Freud's seduction theory (German: Verführungstheorie) was a hypothesis posited in the mid-1890s by Sigmund Freud that he believed provided the solution to the problem of the origins of hysteria and obsessional neurosis.According to the theory, a repressed memory of an early childhood sexual abuse or molestation experience was the essential precondition for hysterical or obsessional symptoms.
Freud’s 1896 theory of the etiology of hysteria and obsessional neurosis was predicated on the notion that his patients had unconscious memories of experiences of sexual abuse in early childhood, and at the time he stated that “before they come for analysis the patients know nothing about these [conjectured] scenes,” and indeed during the.
It did not matter to Freud if the memories of sexual abuse in childhood were accurate or not; they reflected what he believed was a universal emotional drama of childhood. Repression, Freud decided, was not an attempt to avoid actual painful memories; it was a way of fighting off forbidden impulses or phantasies of the id.
Freud described children as going through multiple stages of sexual development, which he labeled Oral, Anal, Phallic, Latency, and Genital. In Freud's view, each stage focused on sexual activity and the pleasure received from a particular area of the body.