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Sexual behavior of a child

Sexuality is an important area of development throughout life. For the child, it involves, among other things, curiosity about the subject, getting to know their own body, and playing games with a sexual tone. Sometimes a child’s sexual behavior raises concerns in adults, but often the behavior is explained by reasons other than abuse.

Children are naturally interested in the world around them, and that interest also extends to sexuality. The sexuality of young children is therefore an open and curious adoption of new things, such as wondering about one’s own body and another person’s body, getting to know the experience of touching and pleasure, and practicing the regulation of strong emotions. It is also about learning manners, social rules, and one’s own rights. Normal sexual development can include a wide range of curious behaviors, such as self-examination and touching, games of exploration with others of the same age, and seeking body contact with others. Children can also speak out and ask a wide range of questions about sexuality.

Based on sexual behavior, no conclusions can be drawn about sexual abuse. As long as a child’s sexual behavior is cheerful and curious, in principle, there is no reason to worry about it. It is a parent’s job to gradually guide the child to where and how to express their sexuality. 

A child’s sexual behavior raises concerns, if it lacks joy and spontaneity and becomes compulsive and potentially violent. In this case, the behavior is also so repetitive that it takes up a large part of the child’s day and interferes with the child’s other activities. In this case, despite guidance, the child is also unable to stop their behavior or returns to their activities shortly after guidance. Repeated imitation of adult-like sexual behaviors, such as acts related to oral sex, sexual intercourse or the like, are clearly less common in a child than other forms of sexual behavior, such as masturbation. However, it is worth remembering that most of the children who behave in this way have not been sexually abused, but the behavior is due to other, more likely, factors.