Sexual curiosity – what’s normal for children?

Did you know that more than one third of all reported sexual abuse of children is committed by someone under the age of 18?   While it’s normal and natural for children to be curious about sex, it’s important to recognize behaviours that are inappropriate.  The following are guidelines to help you determine when professional help is required.
What is normal sexual curiosity?:

Normal range

• Genital or reproduction conversations with kids similar in age

• Playing “doctor” with peers

• Touching on genitals without penetration

• Dirty words or jokes within peer group norms

Yellow flags

• Preoccupation with sex or being sexually aggressive

• Attempting to expose others’ genitals

• Sexually explicit conversation with peers that is not age appropriate

• Incidents of peeping, exposing and pornographic interest

• Simulating foreplay with dolls or peers

Red flags

• Sexual conversations with people of significant age difference

• Touching genitals of others

• Degradation of self or others with sexual themes

• Repeated and chronic peeping, exposing and pornographic interest

Source: Division of Family Services

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