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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Pre-Pubescent Curiosity

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Author Topic: Pre-Pubescent Curiosity
Beppie
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Recently in Pennsylvania, there has been an investigation into a report that a five year old girl performed oral sex on one of her kindergarten classmates.

This seems to me to be a fairly normal act of curiosity- it may have been sexual (indeed, we all know that sex inborn in all of us), or it may have been non-sexual, but whatever is the case, I think that the true harm to come out of this is the hysteria that has built up around the two children involved. Rather than just being an act of curiosity, it has now become an incident of guilt and shame that will probably negatively affect the way in which the two individuals approach sex for the rest of their lives. I think that most people would be able to remember an event in their grade school years in which their curiosity led them to do something sexual or something that could be construed as sexual with another person of the same age, with absolutely no ill effects at all.

I do, however, see lots of people who are still hurt by violence that occured in the playground, but according to the boy's mother, this is not as much a cause for concern:
"This isn't kids fighting or cutting up in school," the mother said. "This is a serious matter."

Let's just think about that for a second. Causing physical harm to another student is not a serious matter, but displaying innate sexual curiosity is.

For me though, the truly serious matter is the way in which people can get so hysterical about a completely natural incident, and therefore warp the development of two children who were in all likelyhood completely emotionally healthy.


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Daydreamer24
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I don't know how to feel about that.

I think that girl was definitely driven by curiosity.

"I have a hole between my legs. I wonder if Timmy does, too!"

I don't think it should be as big of a deal as her parents are making it. Every kid is curious at her age (really, until they see evidence that Timmy has no hole they're gonna be curious), and like Beppie said, she's going to be scared to do anything sexual in fear that she will get in trouble.

So really, I think that making a big riot out of this is going to do more harm than good, because it's gonna scar these kids for life.

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"I'd rather be a fence post in Texas then the king of Tennessee!" -KKBQ


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Dude_who_writes
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For the record, Timmy doesn't have a hole between his legs.

I just will never understand the amount of taboo is placed on sex. Whether people like to realize it or not, everyone is an inately sexual being. We're curious -- and, for the most part, that curiosity doens't leave us as we progress on in age.

I could go on and on about how the way this situation is handled will either positively or adversely affect the two kids involved (and judging by the ham-fisted way that the article subtlely indicates, it will more than likely only result in those that are adverse) but I'll refrain.

I think the gem about all of this is the way that the article also subtlely makes it seem as thought the teacher skipped town.

Oy.

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Tim
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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by Dude_who_writes:
For the record, Timmy doesn't have a hole between his legs.

Haha, sorry 'bout that, Tim. That example made for a bad mental picture of my father, anyways.


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logic_grrl
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While I tend to agree with what people have been saying, I do think that a lot depends on context - which is exactly what newspaper articles of this sort rarely give.

For example, investigative play and comparing different body parts (and small kids do have a tendency to put anything into their mouths ...) is very different from actually "performing oral sex".

If it really was the latter, and you have a very young child trying to perform adult sexual acts, then that might genuinely be an indicator that that child may have been abused.

And while I don't think that consensual play is likely to be a big deal, you might have a real problem if you have one child pressuring or bullying another child (in sexual or non-sexual ways).


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Heather
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I think a few sentences in that article sum up how backwards our culture can be all too well.

The problem in a case like this is that because of the way it was handled, trauma is likely going to result now, regardless. certainnly mimicking adult sexual acts can be a signal of abuse. On other other hand, what is "oral sex" to an adult, may very well NOT be to a child, who is simply putting things in his or her mouth -- children tend to do that, explore tactily, and if a small child doesn't know what "oral sex" is, there really isn't much to keep them from exploring that way unless another child is resistant.

And unless an adult walked in and saw this, we have no way of knowing if even that occurred and now never will.

