñez
aiboi@alumni.uv.es

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