DOI link for Infantile Psychosexuality
Infantile Psychosexuality book
A further contribution to psychosexuality and to the etiology of psychoneuroses, and one of the most fundamental of all Freud's discoveries, is his elucidation of the sexual impulses of the first five years of life. He showed that the sexual wishes of the adult unconscious which give rise to psychoneurosis, as well as to many normal and desirable but emotionally immature aspects of adult life--such as wit, play, superstition, dreams, and religion-are directly related to associated sexual wishes of what Freud called the "infantile period," the first five years of a child's life. In other words, those infantile wishes which were not fully gratified or transformed, in the process of development, into wishes capable of some adult form of conscious gratification, persist in the unconscious of the adult and motivate many features of his life. What the little child had sought to gratify consciously though secretly by masturbation, phantasy, and play, the adult neurotic gratifies unconsciously by symptom or character trait, and the normal adult by such mental processes as dreams, art, and wit. This is Freud's conclusion from the study of unconscious phantasies and memories of childhood, and the manifold correlations of these with other details of the adult's life.