We can find an oral fixation example in an adult person and also in a child. Many of which Dr. Sigmund Freud had suggested. So, let’s look at the oral fixation example.


Developmental issues during the oral stage can lead to the following behaviors according to the psycho analytic theory which are:


Overeating is a major oral fixation example according to psycho analytic theory. It has its association with being overfed or underfed in early life, which often leads to emotional conflicts in the oral stages.

Alcohol abuse

Most importantly if during the oral stage they neglect the child, they can develop a constant need for oral stimulation. So, because of that, they might suffer from the tendency to drink frequently. Eventually, this leads to alcohol abuse. According to Freud’s theory alcohol abuse has a direct link to childhood neglect. So, it is a form of oral fixation.


According to the theory of Dr. Sigmund Freud nail biting is also another form of oral fixation. As the act of biting one’s fingernails fulfills the need for oral stimulation it is an oral fixation.


The consumption of nonedible items is termed pica. It mostly develops because of habit, stress response, or eating disorder. It is an oral fixation example according to Freud’s theory.

Therefore, eating nonfoods satisfies excessive oral needs. This might include substances like chalk, soap, paper, cornstarch, dirt, and ice.

Smoking Cigarettes

The act of moving a cigarette to the mouth offers necessary oral stimulations. So it serves as an oral fixation example. So due to that, adults with oral fixation tend to smoke cigarettes. People also believe that e-cigarettes satisfy the same need. So it can satisfy their oral fixation.


Oral fixation in children mostly occurs when they are in their infancy. Infants tend to place items in and around the mouth to explore their environment. Mostly sucking items involves pleasure and usually calms a teething or hungry baby. Moreover, other ways to explore the environment are mouthing and chewing. So oral fixation may usually occur in infants but it can be prevented in many ways, one of which is weaning a child off a pacifier.

So we will now look and learn what can an oral fixation example be in children:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Chewing on fingers
  • Lip licking
  • Thumb sucking
  • Excessive biting, chewing, and sucking on items around
  • Licking objects

Oral Fixation: Meaning

So as we now know more or less everything about oral fixation examples. We should now focus on knowing what oral fixation is. Dr. Sigmund Freud a renowned psychoanalyst in the early 19th century introduced the theory of psycho sexual development. According to Dr. Fraud, there are five psycho sexual stages that children face that determine their behavior as adults.

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So, according to the theory, certain stimuli sensually arouse a child in each stage. These stimuli satisfy development needs. The oral stage which spans from birth to 21 months, is when the infant’s pleasure centers are around the lips and in the mouth of the infant. But if a “hang up” occurs which generally happens when they develop a fixation related to this phase, then it is termed as oral fixation. Dr. Fraud had said that oral fixation causes negative oral behaviors in adulthood.

Psychology of Oral Fixation

The psycho analytic theory suggests that early experiences usually play a large role in developing the personality that establishes at the age of five and also continues to influence behavior in later life. Mostly conflicts mark each stage of development which help in building growth but it also depends upon how they are resolving those conflicts. If a person successfully completes all these psycho sexual stages, the person will achieve a healthy personality.

If in the oral stage a person gets fixate which happens due to unresolved issues at particular stages. Oral fixation usually occurs when there is a persistent focus on an earlier psycho sexual stage. If they don’t resolve the conflict, the individual will stick in this stage.

Development of Oral Fixation

According to the psycho sexual theory oral fixation mostly occurs due to conflicts in the oral stage. So this is the first stage of psycho sexual development. Freud believed that an infant can develop oral fixation if their oral needs are not met. If parents are weaning off the infant too late or too early, it may also happen. So in this case they are not able to appropriately adjust to new eating habits.

Oral fixation also occurs in infants due to following reasons which are:

  1. If someone over feeds or over protects the infant. This is a case of excess oral simulation.
  2. If the infant is under fed and neglected. This is a case of a lack of oral stimulation.

So, these are some factors due to which oral fixation usually develops. One must remember that oral fixation is something from which many people suffer but it is really hard to get out of it.

Treatment of Oral Fixation

The treatment of oral fixation generally involves the reduction or stopping of oral behavior. It also involves of inclusion of positive behavior by replacing the negative ones.

One of the main components of oral fixation treatment is therapy. Generally, a mental health professional can help a person who is a victim of oral fixation in exploring internal conflicts. By applying better options of treatment they can resolve these internal conflicts.

The better options of treatment may include focusing on managing emotions that trigger nail biting. If the person bites his/her nails. Also, there are other components of the treatment of oral fixation like the behavior and its side effects. For instance, nutrition and medicines are used to treat pica.

What are the negative effects of oral fixation?

There are many negative effects of oral fixation like it causes the person to keep his/her mouth open with the tongue forward in the oral cavity. Because of that, the person suffers from lingual weakness. In addition to it there are some more effects which are:

  1. Poor eating habits
  2. Poor oral hygiene which includes drooling
  3. Separation anxiety
  4. Immature activities
  5. Oral motor issues that affect the tongue, lips, jaw, and placement of adult teeth

Oral Fixation Example

In real life, we will come across an oral fixation example. If we look out, we can easily get an account of an oral fixation example in an adult person and an oral fixation example in a child. One oral fixation example is that there is a boy whose name is Harry. He is 8 years old and he is suffering from oral fixation. He has separation anxiety he always tries to chew something nonedible continuously.

