An Overview of Sigmund Freud’s Definition of Childhood Sexuality

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In the reading, the author discusses childhood sexuality in which Freud analyzed through his patients. Childhood sexuality is the child’s own sexual experience before sexual maturity. It is relative of the Oedipal complex coined by Freud. In most of cases, Freud’s patients were not just hysterics but suffered from traumatic events before the age of six that all had to do with sexuality. In the text, it talks about dreams and the hypnotized mind, both methods in which Freud discovered the troubling stories from his patients.

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Freud’s patient, Gloria, had a curious early relationship with her father. It’s important that I note many of her memories arose only over the course of treatment. Gloria had encounters regarding sheer curiosity around her father’s genitals; wondering mostly on what it is and understanding how to react to something that both interested and disgusted her. Freud found that a child’s natural innocence does not allow them to process these experiences and it later victimizes them when sexually matured, i.e. neurosis and psychosis.

Gloria’s analysis revolved around the traumatic relationship with her father and within the analysis one could draw that it too was interesting yet disgusting: “dangerous.” What she presented to Freud was all instances she wanted to decode but was afraid that the analysis itself would devastate her, like her father. Freud also found that dissecting each memory of childhood sexuality; they were  connected to an actual sexual encounter. And eventually it led him to discover infantile seduction.

Infantile seduction is what the child did not understand when experiencing said traumatic events. It is the lack of understanding of sexual instance carried from childhood to the intensity of sexual maturity and one will either have neurosis or psychosis based on what they encountered (being victimized later from something they did not understand in the past).

Freud wondered if he had any encounters. With infantile seduction because he had neurotic symptoms. So he thought he might have been seduced. When he analyzed his dreams he uncovered something similar to the Oedipal Complex. In which he had sexual longings for his mother and felt rivalry with his father. A key discovery was that he never was seduced as a child but instead he desired to be seduced.

It’s later determined that childhood sexuality made possible the fabrication of the “events” his patients came to him with and that he found that many of the encounters had never taken place but were instead longings and desires he lassoed deep from his patients psyches. That these stories only arose when in analysis because it gave the patient the room to explore curiosity that later victimized them to a point of wanting and wondering what had really happened.

And with the possibility of infantile seduction on the verge of collapsing, he discovered that infantile sexuality was closer in that it rethought childhood innocence to fit the frame of sexual desires from a young age that never actually happened. These studies made possible that there is not moments of seduction in childhood but there is natural sexuality within us even before sexual maturity.

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An Overview of Sigmund Freud's Definition of Childhood Sexuality. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved December 6, 2022 , from
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