Development of sexuality is an integral part of the development and maturation of children. A range of sensational, emotional and consequent sexual activities that may occur before or during early puberty, but before full sexual maturity is established. The development of child sexuality is influenced by social and cultural aspects; the perception of developing child sexuality is even more heavily influenced by cultural aspects. The concept of child sexuality also played an important role in the classical psychoanalysis.
In Western Europe, the predominant religion was Catholicism and theologians such as Bishop Augustine of Hippo considered orgasm a sin. Later, theologians amplified this idea and in medieval times clerics were urged to interrogate the laity and if errant, castigate them by a regime of supervised penance and a diet of bread and holy water for weeks or months (in the sixth century, the Irish St. Columban issued penitence tables which prescribed 20 days).
Within the wider Christian traditions, sex of any sort, except for the deliberate purpose of conception, was variously said by clerics to cause blindness, deafness and mental confusion, as well as (in Catholicism) eternal damnation of the sinner's soul if not fully confessed.
In Islam, mixing between men and women is strongly discouraged, especially when in private. Although touching and kissing people beyond one's immediate family is not permissible, some socialization is encouraged so that men and women may come to know each other (Surah Al-Hujurat) as long as there is no obscenity, touching, secret meetings or flirting.
In the 19th century, with the arrival of industrialization and literacy, sexual repression appears to have become institutionalized and extra-marital activity generally criminalized to the point where newly married couples experienced difficulty in achieving consummation of their marriage.
Until Sigmund Freud published his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1905, children were often regarded as asexual, having no sexuality until later development. Freud was one of the first researchers to seriously study child sexuality. While his ideas, such as psycho-sexual development and the Oedipus complex, have been rejected, acknowledging the existence of child sexuality was a significant change. Children are naturally curious about their bodies and sexual functions – they wonder where babies come from, they notice anatomical differences between males and females, and many engage in genital play or masturbation. Child sex play includes exhibiting or inspecting the genitals. Many children take part in some sex play, typically with siblings or friends. Sex play with others usually decreases as children go through their elementary school years, yet they still may possess romantic interest in their peers. Curiosity levels remain high during these years, escalating in puberty (roughly the teenage years) when the main surge in sexual interest occurs.
In the latter part of the 20th century, sexual liberation probably arose in the context of a massive cultural explosion in the United States of America following the upheaval of the Second World War, and the vast quantity of audiovisual media distributed worldwide by the new electronic and information technology. Children are apt to gain access and be influenced by material, despite censorship and content-control software.
Children can discover the pleasure of genital stimulation naturally at an early age. Boys often lie on their stomachs and girls may sit and rock. Manual stimulation occurs about the time of adolescence and mutual masturbation or other sexual experimentation between adolescents of similar ages may also occur, though cultural or religious coercion may inhibit or occult such activity if there is negative peer pressure or if authority figures are likely to disapprove.
Some cultural critics in the Western world have postulated that over recent decades, children have been subject to a premature sexualization, as indicated by a level of sexual knowledge or sexual behavior inappropriate for their age group. The causes of this premature sexualization that have been cited include portrayals in the media of sex and related issues, especially in media aimed at children; the marketing of products with sexual connotations to children, including clothing; the lack of parental oversight and discipline; access to adult culture via the internet; and the lack of comprehensive school sex education programs. For girls and young women in particular, studies have found that sexualization has a negative impact on their "self-image and healthy development".
When an adult or older adolescent has a sexual relationship with a child, it is often considered to be a form of child abuse known as child sexual abuse. Effects of child sexual abuse include clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Child sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.
Research into youthful sexuality has been largely conducted over the 20th century in the Western World and is mostly concerned with suppression for reasons of religion and/or fears about the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Sigmund Freud in his 1905 work Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality outlined a theory of psycho-sexual development with five distinct phases: the oral stage (0–1.5 years), the anal stage (1.5–3.5 years), the phallic stage (3.5–6 years) which culminates in the resolution of the Oedipus complex, latency phase (6–12 years of age), and the genital (or adult) stage.
Alfred Kinsey in the Kinsey Reports (1948 and 1953) included research on the physical sexual response of children, including pre-pubescent children (though the main focus of the reports was adults). While there were initially concerns that some of the data in his reports could not have been obtained without observation of or participation in child sexual abuse, the data was revealed much later in the 1990s to have been gathered from the diary of a single pedophile who had been molesting children since 1917. This effectively rendered the data-set nearly worthless, not only because it relied entirely on a single source, but the data was hearsay reported by a highly unreliable observer. In 2000, Swedish researcher Ing-Beth Larsson noted, "It is quite common for references still to cite Alfred Kinsey", due to the scarcity of subsequent large-scale studies of child sexual behavior.
