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Characteristics of infantile sexuality, sex and gender

The psychoanalytic study of sexuality encompasses much more than genital relations between a man and a woman. For Freud , regardless of the sex or the form of sexuality that an individual adopts, the roots of sexuality will have its origin in childhood , which begins with sexual development in the first years of a baby’s life.

Child sexuality

The development of infantile sexuality has special characteristics. Because it is pre-genital, the release of arousal does not occur via the genital route. That is why Freud spoke of the child as a polymorphic perverse , since if the adult instead of having a primordial genital discharge has for example a phallic discharge, he is considered a perverse.

This sexuality is also autoerotic , that is to say, pleasure resides and resides in the body itself and therefore no other subject is needed as such to achieve pleasure. The drives are partial in contrast to adult sexuality, love objects are also partial and are only a means to achieve pleasure, they do not count as something of importance in themselves.

In the oral phase the object of love is the mother’s breast, in the anal phase it is the feces and in the phallic phase it is the genitalia themselves, and it should be noted that in children there is no consideration of the internal genitalia since they are not seen.

Genital sexuality

Genital sexuality begins with puberty . The peak of puberty is the development of the genitals, marked by menarche (first menstruation) in women and the first ejaculation in men.

The latency period culminates with puberty because it triggers the psychic correlate that is adolescence . Infant sexuality is then left behind and the genital phase is entered. Now the erogenous zone that prevails are the external and internal genitalia and in relation to that area, genitality will fundamentally occur. The discharge of the arousal occurs primarily through the genital route, that is, all the drives that were previously partial are now  unified in favor of the main purpose that is the genital discharge.

In genital sexuality we find a total love object , which implies that for the achievement of pleasure an other is needed that counts as something different.

There is no longer autoeroticism as it occurred in infantile sexuality, which does not mean that the desires of pregenital sexuality disappear completely, nor that there is no masturbation, but the sexual discharge occurs in the genitals and primarily with an other that counts as such.

Difference between gender and sex

Many times we tend to confuse sexuality with gender and use these words interchangeably, but we must know that these two concepts, although they are related, do not mean the same thing. “Sex” and “gender” are words we commonly use to think about our identity.

Sex

We usually refer to someone’s sex when we talk about a person’s identity based on their physical characteristics (penis, vagina, facial hair or breasts), genes, and hormones.

We assign the sex of a newborn as male or female, based on their genitalia. Someone born with a penis will be a boy and someone with a vulva will be a girl.

But sex doesn’t just define people as male or female. There are people who have genetic, hormonal and physical characteristics typical of men and women at the same time, so their biological sex is not clearly defined. These people are called “intersex.”

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Gender

While our gender may begin with the assignment of our sex, it does not end there.

Within society there are certain expected patterns of behavior that define a person’s gender. People are expected to look and behave in a certain way, based on their biological sex (male or female).

The gender of a person is established through the interrelation of three elements: body, identity and expression.

Body:  the body, the experience of our own body, what we feel about our body, what the bodies of the genders of society are like, and how other people interact with us based on our body.

Identity: our deep inner sense of recognition as: male, female, both sexes, or neither.

Expression: how we present our gender to the outside and how society, culture, community and family perceive it, interact with and try to shape our gender. Gender expression is also related to gender roles and how society imposes those roles to try to enforce gender norms.

Gender in society

At the social level, men are expected to act and appear ‘masculine’ and women ‘feminine’. But there is a reality that has become more visible today and, some people get in the way of that expected pattern of behavior imposed by society and decide to be true to their instincts, behaving as their body and mind wish and not as required. the culture or society in which they live.

We all express masculinity and femininity in different ways, and we all relate to the elements of masculinity or femininity differently. There are men who feel more identified with the female sex and women who feel more identified with the male sex. Other people do not identify with either sex or both, this is also fine, although some prejudiced people tend to call it “abnormal.” But to define something as abnormal I think we should first ask ourselves: what is really “normal”?

It is estimated that the normal thing is to follow a common pattern of behavior with other people, if the majority of people behave in such a way, that will be normal according to the rules of society. But … why should a person who does not follow social rules be called “abnormal”? Abnormality refers to the mismatch of the society and culture that surrounds a person. Prejudiced people tend to label those who deviate from ‘normal’ as abnormal, but this also varies in perception. It does not mean that this adjudicated “defect” is real, but that it can be perceived in a certain way by one person and in a different way by another.

Gender and sexual orientation

We tend to mistakenly think that gender identity and sexual orientation mean the same thing. However, gender and sexual orientation are two different aspects of our identity.

Gender is something internal and personal, it is how we see ourselves and how we feel about our body, while sexual orientation is interpersonal, it refers to who we are attracted to physically or emotionally.

Some people tend to speculate about the gender and sexual orientation of others. The boy is forced by society to play with cars and the girl with dolls. If a man is seen in a beauty salon he is supposed to be gay and if a woman wears short hair and wears loose clothing he is supposed to be a lesbian. These are wrong conclusions. What someone wears, or a haircut, is related to gender expression, not sexual orientation.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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