The line Beppie quoyed, when I read the other day had me sitting aand gaping at the computer, though. Physical violence, both in children, teens and adults has long been one of the biggest problems in our culture. And it is only getting worse. That what may well be -- and handled between both of the children only in this scenario properly, would be as far as they go -- normal, natrual sexual play among children is considered a "serious matter" when fighting is not speaks volumes.

That the boy's mother brought all of this into the media was more than a minor blunder, even if she meant well. That it is stated this sort of thing has "never happened" is just bizarre.

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Aria51
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There are a few things that strike me personally and as a parent about this case.

First of all, yes, children are curious. Humans are inherently sexual. Children explore their world through all five of their senses, and using one part of their bodies to explore (the mouth) is just as natural to them as using another part of their bodies (their hands.)

However, I would raise one hell of a fuss if I found out someone was invading my son's sexual and personal space in the classroom, be it a fellow student or a teacher, ESPECIALLY if my son was of an age where he would be too young for Scarleteen. There is a time and a place for everything, and both parents and teachers should be trusted to make this known to the children in their charge. Where was the teacher when this happened? Why was she leaving five-year-olds alone in the classroom, or at least alone enough to the point where the little girl was able to have the little boy's penis in her mouth? Not only was she making it so the children were able to engage in behavior that shouldn't happen in a public venue, she was also endangering the lives of each and every child there if she wasn't paying enough attention to notice what two of them were doing. What if, instead of getting naked and exploring eachother, the children were over in the corner sticking pennies in the electrical outlet? What if they were leaning out the window?

Children who are old enough to be curious about eachothers' bodies are old enough to be taught what is and is not appropriate behavior for the classroom. They are old enough to learn that it's OK to be curious, it's OK to explore, but that it's something that we do at home.

But above all else, I simply cannot get over the fact that the teacher was negligent enough to not pay the children the amount of attention she's really supposed to. If she's easily distracted, has more things going on than she can handle at once, or simply cannot or does not want to handle a bunch of small children, all of whom need an extraordinary amount of attention and care, she simply should not be teaching kindergarten. I shudder to think of the sorts of dangers my son would be in if I left him in a school like that.


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Beppie
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Remember that we don't even know how long it took place for- the teacher might have stopped it almost as soon as it started. And she DID report it happenning.

I'd agree that both children involved in this incident are in need of some sex education- personally, I would tell them something like "it's not a bad thing, but it's a grown up thing, like driving a car." And I would defintely say that school is NOT an appropriate place for such activity. However, I wouldn't say that the boy's personal and sexual space was necessarily invaded, since as far as anyone can tell the incident was consensual. We don't know which of the children initiated- and it may well have been both of them. The reason the focus seems to be on the boy in the article is due to the fact that it was his mother who complained to the newspaper.


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Beppie:
And she DID report it happenning.

Neggattiivveee. The teacher didn't report anything happening. She said nothing until another child's mother brought the incident to the attention of the administration, and only then did she outline what exactly took place in a memo to the principal. Days elapsed between the incident took place and the time the teacher decided to say something about it. And whether the consensus here is that the behavior is lovely or ludicrous, this is enough of an "unusual occurrence" that it should have been reported regardless.

There are several issues that I think are embedded within this tale. First of all we've got the age-old question of "when exactly is a person old enough to give consent." Even if the current AOC in my state seems rather high at 18, I daresay it would be pretty darned low at 5. The next issue of a "personal space invasion" is pretty contingent upon the first one, as it would be pretty hard to determine whether somebody's space was invaded if you the whole question of consent is still up in the air.

Either way, my personally feelings lie with Aria on this one. No matter how you feel about childhood sexual exploration, school ain't the time or place for such things. And while I can appreciate the fact that many teachers are overworked, I'd at least rather see such things reported as they occur, rather than days later. I'd expect the same if my kid were in some sort of fight, was mouthing off in class, or was otherwise raising holy hell. There is good behavior and there is bad behavior. My gut feeling is that oral sex in school falls among the latter.