Another person who we can as an oral fixation example is a man name, Peter. He also suffers from oral fixation his age is 35 years. Peter has an excessive smoking problem and so overeats a lot. He also acts very immaturely sometimes.

These were two real-life encounters of oral fixation examples but their treatment is common which are consulting therapists or speech pathologists. And also finding appropriate chew replacements.


Oral Fixation: Freud’s Five Stages of Psycho – sexual Development

Dr. Sigmund Freud had proposed five stages of psycho sexual development which include the oral stage and which ultimately leads to oral fixation. But to understand oral fixation and oral stage, we need to deep dive into the theory that Dr. Freud had proposed. So according to Freud, there are five psycho sexual stages which are the oral, anal, phallic, and latency. and genital stages.

During each of these stages, sexual energy (libido) transfers through different parts of the body in different time periods. These stages are psycho sexual stages because each drive represents sexual instincts or drives on different areas of the body. When a person grows physically, certain areas of the body become important sources of potential pleasure point, frustration, or both.

The psycho analytic theory also suggests that the personality mostly establishes at the age of five. Because early experience plays a large role in developing the personality and also continues to influence the behavior of the person in later life.

Each stage of development contains several conflicts which if not resolved in time may lead to fixation. In an earlier psycho sexual stage, fixation is a persistent focus. A person who suffers from a fixation on the oral stage may is overtly dependent on eating, drinking, or eating.

Each of the psycho sexual stages involves a particular conflict. Before the person moves into the next stage they must resolve the conflicts which arise. These conflicts require the expense of sexual energy. If more energy expends from the body the characteristics of that stage remain with the person when mature even more.

Now let’s get to know about the five stages of psycho sexual of development in detail:

Oral Stage

It is the first stage of psycho sexual development. The age range of this stage is from birth to almost 1 year. In this stage, the libido is present in a baby’s mouth. As the mouth is very important for a child because they use it for eating, they derive pleasure from sucking and tasting. By doing this they satisfy the libido and its demands. According to Freud, this oral stimulation leads to an oral fixation in later life.

As infant depends on their caretakers at this stage of their life, they develop a sense of trust through this oral stimulation. At this stage, the primary conflict is the weaning process. The child should always rely less on their caretakers. According to Freud if fixation occurs in this stage they will have aggression or dependency issues.

Anal Stage

It is the second stage of psychosexual development. The age range of this stage is from 1 to 3 years. In this stage, the libido focuses on the anus, and the child derives pleasure from defecation. In this stage, the child starts to learn that a person has their own right and that is when the ego develops. Now their wishes bring conflict in the real world.

The major problem in this stage is toilet training. So in this stage, the child needs to understand their body needs. If they get this under control they will feel independent. According to Freud, parents play a very important role in this stage. If they give their children proper toilet training, the child would feel productive.

However, according to Freud if proper potty training is not there, conflicts will arise. The child will become stubborn. And if parents give harsh potty training to the child, they will become someone who hates mess, and who is obsessively tidy. So in simple words, improper potty training will lead to fixation.


Phallic Stage

It is the third stage of psycho sexual development. The age range of this stage is 3 to 6 years. In this stage, the libido focuses on the genitals of the child. According to Freud, children begin to discover the differences between males and females. In this stage erotic attraction, rivalry and resentment may also arise inside the mind of children.

However, some psychologists have discarded this theory. But this stage is very crucial for fixation to arise. In this case, the parent of the child should resolve all these conflicts by the process of identification. If these conflicts are not treated at the appropriate time they may lead to diseases like Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex.

Latency Stage

It is the fourth stage of psycho sexual development. The age range of this stage is from 6 years to puberty. In this stage, the libido becomes dormant, and no psycho sexual development takes place. According to Freud during this stage, children develop values relationships with peers, and social skills. In this stage, much of the child’s energy is channeled towards improvement and acquiring new knowledge.

But according to Freud fixation on this stage is also possible, which is mostly due to immaturity but it is important to resolve them.

Genital Stage

It is the fifth and final stage of Freud’s psychosexual theory. The age range of this stage is from puberty to adulthood. It is a stage when a person explores himself/herself sexually with another person. In this stage, the libido gets active again. In this stage, the focus doesn’t remain on only personal goals but also to balance among several life areas.

Freud believed that the ego and superego are fully functional in this stage. For Freud, the proper outlet of the sexual instinct in adults is heterosexual intercourse. Moreover, fixation at the oral stage may also arise in this stage from oral sex and kissing.

Evaluation of Fraud’s Theory

Dr. Fraud’s theory is very controversial even today. Many psychologists don’t agree with his theory. In the early 19th century these claims were really groundbreaking. But his theory is good at explaining and not at predicting behavior. For this reason, Fraud’s theory is neither accepted nor refuted.


Oral fixation FAQs

What is the meaning of oral fixation sexually?

The meaning of oral fixation sexually is that a child is sensually aroused by certain stimuli in each stage. These stimuli satisfy developmental needs.

What are the solutions to oral fixation?

Some solutions to oral fixation are consulting with therapists, lollipops, breath mints, and chewing gums.

Is oral fixation related to ADHD?

Yes, children with ADHD often have which is the oral fixation. The easiest way to explain this is the urge to always stimulate the mouth. Oral fixation is another method of “stimming”.

Does oral fixation lead to anxiety?

No, but adults who deal with anxiety can develop oral fixation as they try to soothe anxiety by chewing nails or smoking cigarettes.

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