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Sexual experiences in childhood: Young adults' recollections
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2002 (English)In: Archives of Sexual Behavior, ISSN 0004-0002, E-ISSN 1573-2800, Vol. 31, no 3, 263-273 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Childhood sexuality and children’s sexual experiences have become increasingly important to study because our knowledge on the impact of sexually abusive experiences on children’s developing sexuality has increased. The main aim of this paper was to study aspects of young adults’ recollections of their sexual experiences before the age of 13, solitary and shared, mutual as well as coercive. Anonymous questionnaires were answered by 269 final year, senior high-school students, mean age 18.6 years; 82.9% of the students reported solitary sexual experiences and 82.5% had mutual experiences together with another child. Most of the children had their experiences together with a same-age friend. Girls had more same-sex experiences than boys did. Thirteen percent reported coercive experiences where they had been tricked, bribed, threatened, or physically forced into participation. Some children, 8.2%, had coerced another child into participation in sexual activities. The majority thought of their childhood experiences as normal. There were also 6.3% of the respondents who had had inappropriate sexual experiences with someone at least 5 years older, the majority being girls. Gender differences were evident in several respects: girls were more often coerced, they felt more guilt, and they had far less experience of masturbation, whereas boys were somewhat more active in explorative activities on their own as well as with peers. Some kind of coercive sexual experiences appears to be part of growing up for quite a few children, although in general the years before puberty seem to be years of frequent mutual sexual exploration and experimentation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 31, no 3, 263-273 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-26514DOI: 10.1023/A:1015252903931Local ID: 11071OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-26514DiVA: diva2:247063
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Children and sexuality: "Normal" sexual behaviour and experiences in childhood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children and sexuality: "Normal" sexual behaviour and experiences in childhood
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Child sexual behaviour has until recently remained largely unexplored in Sweden, despite theoretical interest in normal childhood sexuality. Issues about sexual abuse and its consequencies has, however, created a need for research on developmentally "normal" sexual behaviour and experiences among boys and girls, while growing up.

The overall purpose of the present thesis was to gain knowledge about sexual behaviour and experiences before adolescence, in normative groups of children in contemporary Sweden. The empirical work consists of five papers based on three separate quantitative studies. Two studies include preschool children (n=251 and n=185, and a sample from the USA, n=467) with questionnaires to parents and preschool staff. The thesis is also addressing adult views on child sexuality. One study focus on childhood sexual experiences up until the age of 13 (n=269), in which young adults (18-20 years old) answered questionnaires about solitary, mutual and nonconsensual childhood sexual activities.

A wide range of sexually related behaviour was observed, most of which was developmentally related. Parents reported more sexual behaviour in their children compared to preschool teachers' reports. Adult-like sexual behaviour, and behaviour of intrusive character, were extremely rare in the preschool children. Gender differences were explored and found on some aspects and there was a correlation between reported behaviour and family factors. A Swedish sample of preschool children's' behaviour according to parental reports, was compared to a similar sample from the USA, and similarities as well as cultural differences were found.

In self-reports from students, solitary experiences and mutual sexual activities together with a same-aged friend were common before adolescence. Non-consensual sexual activities, with same-aged children was relatively common. In other cases the non-consensual experiences happened together with an older teenager, or with an adult.

The results provide an incipient frame of reference for further studies on child sexual behaviour in Sweden. Observable behaviour is one very important factor to consider when clinicians and other child-care professionals are to make assessments of a child's developmental status and situation, and knowledge in this area therefore holds importantimplications. Child sexuality need to be addressed within paediatrics and child psychiatry, as well as in social work, not only in terms of risk andeffects after abuse, but also as an integral part of healthy child development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2001. 91 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 689
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28595 (URN)13749 (Local ID)91-7219-985-7 (ISBN)13749 (Archive number)13749 (OAI)
Public defence
2001-10-05, Berzeliussalen, Universitetssjukhuset, Linköping, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-09-04Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, IngbethSvedin, Carl Göran

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