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July 1979

Childhood Sexuality and the Pediatrician

Author Affiliations

SIECUS 84 Fifth Ave, Suite 407 New York, NY 10011

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(7):685-686. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130070021002

Q: How does it make you feel when your little boy plays with his penis (or your little girl with her clitoris)?

A: Awful!, Scared!, Angry!, Embarrassed!, I don't know!

However the pediatrician (or the nurse, social worker, paramedic) follows up on this interchange once it has, hopefully, been begun—or fails to follow up—may well reflect itself some years later in how that child views him/herself as a sexual human being, in how he/she deals with others of the same or opposite sex in adolescence and adult life, in whether or how he/she chooses to marry, and ultimately in how he/she will deal with his/her own children as the sexual beings all children are, from before birth and for the rest of their days.

The focus of a great deal of troubled attention and concern today, not only by pediatricians but by the whole society, is the pregnant adolescent girl.

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