What, if anything, do you find impressive or unimpressive in Freud's account of infantile sexuality?

Essay by EileenmaloneUniversity, Bachelor'sC+, October 2006

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In this essay I am going to be discussing what I find impressive and unimpressive about Freud's account of infantile sexuality. Let it be known that this is a complex question, so therefore by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as arguable to others depending on individual beliefs. Therefore I have chosen to be selective, as no attempt will be made to be encyclopedic, rather I have selected some of the cardinal strengths within the subject matter. Within this essay I will be discussing what I find impressive and unimpressive in Freud's account of infantile sexuality and looking at the arguments against his theories as to why this taboo subject in Western society has become so controversial.

Freud's impact on Western culture at large has been immense with his challenging, isolated and dubious ideas being viewed as far-fetched and extremely controversial. This brings us onto the ideas and theories Freud had about childhood.

An oversimplified and somewhat caricatured version of Freud's theory figures in the well-known 'stages of development' recycled in every psychology book, e.g. - the so-called oral, anal, phallic and genital stages (S, Freud (1977). What was strikingly shocking in Freud, however, was his discovery that even small infants have an active sexual fantasy life. This discovery of 'infantile sexuality' remains highly controversial and is still persistently denied, as it undermines the myth of childhood 'innocence'.

Freud's theory of psychosexual development was based on his belief that humans are innately pleasure-seeking beings, with unconscious incestuous desires. (S, Freud (1977). He also maintained all pleasure was sexual in nature, and was derived from an instinctual drive he called the "Eros." The energy produced by this power source was referred to as the "Libido." Everyone is born with a basic sexual drive or instinctual energy and as an infant...