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Gumdrop Girl
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maybe i'm wrong to assume, but don't children know not to put their mouths on people by the age of 5 (biting, licking and so forth)? moreover, don't they tend to have some awareness of the 'private" status of their "private parts?"

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If the shoe fits, it's probably your size.


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Dude_who_writes
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quote:
Originally posted by Gumdrop Girl:
maybe i'm wrong to assume, but don't children know not to put their mouths on people by the age of 5...

That's a pretty general statement. It all depends on upbringing, and moreso, just because children understand that it's wrong, doesn't necessarily mean that they won't do it.

Unfortnatually, it depends on the parenting, because there's very little structure to education prior to age five and kindergarden. There are too many variables in that equation to determine whether or not mom and dad have expained the concept of private parts or have simply labled, it something along the lines of "coochiesnorcher" and given little or no more information to the child. Given the mother's stand on the act to the local media, I'm guessing that would be the case.

And, let's also remember that even though most of us were more than likely told that we weren't supposed to touch down there or let no one touch down there, we still did experiment though a number of different ways.

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Tim
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~jess~
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I think the whole show me your and i'll show you mine is a normal thing for young childern. i remeber going through that with my cousins(i try not to think about it, i feel preverted). i think this whole thing shouldnt of been that big of an issue. in the article it seemed like they mainly forcused on the little girl. The little boy also had a big role in this. yeah the girl addmitted to it but we dont know who forced it. we dont know if the little boy made her or the little girl made him.

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my world


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Dude_who_writes:
That's a pretty general statement. It all depends on upbringing, and moreso, just because children understand that it's wrong, doesn't necessarily mean that they won't do it.

Sure, sure, but let's be honest here. When was the last time you saw a baby shove some random thing in his or her mouth? Probably fairly recently. Now when was the last time you saw a kindergartner randomly shove something in his or her mouth just for the hell of it? I'm betting not so recently, if at all.

Why is that? Because it doesn't tend to happen that way. Babies love nothing more than putting things in their mouth. My mother once told me that when she caught me suckin' on a hair dryer cord at 18 months she was sure I did that just for the shock value of it all. By age five though, that sort of behavior was nonexistant. And for all of my four younger siblings (all of whom I remember vividly when they were of kindergarten age), and friends at the time, the same held true.

As with anything else, I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule. But my guess on why you don't see many 5-year olds randomly shoving stuff into their mouths is the same as my guess as to why we do see infants and toddlers acting in that manner. Some things just tend to come and go with age.

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BruinDan, "Number Three"

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Aria51
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Danny does make a good point here.

While babies will shove anything and everything in their mouths, from the children I've cared for and from my own child, and also from a parenting book I have open in front of me right now, that behavior tends to stop before the child is 2 and a half or 3 years old. My son hasn't put a random object into his mouth for the heck of it for a few months now, and he's almost 28 months old. He's also well aware that his parts are his, his friends' parts are not his, and he is allowed to touch and explore his parts all he wants. He also understands that it is not appropriate to touch and explore his friends' parts, because their parts are not his to touch. He also knows that unless we're giving kisses, we don't put our mouths on other people because they might not like it. And he's just your normal, run-of-the-mill toddler.

All I'm saying is that it's not a hard lesson for children to grasp to respect others' private spaces, and what sort of behavior is and is not appropriate in the classroom, or any other sort of public place. It's up to the parents to teach the children these limits, and it's up to both the parents and the teachers to watch and make sure the children aren't doing things that they have been taught are inappropriate.

If the children aren't taught to respect eachother, things like this are bound to happen. And I have a feeling my son will have a healthy attitude toward sexuality because he knows it's perfectly OK to be curious, and also because he knows it's important to respet others' private space, especially in a classroom and public setting.


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Beppie
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Firstly, as I've said before, I do agree that it shouldn't have happenned at school, and this should be explained to the children, but it's probably just not as bas as everyone's making it out to be. Although I'm sure the boy's penis wasn't randomly stuck into the girl's mouth, I do think five year olds will still put things in their mouths on purpose at times when adults wouldn't (or when they would but only under certain circumstances).

