Children and learning about sexuality

When to be concerned about a child’s sexual behaviour

Most children’s behaviours related to sexuality are a natural part of how they learn and are nothing to worry about.

However there are some things children do which might be cause for concern, such as:

  • knowing more about sex than you would expect for a child’s age
  • forcing others to play sex games, or playing them with much younger children
  • playing and talking about sex much more than other children
  • after kindergarten age, masturbating in public, or so much that it affects their play
  • always drawing the sexual parts of bodies, or being afraid or upset when people talk about their bodies or sex
  • being very anxious about being with a particular person when there seems to be no reason.

A child might also:

  • have unexplained redness, soreness or injury of the genital areas or mouth
  • show signs of stress, such as a return to bedwetting, soiling their pants or hurting themselves.

If you are concerned, talk it over with your doctor or a counsellor.

If you believe that a child has been or is likely to be a victim of sexual abuse, you must report your belief to the Child Abuse Hotline on 1800 700 250.

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Last updated: 18 September 2017