6) The Phases of Development of the Sexual Organization

Infantile sexual life is essentially auto-erotic (i.e. the object is the infant's own body) and its individual component instincts are upon the whole disconnected and independent of each other in their search for pleasure. However the final outcome of sexual development, in normal adults, involves the pursuit of pleasure under the sway of the reproductive function, and the component instincts form a firm organization directed to a sexual aim to an external object.

Pregenital Organizations

First we should note that it is only in pathological cases that phases are recognizable, in others they are passed through smoothly. 'Pregenital' is the organizations of sexual life in which the genitals have not yet taken their dominant part. It can be divided into two phases - 'oral' and 'sadistic-anal'. Alongside these are component auto-erotic instincts, but organization and subordination to the reproductive function are still absent.


This is characterized by the fact that opposing pairs of instincts - sadistic and anal - are developed to an equal extent. This phase may also incorporate the beginnings of rediverting of sexual aims to people, rather than themselves. Thus the establishment of the subordination of the reproductive function is the last phase through which the organization of sexuality passes.

Diphasic Choice of Object

The first phase, between the ages of two and five, is characterised by the infantile nature of the sexual aims. The second phase sets in with puberty and determines the final outcome of sexual life and is roughly concerned with converging the two currents - 'sensual' and 'affectionate', so that the focusing of desires on a single object will be attainable.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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