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The Psychosexual Development Theory of Freud and Miley Cyrus

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Freud’s Theory of Psychosexual Development and Miley Cyrus

In 1905, Sigmund Freud proposed the Theory of Psychosexual Development that consists of five stages. These five stages each represent a fixation of libido, or one’s sexual drive on a different area of the body. As an individual grows, these areas become potential sources of frustration, pleasure, or even both. One thing that Freud believed was that life was built around releasing one’s tension and the tension was built up from libido. Each of the psychosexual stages is associated with a particular tension that must be resolved before an individual can move to the next stage. To resolve the tension in a particular stage, it requires the expenditure of sexual energy. It is common that individuals may be stuck in a particular stage, this is called a fixation. This could be a result of frustration, where the person’s needs were not met, or overindulgence, where the person’s needs were so satisfied that he or she may be reluctant to advance to the next stage.

The first stage of the psychosexual theory is the oral stage. This stage usually occurs when the individual is zero to two years old. In this stage, the libido is focused on an individual’s mouth. This is where a baby receives satisfaction from breastfeeding, sucking, biting or putting a variety of objects in their mouth to meet their needs. Later in life, we can see oral personalities in smokers, nail biters or thumb suckers, particularly when someone is under stress. A well-known celebrity Miley Cyrus engages in these behaviors frequently. She is shown licking a sledgehammer in her music video “Wrecking Ball” and has often been photographed sticking her tongue out.

The next stage is the anal stage. This stage occurs when the individual is around one to three years old. Usually by now, the child is aware that he or she is their own person and has developed expectations from the outside world. In this stage, the child receives pleasure from defecating and tension is built when adults try to control when he or she is allowed to defecate, i.e. potty training. This type of conflict determines how a child will interact with authority later in life. Adults that have a fixation in this stage tend to develop an anal-expulsive personality. This leads to a lack of self control, carelessness and messiness. Miley Cyrus illustrated these personality characteristics by rebelling from her Disney character, Hannah Montana. Cyrus went from a sweet, southern belle to an eccentric, free-spirited rocker. Today, Cyrus’s performances can also be seen as messy and chaotic. Her concerts can include riding on penis-shaped swings to dancing suggestively with little people.

The third stage typically happens from the age of three to six and this is the phallic stage. The attention is now focused on genitals. Girls and boys are becoming aware of their anatomical sex differences. This puts forth many potential conflicts set in attraction, resentment, and/or jealously. Girls can develop penis envy. This is when they become jealous of boys for having something that they do not. There is also the Oedipus complex, where boys can feel an attraction to their mother and start feeling resentment towards their father. Conflict in this stage can be resolved through identification of one’s own sex by adopting characteristics of the parent that share the individual’s sex. Miley Cyrus seems to display a fixation in this stage by illustrating a clear obsession with her own genitals. On many occasions Cyrus can be seen grabbing her crotch during performances.

The fourth stage is from six years old to around puberty and is called the latency stage. Psychosexual development has come to a stop and most of an individual’s sexual impulses are repressed due to the individual increasing his or her focus on school, sports or hobbies, and friendships. According to Freud’s theory, if you have a fixation in one stage, then you cannot move forward to the next stage and clearly, Miley Cyrus has not matured to this point yet. She continues to have a high sexual drive in her music and the way she behaves.

Lastly, the genital stage lasts from puberty to adulthood. This stage focuses on sexual experimentation. Sexual instinct is directed away from self pleasure and more towards getting pleasure from others. Conflict in this stage can be resolved by having a loving, monogamous relationship with another. Miley Cyrus certainly illustrates experimentation by showing public displays of affection with both sexes, but clearly has conflict in this stage because her relationship with Chris Hemsworth seems to end as soon as it gets started again.

To conclude, while Freud’s theory of psychosexual development is just a theory, it is quite easy to find real-world examples of people that may have potential fixations in one of the stages. When a child star, such as Miley Cyrus is pushed into the real world before she even has the chance to discover who she is yet, then it is no surprise if she develops a few fixations.

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The Psychosexual Development Theory Of Freud And Miley Cyrus. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from
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