Translated title of the contribution: Sexual behaviour of infants

J. M E Oostveen*, J. F. Meulmeester, P. T. Cohen-Kettenis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective. To register forms of sexual behaviour in 5-6-year-old Dutch children in connection to background features and the way parents interact with their child. Design. Descriptive. Setting. Naarden, Bussum and Hilversumse Meent, the Netherlands. Method. During the school year 1992/'93 all Dutch parents of 5-6-year-old children attending the Medical Service were invited to complete a questionnaire comprising background information, questions on the parents' attitude towards and reaction to sexual behaviour of children and a questionnaire on sexual behaviour of the child (SBC). Results. Data were collected on 362 children, 190 boys and 172 girls, mean age 5,6 years (response: 62%). Respondents with secondary education appeared to be somewhat overrepresented. 'Touching of own genitals' and 'playing doctor' were reported with the highest frequencies (95 and 63% respectively of boys, 85 and 86% of girls). 'Adult-like sexual behaviour' was observed but to a much lesser extent (7 and 8% respectively). Only the degree of family nudity was related to the total SBC score. The higher-educated parents displayed a more permissive attitude towards sexuality than the lower-educated. Conclusion. Children showed sexual behaviour notably directed at self-gratification and satisfaction of curiosity. 'Typically adult-like' sexual behaviour was observed in young children only rarely. Caution is therefore indicated before concluding on the basis of incidentally observed atypical sexual behaviour that a child is sexually abused.

Translated title of the contributionSexual behaviour of infants
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)2200-2204
Number of pages5
JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994

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