Childhood Development and Sexual Behavior

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Childhood Development and Sexual Behavior

Normal childhood sexual behaviors are different through the different age groups; infancy, early childhood, preadolescence, and adolescence. Some of the actions are not intended for sexual gratification but out of curiosity or affection. As a child ages and matures, the reason for performing sexual behaviors also change.

Infancy, both male and female fetuses suck on their fingers for comfort. The male fetus normally has an erection, and it’s common that they are born with an erection, and can have them for the first few weeks of life. Females can have vaginal lubrication. Around 8 months, infants can start pelvic thrusting, a sign of affection towards a parent. Stimulation of the genitals, or masturbation, may begin at 6 to 12 months.

Early childhood is the beginning of sexual curiosity. Many children play doctor to see others anatomy, or may seek it out in other ways; cuddling, or kissing. It is also about ‘seeing’ or comparing body parts to your own and self-exploration through masturbation.

Preadolescence children tend to socialize with friends of the same gender. Boys think girls are dorks, girls think boys are worse. Most preadolescent children grow self-conscious of their bodies, so they follow the crowd with clothing, slang, or attitude towards sex. Masturbation is the most common act of sexual behavior for this age, some showing of the genitals with or without touching may happen.

Adolescence is the beginning of puberty, and the changes occur with sex hormones. The major sex outlet of adolescence is masturbation. Dating during this period does add to petting, but may lead all the way to sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse during this age is mainly because of curiosity or peer pressure.

Many children are comfortable with sexual behaviors and curiosity. The only reason that it doesn’t feel ‘natural’ is because of society’s reaction. Communication with children can help them to feel ‘normal’ and...
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