Sexuality and children. The development of sexuality

Educating in sexuality is the function of parents and the recommendation is to do it naturally since children are young, taking into account their emotional and intellectual maturity, avoiding advancing content that can be easily understood later. In order to further develop this topic, the psychologist Mónica Poblador answers in this interview the questions that parents most frequently ask ourselves to educate our children in sexuality.

When should we start sex education for our children?
From the beginning, since our daughters or daughters are born. It is educated with hugs, with caresses, with displays of affection, with skin-to-skin contact ... and this begins to be educated in the cradle. Long before the questions or the 'touches'. Body contact and communication with the baby's attachment figures can be decisive in establishing a healthy sexuality.

Because in the arms the baby learns the feelings of security and protection. Babies also have the capacity to feel pleasure, to find themselves at ease and unpleasant, although they are still a long way from incorporating erotic meanings to these sensations. In short, from the cradle you already learn to recognize and express emotions.

What are the childhood ages of the discovery of sexuality and what do children need in each of them?
The first manifestations of sexual life in childhood occur from baby. Little by little, the baby develops new linguistic and motor skills, with which he will progressively participate and join his environment. We are talking about the stage that goes between 18-24 months to 6 years.

It is from this moment when, when it will become important how curiosity or their questions are resolved, the attitude that one has towards their touches or the couple models, men and women, that we offer them to identify themselves.

When does curiosity about genitals appear?
It is logical that, in these early ages, curiosity about genitalia and the differences between boys and girls or with adults appears. From 6 years to 12 years if we ask parents about the curiosity and sexual activity of their children, many will say that it is little.

However, the opposite happens, it is likely that some games will continue, and that both curiosity and the importance of what is seen and heard have increased. What is not seen does not mean that it does not exist. This will be a very suitable stage to work from what is important, without haste and without urgency.

How should we name the genitals?
Within sex education is contributing to making the genitalia an accepted part of an accepted body. For this, it is necessary that they have their name, that they are not derogatory and that they help to distinguish each of the parts.

In other words, it is not worth using the same name for two things. For example, 'culete' to refer to the ass and, at the same time, to the vulva. Or 'front bum' and 'back bum' that continues to generate confusion. Two things, two names.

Can you prepare the way to address certain issues in adolescence?
Preadolescence is the time to prepare for future changes, before they arrive, so as not to be late. The message that we must give them is: we know that no one is left unmatured, each one has their own rhythm, and in the end, whatever the result, it will be that of a body prepared for pleasure, affection, and relationships. personal and erotic.

What should we do when we discover our son exploring his body?
These strokes or infantile masturbation, at first, are aimed at self-exploration but, immediately, will also have pleasure as an object. There is no doubt that boys or girls of these ages who touch each other do so because they find pleasant sensations. It is not a question of being in favor or against it, or of judging whether it is good or bad, but rather of assessing whether the behavior is presented in an appropriate or inappropriate way.

It is not the same, nor should we act the same, if masturbation is done, in a restaurant, in a public park or at recess or if you do it alone in your room. In the first cases, you can say 'this is not done here or now, when you are alone'. In this way criteria are given, not judged, and alternatives are pointed out.

What happens when they do it with other boys and girls?
It is common for boys and girls, at some point, to play at touching or undressing and they usually do so for various reasons: out of 'curiosity', both about their own body and that of the other, whether that other of the same or different sex or by 'imitation' of what they consider can happen in the adult world and by how pleasant the game can be in itself.

If with masturbation one had to learn to distinguish between the public and the private sphere, now with more reason. But in addition, now, we must also be careful that no one is playing something they do not want to play or do not have a good time with. If it's a game, it has to be loved and fun for both of you, or it wouldn't stop being a game.

These games are irrelevant and almost always have an expiration date, as soon as they are no longer novel. We can also take advantage of these post-conversation situations to talk about sexuality: about differences between boys and girls, about friendship, etc.

What should we not do?
- Make them feel like they are doing something wrong. Scold, punish, insult.

- Prohibit friendship with that boy or girl for playing 'those games'

- Set up a scandal that involves others, for example family members or other parents or children.

- Continuously remember the fact and discuss it with other people.

Every parent will be able to reason why all these adult reactions are counterproductive. We are not going to generate a problem where there is none, or to transmit a concept of sexuality based on fear, what is forbidden, what is taboo, a concept that when we want to change in other ages, such as adolescence or youth, we already arrive enough afternoon.

Marisol New. Copywriter

Source consulted:the text is taken from"Building Sexualities" (CEAPA, 2008) and other publications ofCarlos de la Cruz. Director of Official Master's Degree in Sexology UCJC.

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