Child Development: Freud’s Genital Phase
The genital phase is the longest of the five stages. It lasts seven years from ages eleven to eighteen. This period is similar to the anal stage.
There is a renewed interest and pleasure derived from excretory activity. In addition, masturbation takes place and is engaged in much more frequently at this time than during the anal stage.
In the beginning of the genital phase, the person seeks associations with members of his own sex just as in the latency period. But the associations are stronger in the genital phase and Freud believed that they are homosexual in nature, even though homosexual activity may not take place. As this period progresses, however, the homosexual tendencies are supplanted by heterosexual ones and toward the latter part of this phase, the child makes contact and forms relationships with members of the opposite sex.
Also at this time, the superego undergoes further development and becomes more flexible. In the latency period the superego is quite rigid. The child adopts rules in the most literal sense. During the genital phase, the individual realizes that some rules are less vital than others. Consequently, his behavior will reflect this. He accepts some rules or norms and makes exceptions to others.