J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 27.8.2016 8:03:39

John Bancroft

SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDHOOD

The Kinsey Institut series

Indiana University Press, 2003


Obrázek
link and source: www.iupress.indiana.edu

Approached with either “indifference” or “panic” in our culture, discussion of childhood sexuality remains submerged within political and moral debates that have historically impeded its understanding. In contrast, Sexual Development in Childhood brings together respected researchers and clinicians to assess the current state of knowledge about childhood sexuality. The result is a comprehensive presentation of the latest research that is rational, balanced, and thorough.

The wide-ranging essays in Sexual Development in Childhood seek collectively to answer many of the most vital questions in the field of childhood development. What is childhood sexuality, and why should it be studied? How should it be measured, and what research methods are most useful? What are the current empirical results of research, and in what direction do these studies intend to go in the future? The essays offered in answer to these questions propose to help us understand both the normal range of sexual development in children and the consequences of abusive sexual experiences—objectives that should make this volume an essential resource for teachers, advocates, and social policy professionals as well as for researchers and clinicians.



John Bancroft

John Bancroft was trained in medicine at Cambridge University and in psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He has been Director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, and Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University since May 1995. He is the author of Human Sexuality and Its Problems, and was founding editor of Annual Review of Sex Research.









CONTENTS:

Introduction

Part 1. The Historical Context
Watching the Research Pendulum

Part 2. Methodological Aspects
Methodological Issues Associated with Studies of Child Sexual Behavior
Using the Parents as Source of Information About the Child with Special Emphasis on the Sex Problems Scale of the Child Behavior Checklist
Discussion Paper
General Discussion
Methodological Issues involved in Adult Recall of Childhood Sexual Experiences
Using Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (CASI) for Recall of Childhood Sexual Experiences
The Use of Meta-analysis in Understanding the Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
Discussion Paper
General Discussion

Part 3. Some new studies of normal sexual development
Studies of Sexuality of Nonabused Children
Body Awareness and Physical Intimacy: An Exploratory Study
Discussion Paper
General Discussion
The Nature of Childhood Sexual Experiences: Two Studies 50 Years Apart
Masturbation as a Marker of Sexual Development: Two Studies 50 Years Apart
Discussion Paper: Normative Sexual Development in Childhood and Adolescence
Discussion Paper
General Discussion
Antecedents of Sexual Activity at Ages 16 and 17 in a Community Sample Followed from Age 5

Part 4. Cross-Cultural Aspects
Cross-cultural aspects - the African American perspective
Cultural Dimensions of Childhood Sexuality in the United States
Discussion Paper
General Discussion

Part 5. Retrospective studies of effects of child sexual abuse on adolescent sexuality
Sexual Contact Between Children and Adults: A Life Course Perspective with Special Reference to Men
Childhood/Adolescent Sexual Coercion Among Men who have Sex with Men: Understanding Patterns of Sexual Behavior and Sexual Risk
Abusive Sexual Experiences Before Age 12 and Adolescent Sexual Behaviors
Discussion Paper
General discussion

Part 6. Theoretical models for mediating mechanisms
The Social Context of Adaptation to Childhood Sexual Maltreatment: A Life Course Perspective
Childhood Sexuality and Adult Sexual Relationships: How are they Connected by Data and by Theory?
Discussion Paper
Discussion Paper
General Discussion

Part 7. Towards a consensus
Conclusions from Research, Policy and Advocacy Perspectives
Conclusions from a Theoretical Perspective
General Discussion
Conference Participants
Index
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 3.9.2016 6:31:59

