Updated: JUNE 3, 2019

Psychosexual is an adjective which describes something which relates to the mental and emotional components of sexuality. The term was coined around 1897 by Sigmund Freud, who looked to explain the development of human sexuality through his stages of psychosexual development. This descriptor was later adopted by other sexual experts, giving rise to other common terms including psychosexual dysfunction, psychosexual disorders, and psychosexual counseling.

More About Psychosexual

The term psychosexual recognizes the elements of sex and sexuality that go beyond physicality. Through his usage of the term, Sigmund Freud showed others that much more than the physical body went into sex and sexual development. His stages of psychosexual development go beyond the physical changes experienced by the body during puberty and growing sexual awareness. He believed all humans go through an oral, anal, phallic, and genital psychosexual stage at various points in their development. When an individual moves through these stages without any problems or fixations, it does not influence his or her personality. If significant problems or fixations occur, such as trauma when toilet training during the anal stage, an anally focused kink or fixation may become part of the individual’s sexual identity.

Similarly, the term psychosexual has been used to denote the non-physical aspects of various other sexual concerns. Psychosexual disorders are sexual problems that stem from non-physical problems. Erectile dysfunction, rapid ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, low libido, sexual compulsions, painful intercourse, are just a few of the problems which may be psychosexual disorders. That’s because these problems can arise due to guilt surrounding sexuality, previous sexual abuse or trauma, anxiety, depression, and other psychological and emotional concerns. Problems with these psychosexual disorders may be treated through psychosexual counseling.


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