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In Freudian psychology, each child passes through five psychosexual stages. During each stage, the id focuses on a distinct erogenous zone on the body. According to Freud, suffering from trauma during any of the first three stages may result in fixation. Freud related the resolutions of the stages with adult personalities and personality disorders.

A summary of Freud's five psychosexual stages is as follows:

Stage Age Range Erogenous zone(s) Consequences of Fixation
Oral 0-18 months Mouth Oral fixation:

Passive dependence or excessive smoking/eating

Anal 18-36 months Bowel and bladder elimination Anal-retentiveness:

Obsession with organization or excessive neatness
Reckless, careless, defiant, disorganized

Phallic 3-6 years Genitals Oedipus complex (in boys only according to Freud)

Electra complex (in girls according to Freud, termed by Jung)

Latency 6 years-puberty Dormant sexual feelings (People do not tend to fixate at this stage.)
Genital Puberty and beyond Sexual interests mature N/A

Despite their popularity among psychoanalytical psychologists, Freud's psychosexual theories are commonly criticized for their sexism. For example, Freud stated that young females develop "penis envy" toward the males during their psychosexual development. In response, Karen Horney, a German Freudian psychoanalytic, argued that young females develop "power envy" instead of "penis envy" toward the male.

The popularity of Freud's stages of psychosexual development are still widely seen today in the American society. Commonly people refer to others with obsessive compulsive disorder as anal.

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