The Historical Context


  • in general we are dealing with a much more sexually active and aware adolescent population than was the case 50 years ago
  • while in some respects we can view this pattern positively - as reflecting a less sexually inhibited environment for young people to develop sexually in - there are substantial problems that ensue
  • age at puberty has a considerable impact on the age of sexual debut and may account for much of the racial differences in age of first sexual intercourse
  • one obviously important aspect of adolescent sexual development is the influence of earlier childhood experiences
  • the focus on childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has, however, impeded any further understanding of the relevance of normal childhood sexuality and later development
  • the emotional reactions of parents, police officers and other adults who discover that the child has had such a contact may disturb the child more seriously than the sexual contacts themselves
  • there are even doubts about the potential harm arising from incest
  • excessive official intervention could provoke evil consequences, and interrogation and cross-examination in court could wreak more harm than the actual offense
  • the scale of the abuse problem was laid out in remarkably modern-sounding terms by the Goldbergs in 1935, while Kinsey´s 1953 study of sexuality and human female suggested that abusive experiences befell a quarter of American girls
  • still, the idea of mass molestation by intimates and neighbors was all but ignored because it could not be fitted into prevailing social ideologies
  • the apparently simple phrase "child protection" is multilayered, with complex rhetorical implications for family control and individual responsibility
  • abuse rhetoric has also expanded medicalized and deviant labels over juvenile sexual behaviors that until very recently were commonly regarded as harmless play
  • schools were also hypersensitive to cases that could lead to expensive litigation, and some attacted media derision when they imposed severe penalties on small children whose depredations extended to kissing classmates
  • the phrase "sexualized children" is a wondrous notion in its own right, in its implication that any sexual interest by the young must be a form of pathology
  • therapeutic trends are reinforced by conservative moralist demands that schools teach total abstinence as the only acceptable form of juvenile sexuality
  • even the word "abuse" is controversial - originally it was a technical prosecutor´s word, in the form "carnal abuse", implying sexual acts with a child under 10 years old
  • it seems literally impossible to write on this topic without using language that virtually accepts the ideological interpretations of a particular school of thought, and in so doing forecloses the exploration of other avenues of interpretation
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 17.9.2016 7:20:15

Methodological Aspects


  • during early childhood, systematic direct observation or, if that is not feasible, interviews with parents and other informants - possibly enhanced by diaries - are the methods of choice
  • interviews are especially useful in view of the sporadic or phasic nature of childhood sexuality
  • after the toddler age of the children, parents are progressively less likely to know about their children´s sexual thinking and activities and therefore progressively less useful as informants
  • therefore there is a compelling need to develop interviews and related methods for the direct assessment of children´s sexuality
  • of the few parent-based screening instruments available, the Sex Problems Scale (SPS) of the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach, 1991) has been particularly frequently used
  • a critical examination of its psychometric quality shows a need for psychometric improvement, but also a considerable degree of validity on the group level
  • although, in the United States, there has been a gradual increase in openness about human sexuality, there are still parents who are uncomfortable in communicating with their children or others about sexual matters, which continues to pose a challenge for the development of disclosure-facilitating sexual assessment instruments
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 7.10.2016 18:49:24

Some new studies of normal sexual development


Studies of sexuality of nonabused children


  • in summary, sexual behavior in children can be validly studied with parent report
  • research clearly indicates that children are sexual beings, and will exhibit a broad range of sexual behaviors in the absence of sexual abuse
  • the results can inform us of the developmental course of sexual behavior as well as familial correlates of this behavior
  • research that identified a significant relationship between elevated sexual behavior and sexual abuse in children has overshadowed the fact that sexual behavior in children is typically nonpathologic, follows a developmental course, nad can be quite varied
  • sexually intrusive behavior in children is more typically seen in young, hyperaroused children who tend to act out rather than act in, and who live in families that have more relaxed sexual beliefs and practices
  • children´s sexuality continues to be a relatively uncharted terrain and further research is needed
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 6.11.2016 11:30:27