Empirical knowledge about child sexual behavior is not usually gathered by direct interviews of children, partly due to ethical consideration. Information about child sexual behavior is gathered by the following methods:
Most published sexual research material emanates from the Western World, and a great deal of dramatic audio-visual material which might influence social attitudes to child sexuality are generated either in the United States of America or else for that audience. "Normative" may therefore relate to Western culture rather than to the general complexity of human experience.
Although there are variations between individual children, children are generally curious about their bodies and those of others, and explore their bodies through explorative sex play. "Playing doctor" is one example of such childhood exploration; such games are generally considered to be normal in young children. Child sexuality is considered fundamentally different from adult sexual behavior, which is more goal-driven. Among children, genital penetration and oral-genital contact are very uncommon, and may be perceived as imitations of adult behaviors. Such behaviors are more common among children who have been sexually abused.
A 1997 study based on limited variables found no correlation between early childhood (age 6 and under) peer sexual play and later adjustment. The study notes that its results do not demonstrate conclusively that no such correlation exists. The study also does not address the question of consequences of intense sexual experiences or aggressive or unwanted experiences.
Children who have been the victim of child sexual abuse sometimes display overly sexualized behavior, which may be defined as expressed behavior that is non-normative for the culture. Typical symptomatic behaviors may include excessive or public masturbation and coercing, manipulating or tricking other children into non-consensual or unwanted sexual activities, also referred to as "child-on-child sexual abuse". Sexualized behavior is thought to constitute the best indication that a child has been sexually abused.
Children who exhibit sexualized behavior may also have other behavioral problems. Other symptoms of child sexual abuse may include manifestations of post-traumatic stress in younger children; fear, aggression, and nightmares in young school-age children; and depression in older children.
From the ages of three to seven, the following behaviors are normal among children:
Early school age covers approximately ages five to seven, and masturbation is common at these ages. Children become more aware of gender differences, and tend to choose same-sex friends and playmates, even disparaging the opposite sex. Children may drop their close attachment to their opposite-sex parent and become more attached to their same-sex parent.
During this time, children, especially girls, show increased awareness of social norms regarding sex, nudity, and privacy. Children may use sexual terms to test adult reaction. "Bathroom humor" (jokes and conversation relating to excretory functions), present in earlier stages, continues.
"Middle childhood" covers the ages from about six to eleven, depending on the methodology and the behavior being studied, individual development varies considerably.
As this stage progresses, the choices of children picking same-sex friends becomes more marked and extending to disparagement of the opposite sex.
By the age of 8 or 9 children become aware that sexual arousal is a specific type of erotic sensation and will seek these pleasurable experiences through various sights, self-touches, and fantasy.
In 1980, a survey of 796 undergraduates, 15 percent of females and 10 percent of males reported some form of sexual experience involving a sibling; most of these fell short of actual intercourse. Approximately one quarter of these experiences were described as abusive or exploitative. A 1989 paper reported the results of a questionnaire with responses from 526 undergraduate college students in which 17 percent of the respondents stated that they had preadolescent sexual experiences with a sibling.
At seven or eight years of age, children of the Trobriand Islands begin to play erotic games with each other and imitate adult seductive attitudes. About four or five years later, they begin to pursue sexual partners in earnest. They change partners often. Girls are just as assertive and dominant as boys in pursuing or refusing a lover. This is not only allowed but encouraged.
A much earlier study (1915–1920) of Trobriand children reports that these children attempted to imitate adult sexual intercourse by the time they were 10 years old. Similar behavior at the same or earlier age was observed among the children in traditional families of the Tahagmyut of Ungava Peninsula, Canada; the Tunumiit of Angmagssalik, Greenland; and the children of the San in Southern Africa.
We know that exposure to sexualized messages, particularly those that are incomprehensible, can have several effects on children.
The proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harming girls' self-image and healthy development. This report explores the cognitive and emotional consequences, consequences for mental and physical health, and impact on development of a healthy sexual self-imageCite journal requires
Abuse, sexual (child): generally defined as contacts between a child and an adult or other person significantly older or in a position of power or control over the child, where the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the adult or other person.
