What is the "Oedipus Complex"?

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The psychoanalytic theory known as the "Oedipus complex" is based on the mythological character of Oedipus, who kills his father and marries his mother. According to the famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, the urge for a young male to sexually possess his mother is a common one. Many boys feel their first "sexual impulse" toward their mother and their initial feeling of hatred or murderous intent toward the father. Freud insists that women are also vulnerable to a female Oedipus complex in which their attraction for their father ("father fixation") dictates the type of men they pursue in later years; with boys, it is the "mother fixation" that likewise causes them to seek out women with characteristics of their mother.

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Freud

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