Body awareness and physical intimacy


  • in a qualitative study design, 15 girls and 16 boys (8- and 9-years-old) were interviewed about body awareness and their experience with physical intimacy
  • half of the children (8 girls, 7 boys) described romping as pretend-fighting, something that involves the whole of the body and that was seen as positive
  • one-third (5 girls, 4 boys) saw it as real fighting
  • they mentioned specific physically aggressive behavior, such as kicking, hitting and biting
  • the other children (1 girl, 4 boys) saw romping variously as pretend and real
  • half of the children reported romping with their parents, while brothers and sisters, grandparents, and peers were also mentioned
  • of the parents, almost all answered that they or their partner romped with the child
  • cuddling was described by almost all children (15 girls, 15 boys) in terms of hugging, kissing, and sitting on someone´s lap
  • one boy didn´t know what cuddling was and, after having heard an explanation by the interviewer, stated that he had never done it
  • almost all of them regarded cuddling as something positive, either because of the bodily sensations or because of the feeling of safety it gives them
  • they expressed their feelings regarding cuddling as safe, nice, soft, cheerful, fun, kind, and comforting
  • many more children than parents said that children have a definite need for cuddling
  • yet while all parents reported cuddling with their child, one of five children gave the impression this never happened
  • half of the children (15) cuddled with both humans and cuddly toys, dolls, or stuffed animals
  • one-third (9) only cuddled with people
  • generally, these people were close relatives such as brothers and sisters and grandparents, one child mentioned peers
  • five children stated they only cuddled with toys, dolls, or stuffed animals, and never with people
  • questions about being in love were likely to elicit some tension, which was evident in nonverbal signs (giggling, sighing, voice changes)
  • being in love was sometimes described in terms of feelings (more often by girls) and sometimes concretely and factually (more often by boys)
  • one boy was not able to give a definition of "being in love"
  • more than half of these 8- and 9-year-old children (18) said they were in love at the moment or had been in love before
  • one girl reported being in love with another girl
  • the others were in love with someone of the opposite sex
  • most of the children who had experience with being in love also had fantasies about the person with whom they were in love
  • parents were more inclined to believe that their children had been in love than the children´s own reports suggested
  • most children (23) reported being in love to be a positive experience
  • they mentioned that it´s good, fun, and nice, it´s tickling sensation, and it makes you feel proud
  • three children thought it was negative - they didn´t have any experience with it and they were not interested in it either
  • the other children had no opinion in this respect
  • though being in love is generally regarded as a positive experience, most children (22) wouldn´t tell anyone when they´re in love, because they feared (or had experienced) other children and adults teasing them
  • the children were asked to mark on a drawing of a same-sex naked child´s body (front and rear) which parts they considered to be pleasant and which they considered exciting, without further definition
  • while all children were able to indicate pleasant parts, fewer children (25) were able to mark exciting parts
  • head and shoulders were indicated most in both categories, whereas arms and legs, belly and back, and chest were in the middle position
  • genitals, bottom, and anus were least indicated , either as pleasant or as exciting
  • there was also no difference in the indications of boys and girls
  • a lot of parents could not anticipate the answers of their son or daughter on this task: one-third (11) were unable to name plesant body parts and half (14) could not name exciting parts
  • combining the answers of the children on several questions, the children appeared to fall into three categories
  • the largest of these (7 girls, 9 boys) had a positive attitude toward intimate physical contact, but were relatively uninterested in the idea of being in love
  • most of them didn´t have any experience in this respect
  • another group (6 girls, 5 boys) displayed a positive attitude toward physical intimacy and were actively involved in the domain of love
  • they had been in love once or more and they appeared to be much more self-conscious about their own behavior, experiences, feelings, and motives
  • the smallest group (2 girls, 2 boys) gave indications of wanting to avoid discussion of the topics at issue
  • in general, parents reported more occurrences of physical contact between them and their child than the children did
  • this was described for romping and cuddling
  • a question about whether the parent and the child bathed or showered together produced highly conflicting answers: while almost two-thirds of the parents said they did, three-quarters of the children denied that it happened
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 4.12.2016 7:52:02

