The Sexual Life of Children

The Sexual Life of Children

The Sexual Life of Children

The Sexual Life of Children

Synopsis

This book traces the development of sexuality in the child from the prenatal, through birth and up to puberty and adolescence. Very little has been written about children's sexuality in spite of a large literature on child abuse. Western society has been slow to recognize sexual experiences and conceptualizations as an important part of a child's development. This is the only work that has been written in a frank and open manner about the many sexual encounters that children have on a daily basis as part of their normal psychological development. Martinson's study is unique in that children speak for themselves in telling about their explorations, confusions, fears, and satisfactions. The book traces the life of children in their day-to-day encounters as they grow and develop. It complements and rounds out Robert Coles's important works on The Moral Life of Children, The Political Life of Children, and The Spiritual Life of Children.

Excerpt

There are many aspects to the life of children. The more we take them seriously--the more we relate to them, observe them, study them--the more aspects of their life we come to understand and appreciate. Robert Coles, after a long career of relating to, studying, and writing about children, came to the awareness that there were still perspectives in the life of children that he had not focused on, and he wrote three additional books--The Political Life of Children (1986), The Moral Life of Children (1986), and The Spiritual Life of Children (1990). The book that you now hold in your hands focuses on still another perspective on child life that has received little attention; namely, the sexual life of children.

I first wrote a treatise on the subject twenty years ago. I submitted it to a number of publishers, but none chose to publish it. The scene has changed in the years since; there is interest in the subject today. Currently, there is a surge of interest in attempting to understand all aspects of childhood and the life of children. Childhood has come to be seen not only as a transitional phase in the life of an individual, but children are seen as constituting a distinctive population group in society with their own interests and needs.

It comes as no surprise to mothers of young children that it is now recognized that infants respond to and engage in sensuous experiences, even experiences that might be labeled as sexual. But Western society, and particularly American society, has been slow to recognize or conceptualize sexual experiences as a part of a child's development, an aspect of their lives worthy of study and discourse. As a result, neither the folk culture nor the . . .

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