Freud’s psychosexual developmental theory was and remains among the most controversial of his ideas. Like all stage theories, it assumed a logical and necessary progression (i.e. teleology) from simple to complex, from undeveloped to developed and from a potentially regressed (or fixated) state to forward progression. It is especially important to understand the paradigm shift brought about by Freud’s linking of the ‘psycho’ with the ‘sexual’. For Freud the human experience is always and necessarily psychosexual. Otherwise, we are left with shallow and one-dimensional reductions of the psychological to empirical sexual behaviours (e.g. Kinsey, 1948, 1953).
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