Libido is a term used in psychoanalytic psychology to denote the fundamental sexual energy of the human organism, either a sexual “instinct” or “drive” which in simple terms compels us to reproduce the species. In Freud’s economic theory of the psyche, libido is proposed as the sexual source of all mental energy, which flows towards objects of our attention, thereby investing them with interest or cathecting those objects. In this way, libido establishes a psychic relationship with the object whether in fantasy or reality. The sublimation of libido into creative activity is the source of civilization for Freud, achieved through the complex processes of displacement of sexual energy away from the gratification of our individual desires, towards servicing the wider purposes of the social groups and institutions to which we belong.
Freud also described how libido cathects zones of the body during the early life of the child in phases called the oral, anal, and genital stages of...
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