Main Menu
©1998-2013 Maria Helena Rowell

The Genital Stage
Freud's fourth phase of psychosexual development


Preceded by the latency period, the genital organization proper takes over at puberty when the component instincts are definitely integrated in the sex-specific genital primacy. It is the final stage in instinctual libidinal development.

In the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Freud clarifies his conception: "The only difference lies in the fact that in childhood the combination of the component instincts and their subordination under the primacy of the genitals have been effected only very incompletely or not at all. Thus the establishment of that primacy in the service of reproduction is the last phase through which the organisation of sexuality passes" [SE, VII, 199]

Fixations and regressions may halt libidinal development and interfere with genital primacy and adequate genital functioning in adult life.


Freud, S. - Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905) [SE, VII, 199] - Buy this book

Brenner, C. - An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis - Buy this book

Laplanche, J. & Pontalis, J.-B. - The Language of Psychoanalysis, London, KARNAC, 1988 - Buy this book

Moore, B. E. & Fine, B. D. - Psychoanalytic Terms & Concepts, New Haven, The American Psychoanalytic Association and Yale University Press, 1990 - Buy this book

Glossary/ Index Oral Stage Anal Stage Phallic Stage Latency Period These Books