Genitalization is the last step of sexual development described by Freud. Its occurrence at puberty gives sexual difference its definitive form. Simultaneously, it affects the preceding phases retroactively to transform them. The limits between different steps appear less in their chronological sequence than as a work of reformulating after the fact, which suggests a re-evaluation of the theory, in particular of the phallic-genital articulation. Some hypotheses are formulated regarding the originary and the primitive, of the castration complex and the negative at puberty.
One cannot love others if one does not first love oneself, which the psychoanalyst translates in another way when he reminds us that narcissism is an indispensable preliminary to any relationship. The same thing could be said of the sex, properly speaking. The human subject cannot love the other’s sex, and thus face up to the difference that it represents at every level of existence, if he or she does not first love and invest his or her own sex, as a genital, drive and ideal object. This presupposes that he or she is provoked and recognized by the adult, and keeps the possibility of regularly getting free of this control in order to assert him- or herself according to his or her own desire.