Sigmud Freud (1856-1939) is the father of psychoanalysis. Though psychoanalysis has declined, it has significantly influenced modern psychotherapy. In his essay on theories of sexuality (Abramson, 1905) and the psychosexual theory, he explained how each mental change in a human leads to the development of sexuality from childhood through adolescence and to adulthood.
During childhood, at various child development stages, infants derive sexual pleasure from a number of things. During the oral stage, children get satisfaction in nursing, while in the anal stage defecation becomes a source of pleasure. During the phallic stage, boys tend to be attracted to their mothers and so are the girls to their father (Freud, & Strachey, 2007). In latency stage, the child's sexual drives are hidden; thus, he or she achieves it through secondary factors such as friends and school among others. In the genital stage, adolescence directs their sexual energy to their pals with the prime reason of obtaining genital pleasure. Freud’s theory explains that the key role of human development is to derive sexual pleasure. According to him, sexual abuses during childhood manifest themselves even in adulthood.
Though Freud’s theory was highly criticized, his work played a crucial role in many aspects of human development. It helped in the understanding of various levels through which the brain operates. In children development, people become aware of sexual drives in children and the need to direct their feelings. Most importantly, the theory pioneered more research in children sexuality that has led to more understanding of children psychology.
Today Freud’s theory still plays an integral role in explaining human development. According to Quinodoz, J.M. (2006), children phallic development stages noted by Freud may be used to explain the increase in masturbation, incest and homosexuality in societies. As a result, parental attraction by the opposite sex increased. In addition, children exploration of their genitals for sexual pressure prevails as parents are more involved in economic endeavors today leaving children without anyone to direct them.