The significance of phallic symbols in psychoanalysis and culture

A phallus (also: phallic symbol) is usually a pictorial representation of the erect male member, for example as a sculpture or drawing. In many ancient cultures, the phallus not only stood for masculinity, but also for luck, fertility and protection in a figurative sense. The phallus still plays a central role in some cultural rituals and festivities today. You can find out more about the cultic worship of the phallus here.

The phallus plays a special role in psychoanalysis according to Sigmund Freud and his spiritual successors. Here, the phallic symbol is directly linked to the human penis and sexuality: it is about gender identity, gender differences and the satisfaction of urges. Nowadays, the phallus - at least outside of art - has a less profound, symbolic or mystical meaning. Find out what Sigmund Freud saw in the phallus - and what the tragic figure of Oedipus has to do with it - here.

The phallic phase according to Sigmund Freud

At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud laid the foundations for modern psychology with his theory of psychoanalysis. Even though many of his theories are now considered outdated or simply unverifiable, he was one of the first to research and treat traumatic experiences as the cause of mental illness. For Freud, (sexual) drive satisfaction plays a central role, especially in child development, in which boys and girls also have to learn that they cannot give in to every desire. For Freud, the phallus plays an important role in human psychosexual development - and not only in male development. The phallus is at the center of the so-called phallic phase, also known as the oedipal phase. Between around the ages of three and six, the phallus (the eponymous symbol) or the penis is the source of most pleasure. During this time, boys consciously realize that they have - to put it succinctly - a sexual organ that is very different from that of girls. This is how psychoanalysts like Freud explain the meaning and origin of children's doctor role-playing games: Children can discover their different bodies in an informal, playful way. For boys, the phallus becomes an object that they instinctively want to protect - so-called "castration anxiety" sets in. Girls, on the other hand, see the phallus as a body part that they simply do not possess. They feel disadvantaged in a certain way, a feeling that Sigmund Freud calls "penis envy".

Phallus & Oedipus

Once again, it should be emphasized: Freud's theories are largely unproven and are heavily criticized by many scientists today. As he made little use of empirical methods in his theorizing - he never observed children for his developmental model of the child, for example - one would be well advised to assign his thoughts on the significance of the phallus to the realm of the mystical. This impression is reinforced when one examines the question of why the phallic phase is also called the Oedipal phase. In fact, Freud draws a comparison here between the Oedipus legend and male psychosexual development: similar to Oedipus, who unknowingly married his mother and killed his father, young boys supposedly feel a sexual desire for their mother.

Accordingly, boys perceive their father as a great competitor and even a threat - and because he is physically superior to them, they compensate for their attraction to their mother by gradually imitating their father's characteristics. In this way, the Oedipus conflict (which, according to Sigmund Freud, is a natural part of normal male development) ultimately leads to identification with the male gender role.

In short, one could say that, according to Sigmund Freud, the phallus not only makes male sexuality possible, but is also responsible for their sexual identity. This is a far cry from the significance that phallic symbols have had in many cultures for thousands of years.

Phallic symbols today

Nowadays, the phallus is perceived as less symbolic. Today, the focus is more on the actual function of the penis as a sexual organ. However, this does not mean that the phallus has become less important or less present - on the contrary. Thanks to the modern emancipation of sexuality, the human penis is more often the subject of discussion and depicted than ever before.

For many men, however, the phallus has also become a symbol of worry and dissatisfaction. The majority of men are not happy with their own penis size. For some, the fear of not being a good lover or not being desirable is deep-seated. Such fears are completely normal - but there are ways to increase the size of your penis and therefore your self-confidence. Find out more about PHALLOSAN forte and your chance of fast, affordable penis enlargement without side effects.