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Sexual Development and Behavior in Children and Adolescents 

Sexual Development and Behavior in Children and Adolescents
Chapter:
Sexual Development and Behavior in Children and Adolescents
Author(s):

H. Martin Malin

and Fabian M. Saleh

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199945597.003.0003
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date: 16 June 2019

Considerable evidence now supports the conclusion that sexual behavior, as well as physical sexual maturation, unfolds in a developmental continuum from intrauterine life through childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Technology not only extends our ability to observe sexual unfolding but also affects the process. The Internet culture and attendant digital technologies, barely a generation old, has significantly influenced the psychosocial determinants of sexual development and likely will continue to do so. This chapter reviews extant literature on the trajectory of “normal” sexual development as well as current knowledge that helps distinguish between “normal” and “abnormal” sexual behaviors in children and adolescents. A greater understanding of developmental sexology will augment our ability to nurture our children appropriately, protect them against sexual violence, and better care for both the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse.

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