The Nature of Childhood Sexual Experiences


  • 2 studies 50 years apart
  • Study A: 1998-1999 - the study focused on recall by adults exploring in detail specific sexually relevant events that occurred in different periods of childhood, including the individual´s subjective experience of these events
  • Study B: The original Kinsey Sample - in order to explore the extent to which childhood sexual play and other childhood sexual experiences may have changed over the past 50 years, a sample of university students from Kinsey´s original interview study was selected and their interview data used
  • for sexual experience with adults, Study B is of limited value, particularly for the males
  • in Study A it was not established at what age the experiences occurred other than before age 16
  • the impression from the female data is that Study A females were less likely to have encountered male exhibitionists than those in Study B
  • the most confident conclusion from both data sets is that an experience with adults does not relate to whether the child had sexual experience with peers
  • although it is clear that some sexually abused children do become more sexually interactive with their peers, our data would suggest that for the majority of sexual abuse experiences there is no such effect
  • the "sexualization", when it occurs, may relate to the severity and duration of the abuse
  • childhood sexual experience with peers is associated with earlier and more extensive sexual experience in adolescence, although in several respects the effects are subtle
  • the crucial question is whether this is a causal relationship, i.e., because of childhood sexual experiences children become more sexually aware, or whether both aspects of development are manifestations of an innately greater sexual awareness or responsiveness in some children than in others
  • an intermediate interactive explanatory position may have more credibility, in which children with a greater innate awareness of sexual pleasure are more likely to initiate sexual games, but any child participating in such games, providing they are not aversive experiences, may find an increased awareness of sexual interest and pleasure as a consequence
  • the extent to which such games result in increased sexual awareness may depend on the child´s innate propensity for sexual pleasure, which probably varies substantially across children
  • the association between exposure to pornography and child sexual experiences during elementary school years is also of interest
  • it is again not clear whether children who engage in child sexual experience are more likely to be aware of or recognize the significance of pornography when they come across it
  • but it is also possible that encountering such material induces curiosity which leads to child sexual experiences
  • in the accompanying paper on masturbation (Bancroft, Herbenick, Raynolds, 2003), they stressed the gender contrast in age of onset of masturbation, with females showing a much wider distribution both pre- and postpubertally
  • whereas they do not see this pattern with child sexual experiences, they do find a wider range of age of onset of sexual arousal, attraction, and fantasy among the females in Study A
  • it is also noteworthy that the females with early child sexual experiences are more likely to masturbate postpubertally, a relationship which is not evident in the males, presumably because the large majority of boys masturbate postpubertally anyway
  • childhood sexual play is likely to have functions in cognitive and emotional development similar to those of other types of play
  • the full theoretical consideration of the role of play in development will be covered in a separate paper
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 30.12.2016 13:15:18

