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Oedipus and Electra Complexes. FIY – a mini lesson in psychology .

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Oedipus and electra complexes

Oedipus and Electra Complexes

FIY – a mini lesson in psychology 


In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, repressed. These emotions/ideas concentrate upon a boy’s desire to sexually possess his mother, and kill his father (from Greek play Oedipus Rex).

Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, who coined the term "Oedipus complex" believed that the Oedipus complex is a desire for the mother in both sexes (he believed that girls have a homosexual attraction towards their mother); Freud disliked the term "Electra Complex", a term which was introduced by Carl Gustav Jung (his competitor+ both Freud and Jung were brand names).


  • The Oedipus complex occurs in the third — phallic stage (ages 3–6) — of five psychosexual development stages: (i) the Oral, (ii) the Anal, (iii) the Phallic, (iv) the Latent, and (v) the Genital — in which the source of libido (sexual) pleasure is in a different erogenous zone of the infant’s body.

  • In classical, Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the child’s identification with the same-sex parent is his and her key psychological experience to developing a mature sexual role and identity.

  • Freud further proposed that girls and boys resolved their complexes differently — he via castration anxiety, she via penis envy; and that unsuccessful resolutions might lead to neurosis, paedophilia, and homosexuality. Hence, men and women who are fixated in the Oedipal and Electra stages of their psychosexual development might be considered “mother-fixated” and “father-fixated” as revealed when the mate (sexual partner) resembles the mother or the father.


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