Aug. 13, 2018
Do Not Turn Childhood Sex Curiosity into Trauma
The harsh ban on little girls' sexual curiosity seems like a prerequisite for feeling of inadequacy some women keep battling all their lives.
My friend was in the pool with her 5-year-old daughter when the girl shared the “miraculous discovery” with her: “There is an underwater stream and it feels sooooo… good when it gets on my private parts! Let me show you, mom! It feels a little ticklish but more than that! Did you know, mom? Let me show you, mom!”
They swam towards the stream together and checked how great it felt. Her daughter was eager to share the discovery with her older sister who was seven. But the seven year old was not all that impressed. She had discovered the precious sensation the year before while looking at some pictures, quite innocent but sensual in nature. She had told her mom it felt like she wanted to pee but it is also felt very pleasant. What was it? My friend explained to her it was very normal and this was how the body receives pleasure.
This sounds like sexual education at the appropriate time in the appropriate manner. This type of experience was out of question when we were growing up. Both my friend and I discovered our sexualities between the age of four and five. Here is what it looked like for her. She came back from the daycare and told her parents that during nap time she and another little boy touched each other’s private parts and she really LIKED the feeling. Guess, what followed? She was timed out and yelled at. When we were growing up, they used to put kids face to the wall in the corner for a time out.
She told me that to this day she vividly remembered the horror and the fear she felt while sobbing in the corner, feeling lost and scared for sharing the joy with her family. This is what got sealed in: I am inadequate. Something is wrong with me. I cannot trust anyone, even my closest ones.
Her parents never meant to give her the feeling of inadequacy or drive her away. They wanted to protect her. They must have felt scared to death, ashamed to have a child like that and very lost… They were taught that sexuality was something that started evolving after puberty. It does not.
Some little kids are highly sexual beings. I was one myself. My first sexual fantasy goes back to four years of age and it was a kinky one. Unlike my friend I got “lucky.” I grew up in a family of introverts where sharing feelings and sensations was not a part of daily routine. I picked out of thin air that sharing this was inappropriate. Turns out thin air is not that thin. Like my friend I developed a feeling of inadequacy. She learnt something was deeply wrong with her and she needed to be highly secretive, I learnt something was deeply wrong with me and I needed to fix it. Both strategies require energy. The amount of energy required would be enough to build a small town or stock an average museum with painting and photography.
In our age filled with sex-ed headlines and parenting articles on how to deal withe early childhood sexual curiosity this may seem a little overrated. How could things like these possibly linger? Pull on your big girls panties and get over it, right? Wrong. This is a very long story, and I am just warming up. After numerous intimate conversations with other women and responses I am getting to my sex posts on the blog I realized what a common scenario this still is. Many girls and boys stayed “out of trouble” simply because the environment suppressed the impulses before they had a chance to know what it was that they felt. The thin air is not that thin after all…. Others were genuinely lucky by either discovering themselves late enough or having parents who instinctively felt it was best to leave the kid on his own, behind the closed door. I did not meet too many of these. A lot of ladies I’ve met had painful recollections of their early sexual curiosity and the shaming that followed from their parents and care-givers, who must have been scared to death by the ghost of Lolita…..
This harsh ban on sexual curiosity during preschool years looks like a prerequisite for feeling of inadequacy and inferiority a lot of women end up carrying through their lives. Our sexuality forms the very base of our characters. And the process starts many years before puberty. If that channel is blocked with fear and shame during the preschool years, many women will simply put a cap on all their emotional needs. That will cut them off from their inner source of energy and ability to listen to herself. This is not the only way to cut the child off her inner source of energy and deprive her of her sovereignty, but this is a very common scenario. Women will develop coping mechanisms. Some will become relationship-addicts and co-dependents; others will be battling depressions, yet others will be numbing themselves in the rat race of the never-ending achievements or turn to -isms.
Both, my friend and I had a nice selection from this “a la carte” and spent an enormous amount of energy making it back to ourselves. Our caring parents had tried to save us from the trouble with the methods available to them at the time. In a long run it proved to have devastating effect on us. Now we are determined to save the trip for our kids. We are both carefully exploring the new paths for our children. I read parenting advice articles but mostly rely on my gut feelings. I put a lot of attention and care into developing my own language, that would keep my kids safe and protected but also open and accepting towards various forms of sexuality when the times is right for them to take their sexual natures to the next level. I believe the first step in protecting your child is is to reassure her she is safe addressing any sexual topic with you.
Title Picture Credit: StarLightWind at Deviantart.com
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