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SIECUS Rep. 1980;8(4):1-2, 10.

Parent-child communication about sexuality.



The Project on Human Sexual Development carried out a study of more than 1400 parents of 3-11 year-old children. The study was designed to determine the process of sexual learning in the home environment. It was seen that most children, both boys and girls, took their questions regarding sexual matters to their mothers. A very small percentage of either mother or fathers had ever discussed premarital sex, venereal disease, or contraception with their children, although they nearly universally wanted their children to be familiar with these matters before adolescence. In fact, most parents said that they waited for the children to broach the subject of sexuality. Despite their desires to communicate wth their children regarding sexual matters, they were generally unable to move beyond the traditional manner in which they themselves had been taught sexuality in their childhoods. Beneath the traditional surface, there is a movement away from the status quo. Some of the parent respondents were dissatisfied with traditional gender roles, especially in relation to childrearing. To correct this situation, sexuality must be recognized as broad-based, not genital-related. "Sexual learning is social learning, from birth throughout life."

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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