What is normal sexual behaviour in children
Here is a list of some examples of normal sexual behaviour for different age groups.
0–5 years old
- Being curious about almost everything, including their bodies, and often being happier with no clothes on.
- Being curious about other children’s bodies. A child may try to look at, or touch another child’s genitals. This is about being curious, and is often amusing to them rather than being forced or intimidating.
- Masturbation normally begins during infancy and continues as a child grows.
6–10 years old
- Exploring their own bodies.
- Being curious about other children’s bodies, particularly if there are physical changes.
- Asking questions about sex and looking for books and pictures explaining their own body parts.
- Playing games, such as “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”.
- Comparing penis size.
- Becoming interested in sex words and dirty jokes.
- Showing some interest in the opposite sex.
- Having feelings about needing privacy.
11–12 years old
- Having feelings of sexual attraction.
- Expressing an interest in having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Masturbating in privacy.
- Having some sexual activity with peers, such as kissing and fondling. This may be with someone their own gender but does not necessarily mean they identify as gay.
- Imitating sexual behaviours they’ve seen or heard about.