Since the 1970s, a number of movements have taken place in the United Kingdom in favour of reforming or abolishing the age of consent, in support of children's rights, gay liberationism or, more recently, "as a means to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections via education and health promotion".Camille Paglia
Camille Anna Paglia (; born April 2, 1947) is an American feminist academic and social critic. Paglia has been a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1984. She is critical of many aspects of modern culture, and is the author of Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990) and other books. She is also a critic of contemporary American feminism and of post-structuralism as well as a commentator on multiple aspects of American culture such as its visual art, music, and film history.Child-on-child sexual abuse
Child-on-child sexual abuse is a form of child sexual abuse in which a prepubescent child is sexually abused by one or more other children or adolescents, and in which no adult is directly involved. While this includes when one of the children uses physical force, threats, trickery or emotional manipulation to elicit cooperation, it also can include non-coercive situations where the initiator proposes or starts a sexual act that the victim does not understand the nature of and simply goes along with, not comprehending its implications or what the consequences might be. Child-on-child sexual abuse is differentiated from normative sexual play or anatomical curiosity and exploration (e.g. "playing doctor") because child-on-child sexual abuse is an overt and deliberate action directed at sexual stimulation, including orgasm. When sexual abuse is perpetrated by one sibling upon another, it is known as "intersibling abuse". When victims grow up, they often have distorted recall of the act, such as thinking it was consensual or that they were the initiator.Claire Delfin
MelClaire Sy-Delfin, or better known as Claire Delfin, is a Filipino broadcast journalist from GMA Network, a popular TV network in the Philippines. Delfin serves as correspondent of GMA-7's 24 Oras (24 Hours) which provides local news in Tagalog. An alumna of Silliman University where she obtained her B.A. in Mass Communication (1999), Delfin is a recipient of a number of prestigious awards. In 2007 she received the Global Media Award for Excellence in Population Reporting from the Population Institute in Washington D.C. for her story on child sexuality. In 2009, Delfin won two prizes in the annual PopDev awards, and in 2010, she again received the SEAMEO-Australia Press Award from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) for a story she wrote entitled "Palengskwela: Bringing the school to the market."French petition against age of consent laws
In 1977, a petition was addressed to the French parliament calling for the abrogation of several articles of the age of consent law and the decriminalization of all consensual relations between adults and minors below the age of fifteen (the age of consent in France). A number of French intellectuals - including such prominent names as Louis Aragon, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Michel Leiris, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Philippe Sollers, Jacques Rancière, Jean-François Lyotard, Francis Ponge, and various prominent doctors and psychologists - signed the petition. In 1979 two open letters were published in French newspapers defending individuals arrested under charges of statutory rape, in the context of abolition of age of consent laws.Genital play
Genital play is a common early childhood behavior of genital exploration distinct from autoerotic stimulation. This behavior is part of a normative period of children exploring all of their bodies, and some psychologists have even suggested genital play is a sign of healthy psychosexual development.Though genital play may rarely evolve directly into masturbation, the behavior is sometimes misinterpreted directly as masturbation by adults.
Genital play usually begins in boys between six and seven months of age, and in girls at ten to eleven months.
It may take place in groups, and sometimes utilizing inanimate objects such as dolls. Genital play may continue during early childhood. When the child is about six years old, a sexual latency period starts in which there can be some private masturbation. The latency phase ends when the child at ten years old enters preadolescence.Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Because it is a broad term, which has varied over time, it lacks a precise definition. The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the human reproductive functions, including the human sexual response cycle. Someone's sexual orientation is their pattern of sexual interest in the opposite or same sex. Physical and emotional aspects of sexuality include bonds between individuals that are expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of love, trust, and care. Social aspects deal with the effects of human society on one's sexuality, while spirituality concerns an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality also affects and is affected by cultural, political, legal, philosophical, moral, ethical, and religious aspects of life.Interest in sexual activity typically increases when an individual reaches puberty. Although no single theory on the cause of sexual orientation has yet gained widespread support, there is considerably more evidence supporting nonsocial causes of sexual orientation than social ones, especially for males. Hypothesized social causes are supported by only weak evidence, distorted by numerous confounding factors. This is further supported by cross-cultural evidence, because cultures that are very tolerant of homosexuality do not have significantly higher rates of it.Evolutionary perspectives on human coupling, reproduction and reproduction strategies, and social learning theory provide further views of sexuality. Sociocultural aspects of sexuality include historical developments and religious beliefs. Some cultures have been described as sexually repressive. The study of sexuality also includes human identity within social groups, sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), and birth control methods.Lost Girls
Lost Girls is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie, depicting the sexually explicit adventures of three female fictional characters of the late 19th and early 20th century: Alice from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Dorothy Gale from L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Wendy Darling from J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy. They meet as adults in 1913 and describe and share some of their erotic adventures with each other.Michel Foucault
Paul-Michel Foucault (UK: FOO-koh, US: foo-KOH, French: [pɔl miʃɛl fuko]; 15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984), generally known as Michel Foucault, was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist and literary critic.
Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. Though often cited as a post-structuralist and postmodernist, Foucault rejected these labels. His thought has influenced academics, especially those working in communication studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, literary theory, feminism, and critical theory.
Born in Poitiers, France, into an upper-middle-class family, Foucault was educated at the Lycée Henri-IV, at the École Normale Supérieure, where he developed an interest in philosophy and came under the influence of his tutors Jean Hyppolite and Louis Althusser, and at the University of Paris (Sorbonne), where he earned degrees in philosophy and psychology. After several years as a cultural diplomat abroad, he returned to France and published his first major book, The History of Madness (1961). After obtaining work between 1960 and 1966 at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, he produced The Birth of the Clinic (1963) and The Order of Things (1966), publications which displayed his increasing involvement with structuralism, from which he later distanced himself. These first three histories exemplified a historiographical technique Foucault was developing called "archaeology".
From 1966 to 1968, Foucault lectured at the University of Tunis before returning to France, where he became head of the philosophy department at the new experimental university of Paris VIII. Foucault subsequently published The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969). In 1970, Foucault was admitted to the Collège de France, a membership he retained until his death. He also became active in a number of left-wing groups involved in campaigns against racism and human rights abuses and for penal reform. Foucault later published Discipline and Punish (1975) and The History of Sexuality (1976), in which he developed archaeological and genealogical methods which emphasized the role that power plays in society.
Foucault died in Paris of HIV/AIDS; he became the first public figure in France to die from the disease. His partner Daniel Defert founded the AIDES charity in his memory.Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 American coming-of-age film directed by Wes Anderson, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola. It features an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, and newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Largely set on the fictional New England island of New Penzance, it tells the story of a orphan boy (Gilman) who escapes from a scouting camp to unite with his pen pal and love interest, a girl with aggressive tendencies (Hayward). Feeling alienated from their guardians and shunned by their peers, the lovers abscond to an isolated beach. Meanwhile, the island's police captain (Willis) organizes a search party of scouts and family members to locate the runaways.
In crafting their screenplay, Anderson and Coppola drew from personal experiences and memories of childhood fantasies as well as films including Melody (1971) and The 400 Blows (1959). Auditions for child actors took eight months, and filming took place in Rhode Island over three months in 2011.
Moonrise Kingdom premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and received critical acclaim, with its themes of young love, child sexuality, juvenile mental health, and the Genesis flood narrative being praised. Critics cited the film's color palette and use of visual symmetry as well as the use of original composition by Alexandre Desplat to supplement existing music by Benjamin Britten. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. In 2016, the BBC included the film in its list of greatest films of the twenty-first century.Outline of human sexuality
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to human sexuality:
Human sexuality is the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also refer to the way one person is sexually attracted to another person of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), the same sex (homosexuality), or having both tendencies (bisexuality). The lack of sexual attraction is referred to as asexuality. Human sexuality impacts cultural, political, legal and philosophical aspects of life, as well as being widely connected to issues of morality, ethics, theology, spirituality, or religion. It is not, however, directly tied to gender.Outline of sexual ethics
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sexual ethics:
Sexual ethics – branch of philosophy that explores the moral obligations, and permissibility, or impermissibility of sexual activities. Also deals with issues arising from all aspects of sexuality and human sexual behaviour relating to the community and personal standards regarding the conduct of interpersonal relationships, including issues of consent, sexual relations before marriage and/or while married, including the issues of marital fidelity and premarital and non-marital sex, sexual orientation, and more.Participism
Participism is a libertarian socialist political philosophy consisting of two independently created economic and political systems: participatory economics or "parecon" and participatory politics or "parpolity". Participism is intended as an alternative to both capitalism and centrally-planned state socialism. Participism has significantly informed the International Organization for a Participatory Society.Pedophilia