It's true that most five year olds have probably been told that their genitals are "private parts", but it's quite plausible that they haven't been told why. All it probably did was increase the curiosity of the children.

As for the issue of consent- I don't think you can really apply it as you would with two adults or with an adult claiming that a child consented to perform a sexual act on them. I don't think that these kids would have seen the act as "sexual" in the same way that adults would. They probably just saw it as something slightly naughty involving taboo body parts.

As for the teacher not knowing until the boy's mother reported it- I think that this only supports the theory that it was an act of curiosity that didn't last too long. In a busy classroom, the two kids could have sneaked into the book cupboard or something, while the teacher was trying to do a million other things, she might have put his penis in her mouth for a few seconds, they could have slipped out, with no one any wiser. I doubt the two kids just stood up in the middle of quiet time, in the middle of the classroom, and decided to go for it.


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Daydreamer24
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I agree with Beppie in the sense that the two children probably found it a lot less sexual than we do. Also like Beppie said, being told that your parts are yours and Jack's are Jack's probably led the children to more curiosity. I really don't think all that many children at 5 have romantic feelings for the opposite sex (or crave sex at all for that matter) so I think it was just an innocent (or not so innocent) act of curiosity.

But how did the boy's mother know BEFORE the teacher what had happened? Was she there, or did the boy tell his Mom?


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Daydreamer24
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quote:
Originally posted by Daydreamer24:
But how did the boy's mother know BEFORE the teacher what had happened? Was she there, or did the boy tell his Mom?

Just for the record: the boy's mother didn't report it, another mother did.

quote:
From the article:
District officials learned of the incident after a classmate told her mother last weekend. The mother notified school district officials Monday, and they immediately launched an investigation.


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Alocv
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I'd just like to point out with as much as our culture on TV, etc. is highly saturated with sex-related things regardless of the taboo, it's possible that the kids had an idea of it being something "risky" but having no idea of the context at all (and no abuse.) Hell, remember all the ccomments about the whole presidental report when it was released? Even regular news stations were running details of that, and it's possible if either of them overheard their parents watching something as tame as CNN, the idea could have seeped in.

Actually though, this isn't the first time I've heard of this happening in a similarly aged situation, not at the slightest. I know of at least one person (who is highly embarassed about this now!) who, realizing the whole "show you mine" game was already risky but not sure why, tried this with a boy - and then her friend did too. None of them had ANY idea what was going on, but I know she hopes she never runs into the guy again just because it'd be too embarassing. And no, no "sex" happened there, it was just total exploration. Hell, I'll admit when I was like 6 I played the same game with a girl at a poorly monitored Sunday School of all places (Little side-room, not in front of everybody), and of all things, we decided to use our mouths to explore.. a bellybutton of all things. lol - that was the most facinating thing (mid-riff outfits wern't popular then) to both of us when everything was seen. It could have just as easily been something else, so I have to say I think they are overreacting.

PS: I agree on the teacher thing entirely.
PPS: I still know that girl and it's a really embarassing memory we don't bring up much.


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Daydreamer24
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When I was in daycare, probably at the age of around 7 or 8, I remember being in a bathroom stall with this girl. I have a very blurry picture of my whole childhood in general; I only remember bits and pieces. The whole thing is like a movie in fast-forward mode: I can't tell what's going on but I can see where I'm at.

Anywho, I remember "fondeling" with this girl in a bathroom stall at daycare and my Mother showed up at the front office and I got called home (for something unrelated, probably a dentist appointment). When I walked out, a moderator said "Deanna, why is your shirt inside out?!"

It was so weird because I must have been this lesbian child. Seriously! It's like I was a lesbian before I began 6th grade. So, atleast we went into a bathroom and fondeled, but still, it's something to be done at home!


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