Long-Range Effects of Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences: Myths, Mores, and Menaces

Long-Range Effects of Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences: Myths, Mores, and Menaces

Long-Range Effects of Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences: Myths, Mores, and Menaces

Long-Range Effects of Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences: Myths, Mores, and Menaces

Synopsis

Making a unique contribution of placing the current sexual exploitation of children and adolescents firmly in its historical context, this book looks at the family's and society's roles in child and adolescent sex abuse. Unlike most previous studies, this study allows a range of responses from negative to positive and avoids the methodological problems inherent in many other studies. Most studies combine the age groups of children and adolescents, whereas this study separates these different age groups and compares the nature and outcome of sexual experiences of children with those of adolescents. Utilizing sophisticated analytical measures, the author's findings repudiate many commonly held assumptions and serve to calm current hysteria regarding sexual abuse of minors.

Written to disseminate findings that could be helpful in realistically confronting the phenomenon of human sexuality, the results presented in this book dispel many current myths about early sexuality, including ethnic differences. The author wanted to separate scientific inquiry from the perpetration of pervading mores or social norms, and identify the real menaces to healthy adult functioning.

Excerpt

Most of us harbor strong beliefs and convictions about the long-range effects of sexual experiences encountered during childhood and adolescence. Few of us ever have the opportunity to obtain or examine credible evidence about the long-range consequences of the sexual encounters that most of us have experienced during our early years. This book provides an opportunity to learn a great deal about the effects of early sexuality on adult functioning. It does a great deal more.

Many will be shocked and dismayed over the legally sanctioned sexual treatment of children that the author describes. She begins with the writings of our earliest civilizations and brings us up to date so that we can see how beliefs, attitudes, and legal protections have changed over the centuries. the comprehensiveness of her historical review of legal protections from sexual abuse is outstanding in light of its brevity. More importantly, it lays the foundation for addressing a number of agonizing issues throughout the remainder of the book.

Early on the reader will discover that one aim of this book is to debunk some of the myths about the sexual abuse of children. Such an effort is filled with peril because there is always the grave risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted. Considerable intellectual courage is required when one sets out to collect factual evidence concerning matters that are believed to have been long since settled. This is especially true if the facts tend to refute passionately held beliefs about so sensitive and important a topic as childhood sexual experiences.

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