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Sociology department website encourages parents to let children engage in ‘sexual play’

Document says parents should react ‘positively’ to 4-year-olds touching each others’ genitals

The University of California, Santa Barbara, hosts a website that encourages parents to allow children as young as four years old to engage in sexual play, claiming that it is “perfectly normal” and that parents and caregivers should respond “positively” to such behavior.

The website SexInfo Online is maintained via the school’s sociology website by students “who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality,” according to the site. The website features a significant number of sub-sections and articles related to human sexuality. One of them, “Childhood Sexuality,” discusses such topics as “childhood masturbation,” “sexual play,” and appropriate “reactions” to these behaviors by parents.

The website states that, for young children, sexual “play” and self-stimulation are “completely normal.” The authors of the website encourage parents to permit such behavior.

On the topic of “sexual play” between young children, the authors state that it is most common “between the ages of four and seven” and that it is “generally harmless.”

“Children might display affection to their friends by hugging and kissing, or touching each other’s genitals, which is perfectly normal. Parents should not react in a negative way because children are just exploring,” the website states.

“If a child is performing these activities excessively or in public, parents should sit down and talk with them about how these activities should be done in private versus of trying to thwart the activity altogether,” the authors continue.

As well, regarding masturbation, children “should be taught not that self-exploration is dirty or bad, but rather that masturbation is a private matter and should not be performed in public,” the website states.

In another article titled “Talking To Your Children About Sex,” the website seems to suggest that parents should allow their children to watch pornography.

“It is important that children understand that viewing pornography is a normal habit, and that they do not need to be ashamed of it,” the guide states.

The website does not counsel parents to stop their children from watching porn; instead, it states that parents should tell children that pornographic material may create “expectations about sex that are unrealistic.”

The College Fix reached out repeatedly to the the university’s sociology department and the school itself for comment, but did not receive any replies.

Not all experts agree that children should be encouraged to sexually experiment with each other. A paper authored several years ago by clinical social worker Brandy Steelhammer argues that children should be instructed to refrain from sexual behavior with others.

Similarly, a guide from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Tennessee instructs parents to tell children that “the touching of others’ private parts is not acceptable.”

Earlier this year, The College Fix reported on the SexInfo Online website’s article that gave step-by-step instructions on how to deep throat during oral sex.

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About the Author
Ema Gavrilovic is a graduate student at DePaul University who studies clinical mental health counseling. At DePaul, she is involved with the DePaul College Republicans as well as with its chapter of Young Americans for Freedom.

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