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Sex for LifeFrom Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives$
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Laura Carpenter and John DeLamater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772522

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.001.0001

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Childhood Sexuality

Childhood Sexuality

Exploring Culture as Context

Chapter:
(p.45) 2 Childhood Sexuality
Source:
Sex for Life
Author(s):

Jeffry W. Thigpen

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.003.0002

This chapter examines how preteens' sexual attitudes and experiences both coincide and differ across gender and racial backgrounds. Age as an index of physical, cognitive, and social development has been found to be related to childhood sexual behavior both qualitatively and quantitatively. For example, a study of 2- to 7-year-olds found that older children were significantly more knowledgeable about aspects of sexuality such as sexual behavior, pregnancy, and sexual abuse prevention. Meanwhile, genital manipulation and masturbatory behaviors are more prevalent among boys, suggesting behavioral differentiation by gender. Factors other than gender and age that influence sexual expression in childhood have been investigated in only a few studies. Liberal parental attitudes regarding sexuality have been found to be associated with specific behaviors such as increased masturbation, frequency of touching parents' genitals, and frequency of sexual behavior overall.

Keywords:   childhood sexual behavior, pregnancy, sexual abuse, sexual expression, masturbation, liberal parental attitudes

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