Why is children's sexuality so taboo?

Sexuality shouldn't be a taboo

Male babies can already have an erection in the womb; female fetuses show corresponding changes in the vagina. In the first two years of life, every child discovers its own body. "And these are not just hands, mouth and nose, but also the genital organs," says Bauer. In our part of the world, children rarely have the opportunity to be naked. However, they should be given the opportunity to explore themselves - and also to discover that this can trigger pleasant feelings.

Feeling of security and trust

“We have to differentiate between childish and adult sexuality. When they touch their genitals, children experience a pleasant feeling that gives them security and trust, ”describes Bauer. "It may be irritating for adults when a little girl rubs her vagina to calm herself down." However, it should be handled calmly so as not to confuse the children. "When adults forbid such actions, they suggest to the child that you and your feelings are not in order - this means that a healthy body feeling cannot develop." If your own limits of shame are touched, you should talk to children about it and suggest places of retreat. A six-year-old masturbating could be told to do this in his room and not while having coffee with grandma.

It is also important to call things by their names. "It can be fatal when children have no words for their sexual organs, for example when they injure themselves in the genital area or when they meet an exhibitionist and want to inform the adults about it," says Bauer. "How are they supposed to get help if they can't name things?" The perpetrators of sexual abuse often take advantage of the speechlessness of many children.

Neutral terms instead of nicknames

Bauer recommends neutral terms such as penis or vagina instead of nicknames and negative words. It is best if parents and carers use the same terms. It is also important to answer the children's questions about body and sexuality in an age-appropriate manner, for example with the help of picture books. "Sexual education should take place from the start and not just in the sex education class at school," says Bauer. "Most of the time, the children have a tremendous thirst for knowledge." Thus, behind the use of strong words by kindergarten children, one sees pure curiosity instead of provocation.