Masturbation as a Marker of Sexual Development


  • genders differ in persistance of masturbation
  • findings suggest the impact of both sociocultural and biological influences
  • the increased likelihood of women reporting masturbation probably results from a reduction in the taboo around masturbation, making it easier to admit to masturbation as well as increasing the likelihood of its happening, both prepubertally and postpubertally
  • in addition, the substantial differences between women 50 years ago who reported and didn´t report masturbating in other aspects of their sexuality suggest a level of societal constraint on women´s sexual expression at that time which has substantially lessened
  • in the males, by contrast, the robust pattern that emerges from our two studies, and which is largely consistent with the rest of the literature, is of a more predictable , peri-pubertal pattern of masturbatory onset, suggesting that the hormonal, physical, and psychosocial changes at puberty play an important organizing and activating role, which hasn´t changed over the 50 years and which results in the large majority of males´ starting to masturbate either shortly before or shortly after puberty onset
  • use of first ejaculation as the indicator of puberty onset may accentuate this pattern, but using other indicators of puberty onset would make little difference to this pattern
  • the much more variable pattern of masturbatory onset in females, with its relative lack of association with puberty, implies that it is less hormonally organized, or alternatively that hormones are more relevant to some females than others
  • the early prepubertal starters may be manifesting a relatively high and innate level of sexual awareness and responsiveness which, according to our limited data, does not appear to be determined by environmental factors, and hence may have a genetic basis
  • this early onset may be activated by hormonal changes at adrenarche, which typically occurs around 8 years of age
  • the middle-range onset masturbators may, like the males, be showing more responsiveness to peri-pubertal hormonal change, while the late-onset masturbators or non-masturbators may be expressing a generally lower level of sexual responsiveness
  • what data also show for females is a suggestion of a link between early-onset masturbation and more positive sexual experiences in adolescence and early adulthood, although by college years social factors will be increasing the likelihood of sexual involvement in the majority of women, so that by then the relevance of this early onset is relatively subtle
  • the late-onset group, who they have postulated may be less sexually responsive, may not differ in their ability to establish rewarding and enjoyable sexual (nad reproductive) relationships, but it is possible that they may end up attaching less importance to orgasm and genital response and more to other, more socially validated aspects of the sexual experience
  • it would be of interest to use such markers as early masturbation onset as possible predictors of later patterns of sexuality in women, including the impact of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and lactation, and the menopause - but that will best be done with long-running studies, as with older subjects retrospective recall of childhood masturbation experience will be more fallible
  • we can begin to see how biological and sociocultural factors might interact in the sexuality of women
  • if we postulate that women vary in their propensity for sexual responsiveness on genetic or at least biological grounds, as suggested above, then what we may have seen over this 50-year peroid is a reduction of the social constraints which previously were inhibiting some of the early starters and many of the late starters
  • as a result we are seeing the basic biologically determined variability of female sexual responsiveness given freer expression
  • in the male they find the impact of puberty on the organization of emerging sexuality, at least through masturbation, markedly apparent at both time peroids
  • there may have been some more subtle changes
  • they suggested some form of "desensitization" of the early masturbators
  • perhaps the early masturbation experience had dulled sexual responsiveness over the years, or perhaps the early masturbators had well-established patterns of penile stimulation which were less easily incorporated into their sexual interactions with a partner
  • they found no support, in either study, for the idea that early masturbation is a manifestation of the "sexualizing" of children that results from sexual abuse, although the finding that women who didn´t masturbate at all were less likely to report such abuse experiences during childhood
  • one unexpected finding, which was restricted to the females, was an association between prepubertal masturbation and exposure to pornography as a child
  • this deserves closer examination
  • at present it is not clear whether the pornography awakened sexual interest or whether the greater innate interest in sex may have increased awareness of pornography, or recall of it
  • masturbation is an important marker of sexual development, which is particularly valuable in exploring the inherent variability of sexual responsiveness and interest in women
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J. Bancroft: Sexual development in childhood

Příspěvekod Plyšáček » 10.2.2017 10:46:03

Retrospective studies of effects of child sexual abuse on adolescent sexuality


Sexual Contact Between Children and Adults


  • the preeminent position of trauma-based conceptions of the long-term effects of early sexual experience has remained largely unchallenged
  • although the notion of trauma is multivocal in the psychogenic literature, it anchors the vast majority of research attempting to account for the associations between childhood sex and subsequent well-being
  • yet the key theoretical claims and expectations uniting psychogenic theories of the longterm effect of childhood sex received little support in analyses of a large, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults and a large representative sample of the Chicago metropolitan area

  • the prediction that adult-child sex leads to a withdrawal from sexual activity received no support
  • the effect of adult-child sex on measures of sexual behavior over longer periods of the life course (last five years and since age 18) indicates that these experiences heighten levels of sexual activity for men but do not result in sexual withdrawal
  • the evidence suggests that childhood sexual contact tends to result in reinforcement of sexual activity generally as well as acts and relationship characteristics specific to the early sexual event - this conclusion is supported with respect to the heightened interest in oral sex if this occurred in the early event as well as the association between same-gender sexual activity during childhood and its subsequent appeal
  • contrary to the expectations of the psychogenic perspective, the level of event severity is not associated with long-term outcomes
  • peer contacts were associated - at magnitudes and significance levels comparable to adult-child sexual contacts - with overall well-being and sexual adjustment during adulthood - in short, age of the partner is not associated with sexual adjustment during adulthood
  • respondents who reported adult-child sexual contact were significantly more likely also to report a peer sexual contact, suggesting that early sexual practice may diffuse through networks of children tied to those who have experienced sexual contact with an adult
  • the effect of adult-child sex on adult sexual adjustment appears to be mediated by a range of intervening events in the life course
  • in sum, childhood sexual experience should be understood as embedded in dynamically unfolding lives
  • research efforts that seek to track the consequences of early sexual events through behavioral pathways may prove more fruitful than the continued and restrictive focus on the severity and nature of event-specific trauma

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