Myths of Childhood Sexuality

©2010 by David L. Riegel


From the anonymous publication of Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution in the 1700s, through Freud's posited "latency" and beyond, there have been various theories regarding the sexuality of children which had little if any basis in sound scholarship or proper research. In the middle third of the 20th century a measure of realism began to be introduced into this arena, and some investigators recognized that children, like the rest of humanity, were sexual beings. However, beginning in the 1970s, a new wave of problematic hypotheses about children's sexuality arose from feminist and victimological backgrounds. While children of both genders were affected, the sexual explorations of boys were particularly impacted. This paper examines these hypotheses and their effects through a review of both pre-victimological and more recent literature.

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