• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Theories of sexual behaviors exist in cultural lore. The ancient Hindu Kama Sutra describes a prominent societal role for sexuality and provides detailed prescriptions for seduction and erotic practices (Vatsayana, 1963).

Psychoanalytic Theory

Sigmund Freud (1939) pioneered a theoretical psychoanalytic framework to conceptualize psychosexual development. Infants go through developmental stages, each of which is defined by an erogenous zone of the body—the oral, the anal, and then the genital—that is especially vulnerable and sensitive to stimulation. Young children derive sexual pleasure instinctually from each zone. Thus, the word sexual has a broader meaning in Freudian theory, since sucking, swallowing, and biting would be pleasures of the earlier and later oral stages.

According to Freud, successful navigation through these stages requires conflict resolution to enable a child to ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles