• WARNING SIGNS

SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE

Unfortunately, signs of Sexual Abuse in children are not black and white or clear cut. Assessment is difficult and multifaceted. 30-40% of kids are asymptomatic following abuse and 30% exhibit few symptoms. Sexual behavior is one of many potential indicators. That being said, it is important as caregivers to know normal sexual development in children in order to recognize concerning behavior. We hope that the following information will be used as a guide.

NORMAL SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT

BIRTH TO 2 YEARS

SEXUAL KNOWLEDGESEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Gender IdentityGenital Exploration
Origins of Self EsteemPenile Erections, Vaginal Lubrication
Learns labels for body partsGenital pleasure is possible
Uses slang labelsTouches sex parts
Enjoys nudity

3 TO 5 YEARS

SEXUAL KNOWLEDGESEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Gender PerformanceMasturbates for pleasure, may experience orgasm
Gender differences are understoodSex play with siblings or peers; shows genitals; explores own/others genitals
Limited information about pregnancy & childbirthEnjoys nudity
Knows labels for parts but prefers slangTouches sex parts
Uses elimination functions for sexual parts

6 TO 12 YEARS

SEXUAL KNOWLEDGESEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Genital basis of genderSex games, role lpay, fantasy, “doctor”
Correct labels, uses slang
Masturbation in private
Sexual aspects of pregnancyModesty, embarrassment: hides games from adults
Increasing knowledge: masturbation, intercourse, physical aspects of pubertyPuberty begins: menstruation, wet dreams
Interested in media sex
Uses sexual language

13+ YEARS

SEXUAL KNOWLEDGESEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Sexual IntercoursePuberty continues: most girls menstruate by 16; most boys capable of ejaculation by 15
ContraceptionDating begins
Sexually Transmitted DiseasesSexual contacts common: kissing, petting
Sexual fantasy, dreams
Sexual Intercourse may occur in up to 75% by age 18