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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.