In a recent article posted by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s website SexInfo, they’ve been speaking heavily about childhood sexuality, and why it’s healthy. The article delves into topics such as sexuality between two children, sexuality with a child on their own, and teaching your child about sexuality. Children as young as four years old.
There is a huge problem with this. First and foremost, children are not sexual beings. They don’t understand sexuality, and don’t feel sexual impulses. Children, are, of course, curious. Undoubtedly so are children curious, but this has nothing to do with sexuality, and all to do with a lack of understanding. The vast majority of children are raised with the knowledge that their genitalia is private, and they shouldn’t allow anyone to touch them there, that includes children and adults. Children don’t understand why, though. To them, it’s like an arm or a leg, they aren’t told the purpose for their reproductive organs, and therefore can’t grasp why it’s bad.
They grow curious as to the differences between male and female genitalia, and the differences between their genitalia and those of the same sex. It is normal behavior for a child to wonder, or ask, or play with other children in this way. But it doesn’t mean it’s healthy behavior, and that it should continue. Without an understanding of sexuality, children will grow to normalize these parts of their bodies, and not respect their sexualities as they grow older.
One of the points this article makes is that children do this as a sign of affection. Children should not be interacting with sexual behaviors at an age that they don’t understand sexuality, and especially not as a sign of affection. Showing signs of affection is normal, and healthy, and can be done anywhere. A hug, a kiss, holding hands. These are all normal, healthy ways of showing love and affection towards someone you care about. Touching each others genitalia, is not.
To further prove their point that children are sexual beings, they note that children can be seen kissing one another all the time. Both of the same sex, and of different sexes. This is true, children do kiss each other, but the action is not sexually fueled. Parents kiss each other out of love, parents kiss their children out of love, children may have older siblings that are dating, and they may kiss their significant other. In some countries, kissing someone’s cheek is a means of greeting. Kissing, societally, is not a sexual action. It’s an action of love and affection, and this is how it’s perceived from the child’s perspective, and this is why you’ll see children that will kiss their friends of the same sex or of the opposite sex.
The article also speaks about children exploring their own sexuality, and how it should be supported and allowed. Children are trying to understand their bodies, and get a grasp on what part of their body does what. Children are known for touching themselves at times, but this isn’t something the average child does often, and it’s not something that the average child does openly. This type of behavior should not be condemned, but it should not be allowed publicly. One can explain to their child that this is private behavior, done with a private part of the body, and if they so choose they should only do it in their privacy. Something this article forgot to mention, though, is that if a child is frequently involving themselves in sexual play, there could be a reason to worry.
It has been proven by many tests from psychologists that when children are sexually abused, they have a tendency to act these actions out to themselves, or other children. This kind of behavior, if done repeatedly on a regular basis, is not normal and should be inquired about. Parents should approach their child and ask what’s going on, and try to understand the situation. Prevalent sexual behavior within a child is not a healthy sign.
Another point they make in the same article, is that a vital part of teaching your child sexual education is allowing them to watch pornography. This is irresponsible of anyone to say, and irresponsible of any parent to do with their child. Pornography is heavily scripted, the actors and actresses are not that of the average human being in terms of appearance, and the films are extremely unrealistic. Children at the ages of four to twelve have a difficult time grasping the difference between reality and fantasy, and showing them such inappropriate films at a young age will ingrain in them an unhealthy image of what sexual relations should be. The effects of children thinking that sexual relations are that of a fantasy world are drastic, it will cause higher rates of divorce, higher rates of infidelity, and the large possibility of higher rates of rape or sexual misconduct.
Pornography already has already been proven to have significant negative implications to those who are watching it on a regular basis, so subjecting a child to it can only make these matters worse.
Children should not be encouraged to continue sexual behavior with their peers. Children should not be encouraged to continue sexual behavior with themselves publicly. If children are found to be interacting with their peers sexually, and frequently, there is a possibility that said child is being taken advantage of, and should be inquired about. Children are not familiar with their sexuality, children should not be taught to familiarize themselves with their sexuality. There is an age, and a time for everything, childhood is not the time to teach your children about this topic, unless they pose the question first, and you’re doing it in a mild, and controlled manner.