Oral Fixation – Definition, Psychology, Developmentand Examples

Curious to know about Oral Fixation?Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud introduced the theory of psychosexual development, in the early 1900s. He thinks that children experience five psychosexual stages that identify their behavior as adults.

According to the theory, a toddler is sensually aroused by certain stimuli during each stage. These stimuli are said to satisfy developmental needs.

But if a child’s needs aren’t met during a selected stage, they will develop a fixation or “hang-up” associated with the phase. In adulthood, these unresolved needs could also be expressed as negative behaviors.

If the hang-up occurs during the oral phase, it’s known as oral fixation. The oral phase is when a toddler is most aroused by oral stimulation. Freud told that oral fixation causes negative oral behaviors in adulthood.

However, there aren’t any recent studies on the topic. Most of the available research is extremely old. The theory of psychosexual development is additionally a controversial point in current psychology.

oral fixation definition
oral fixation definition

How Fixations Develop

According to psychoanalyst Freud, children develop through a series of psychosexual stages during which the id’s libidinal energies become focused on different areas of the body.

During the anal phase, as an example, a toddler supposedly gains a way of satisfaction and accomplishment by controlling his or her bladder and bowel movements. So what does this need to do with the event of a fixation?

Sigmund Freud assumed that the construction of a healthy adult personality was the result of completing each of the psychosexual stages. At each point in development, children face a conflict that has got to be resolved to maneuver successfully on to the subsequent stage.

In addition to resulting from failure at a particular stage of growth, Freud also believed that fixations could result if a specific left stage a dominant impression on a person’s personality.

Resolving the psychosexual conflicts requires a substantial amount of the libido’s energy. If an excellent deal of this energy is expended at a specific point in development, the events of that stage may ultimately leave a stronger impression thereon an individual’s personality.

oral fixation meaning
oral fixation meaning

Examples of Fixations

There are various ways, 3 fixations mentioned below may manifest in several individuals.

Oral Fixations

As mentioned before, Freud might suggest that nail-biting, smoking, gum-chewing, and excessive drinking are symptoms of an oral fixation. This can indicate that the individual didn’t resolve the first conflicts during the earliest stage of growth, the oral phase.

For example, Freud might suggest that if a toddler has issues during the weaning process, they could develop an oral fixation.

Anal Fixations

The second stage of growth is understood because of the anal phase since it’s primarily focused on controlling bowel movements. Fixations at now in development can cause what Freud called anal-retentive and anal-expulsive personalities.

  • Anal-retentive individuals: This group may have experienced overly strict and harsh potty training as children and should grow to be overly hooked into orderliness and tidiness.
  • Anal-expulsive individuals: On the other side, anal-expulsive individuals may have encountered much lax potty training leading to them being very disordered as adults.

In each case, both sorts of fixations result from not correctly resolving the hazardous conflict that takes place during that stage of development.

Phallic Fixations

The phallic phase of development is primarily focused on identifying with the same-sex parent. Freud suggested that fixations at now could lead to adult personalities that are overly vain, exhibitionistic, and sexually aggressive.
At this stage, of development boys may develop what Freud mentioned as an Oedipus complex. Girls may develop a similar issue referred to as an Electra complex. If not resolved, these complexes may linger and still affect behavior into adulthood, consistent with Freud.

Can an oral fixation be resolved?

Oral fixation is often treated. Commonly, treatment includes reducing or stopping negative oral behavior. It’s going to also include replacing the negative behavior with a positive one.

Therapy is the main component of treatment. A psychological state professional will assist you to explore underlying emotional conflicts, alongside healthier coping strategies.

For example, if you bite your nails, a psychological state specialist might specialize in managing emotions that trigger nail-biting. They’ll also suggest chewing gum to stay your mouth occupied.

Other components of treatment depend upon the behavior and its side effects. Pica, for instance, might require nutritional intervention to correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies that will be present.

Freud’s psychosexual stages of development

In Freud’s psychosexual statement, there are 5 stages of development:

Oral stage (birth to 18 months)

During the oral phase, a toddler is most stimulated by the mouth. They could develop negative oral behaviors in adulthood if these needs aren’t met.

Anal stage (18 months to three years)

A child’s pleasure comes from controlling their feces. If potty training is just too strict or lax, they’ll have issues with control and organization in adulthood.

Phallic stage (3 to five years old)

In the phallic phase, the main target of delight is on the genitals.
According to Freud, this is often when a toddler is subconsciously sexually interested in the parent of the other sex. This is often called the Oedipus complex in boys and the Electra complex in girls.

The latency period (5 to 12 years of age)

The latency stage is when a child’s sexual interest within the lady is “dormant.” the kid is more curious about interacting with children of an equivalent gender.

Genital stage (12 to adulthood)

This marks the beginning of puberty. Freud said adolescents are most stimulated by the genitals and therefore the lady.


[wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: How does one know if you’ve got oral fixation?”]A: Sigmund Freud advises that nail-biting, gum-chewing, smoking, and excessive drinking are signs of an oral fixation. This can indicate that the individual didn’t resolve the first conflicts during the earliest stage of growth, the oral phase.[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q; Is oral fixation bad?”]A; As stated earlier, oral fixations cause the individual to take a seat with an open mouth posture with the tongue forward within the mouth, contributing to the lingual weakness. Additionally, other effects include Separation anxiety. Immature activities (crying and tantrums)[/wps_faq][wps_faq style=”classic” question=”Q: What is oral personality?”]A: A personality is fixed emotionally inside the oral phase of development, whose sexual and aggressive drives are satisfied by putting things in his or her mouth, According to the earliest theories of psychoanalysis.[/wps_faq]


In Freudian psychology, oral fixation is caused by unmet oral needs in infancy. This creates a persistent demand for oral stimulation, producing negative oral behaviors (like smoking and nail-biting) in adulthood.

Though this theory is documented, it’s received criticism from modern psychologists. There also isn’t any up-to-date research on oral fixation. But if you think that you’ve got an oral fixation, see a psychological state professional. They will assist you to manage your oral habits.