According to Freudian psychoanalysis, the fear of removal of the penis initiates the castration complex[i]. Freud believed that between 3 and 6 years of age, i.e., during the period which he defined as the phallic stage of sexual development[ii], the attachment of the child to the mother develops into the Oedipus complex.[iii] It stems from the desire of the child to sexually possess its mother (or the parent of the opposite sex according to other psychoanalysts) and to kill its father. With boys oedipal feelings lead to child–father rivalry and castration anxiety which consists in the unconscious fear of being castrated by the stronger father as a punishment for their desires.

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