Sex Behaviors of 6- to 12-Year-Old Boys
Similar to boys, girls’ overt sexual behaviors decline. Girls aged 6–9 (a) touched their vagina or anus at home (21%) as well as (b) tried to look at people when they were nude or undressing (21%). When 10–12 years old, they, like the boys, were observed to be very interested in the opposite sex (29%).
These data show that boys and girls are sexual individuals, that their public sexual behaviors decline from toddlerhood to puberty, and that during these years, children are learning the values and boundaries of the family and community.
Studies of children 0–11 years old in Europe also confirm the sexual curiosity and behaviors of boys and girls. Perhaps because some European societies are more sexually open and accepting, studies report more sexual behaviors than in the United States. For example, “touching breasts” is reported for 42% of U.S. boys (and girls); in Spain, 63% (Lopez Sanchez, Del Campo, & Guijo, 2002); in Sweden, 68% (Larsson & Svedin, 2002); and in the Netherlands, 74% (Sandfort & Cohen-Kettenis, 2000).