Pedophilia (alternatively spelt paedophilia) is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Although girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11, and boys at age 11 or 12, criteria for pedophilia extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13. A person must be at least 16 years old, and at least five years older than the prepubescent child, for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.Pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines it as a "sustained, focused, and intense pattern of sexual arousal—as manifested by persistent sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, or behaviours—involving pre-pubertal children."In popular usage, the word pedophilia is often applied to any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse. This use conflates the sexual attraction to prepubescent children with the act of child sexual abuse and fails to distinguish between attraction to prepubescent and pubescent or post-pubescent minors. Researchers recommend that these imprecise uses be avoided, because although some people who commit child sexual abuse are pedophiles, child sexual abuse offenders are not pedophiles unless they have a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children, and some pedophiles do not molest children.Pedophilia was first formally recognized and named in the late 19th century. A significant amount of research in the area has taken place since the 1980s. Although mostly documented in men, there are also women who exhibit the disorder, and researchers assume available estimates underrepresent the true number of female pedophiles. No cure for pedophilia has been developed, but there are therapies that can reduce the incidence of a person committing child sexual abuse. The exact causes of pedophilia have not been conclusively established. Some studies of pedophilia in child sex offenders have correlated it with various neurological abnormalities and psychological pathologies. In the United States, following Kansas v. Hendricks in 1997, sex offenders who are diagnosed with certain mental disorders, particularly pedophilia, can be subject to indefinite involuntary commitment.Playing doctor
"Playing doctor" is a phrase used colloquially in the Western world to refer to children examining each other's genitals. It originates from children using the pretend roles of doctor and patient as a pretext for such an examination. However, whether or not such role-playing is involved, the phrase is used to refer to any similar examination.Playing doctor is distinguished from child-on-child sexual abuse because the latter is an overt and deliberate action directed at sexual stimulation, including orgasm, as compared to anatomical curiosity. Playing doctor is considered by most child psychologists to be a normal step in childhood development between the ages of approximately three and six years, so long as all parties are willing participants and relatively close in age. However, it can be a source of discomfort to some parents to discover their children are engaging in such an activity. Parenting professionals often advise parents to view such a discovery as an opportunity to calmly teach their children about the differences between the sexes, personal privacy, and respecting the privacy of other children.A study by American sexologist Alfred Kinsey published in the book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), found that 36.6% of all 10-year-old children practice heterosexual and homosexual doctor play.Sexology
Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviors, and functions. The term sexology does not generally refer to the non-scientific study of sexuality, such as political science or social criticism.Sexologists apply tools from several academic fields, such as biology, medicine, psychology, epidemiology, sociology, and criminology. Topics of study include sexual development (puberty), sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual relationships, sexual activities, paraphilias, and atypical sexual interests. It also includes the study of sexuality across the lifespan, including child sexuality, puberty, adolescent sexuality, and sexuality among the elderly. Sexology also spans sexuality among the mentally and/or physically disabled. The sexological study of sexual dysfunctions and disorders, including erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, and pedophilia, are also mainstays.Sexual Morality and the Law
Sexual Morality and the Law is the transcription of a 1978 radio conversation in Paris between philosopher Michel Foucault, playwright/actor/lawyer Jean Danet, and novelist/gay activist Guy Hocquenghem, debating the idea of abolishing age of consent laws in France.
In 1977, the issue was brought to public attention in France by a petition against age of consent laws addressed to the Parliament, defending the decriminalization of all consented sexual relations between adults and minors below the age of fifteen (the age of consent in France). Foucault stated that the petition was signed by several philosophers including himself, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, pediatrician and psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto, and also by people he described as belonging to a wide range of political positions.The dialogue was broadcast on April 4, 1978 by radio France Culture. It was originally published in French as La loi de la pudeur [literally, "The law of decency"] and reprinted in English as The Danger of Child Sexuality. The text was later included under the title Sexual Morality and the Law in Foucault’s book Politics, Philosophy, Culture – Interviews and other writings, 1977–1984.Tony Duvert
Tony Duvert (July 2, 1945 – August 2008) was a French writer and philosopher. In the 1970s he achieved some renown, winning the Prix Medicis in 1973 for his novel Paysage de Fantaisie. Duvert's writings are notable both for their style and core themes: the celebration and defence of pedophilia, and criticism of modern child-rearing. In the 1970s attitudes to sexual liberation and child sexuality allowed Duvert to express himself publicly. However, when attitudes altered markedly in the 1980s, he was left feeling frustrated and oppressed.
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