Sexual notions

The twin concepts of innocence and ignorance are vehicles for adult double standards: a child is ignorant if she doesn’t know what adults want her to know, but innocent if she doesn’t know what adults don’t want her to know’ Kitzinger (1997). In the light of this statement discuss how societies define innocence and to what extent such concepts of innocence at times are more harmful than beneficial for the children in relation to sexuality.

The meaning of innocence is continuously being constructed and has a wide range of interpretations. Age, ethnicity, gender and classes have often further complicated its meaning. Adults may perceive children as innocent when they lack the knowledge that adults do not want them to possess. On the contrary, children are deemed as ignorant when they do not know what they should know. In reality when innocence is related to sexuality, it is considered as a form of purity and a virtue, in particular, sexual purity (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). In the first part of this essay, we will see how most societies define sexual innocence and ignorance.

Further discussion will be focused on why children are often uninformed about the various sexual issues behind the concept of innocence. In the second part of the essay, we will then examine the harms that are brought upon children due to this definition. Lastly, the essay concludes with the assumption that when the children are perceived as innocence, it will bring great harm to them, as information about sexuality was not well delivered.

Many societies define innocence in their own ways. For instance, it is not possible to make universal statements about the nature of children’s sexual awareness as every society draws different discourses. These range from viewing children as the basis of adult identity to those of children as a separate state, so as to explore appropriate expressions of children’s sexuality and behaviour. In western societies, ideas about sexuality are entrenched in the notion of ‘naturalness’ and human sexuality is commonly seen as inherent and biological (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). An example would be that masturbation may be seen as part of natural sexual development in growing children.

However, having been influenced by societal moral beliefs and social taboos, parents still hold negative attitudes towards masturbation. This is evidenced by the use of instruments by the Victorian Middle class parents to control children’s masturbation, from devices to ensure that children could not reach their genitals to warnings that it caused blindness and insanity (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). By doing so, these parents have ensured that their children remain unaware of what they do not want them to know thus maintaining innocence.

Western parents today may implicitly recognize that their children masturbate but social taboos against its revelation still exist (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). In the British context, Stevi Jackson suggests that sexuality is usually defined as a ‘special area of life’ that is the preserve of adults and thus children and sex should be kept apart (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003). From this it is seen that childhood innocence involves the ignorance of sexual development and children therefore remain innocent by not expressing sexuality.

According to a website called Harmful to Minors, an interview with a San Francisco mother, Janet Jake, revealed that she would give her son lots of room to experience new things, like skateboard daredevilry. However, when it came to the topic of sex, she found herself turning into an ironclad conservative like many parents (Introduction to Harmful to Minors). Once again, this shows how intensely sensitive sexual issues are to parents and how protective parents can be when dealing with the issue of sexuality in childhood.

The attitudes of other societies towards the protection of a child’s innocence are however different. Children in these societies are in fact encouraged to have early sexual experiences. In Brazil, the Ameridian community desires a girl to have multiple sexual partners from a young age (around 9 or 10) both before her marriage (which occurs when she is about 11-years old) and after as well. This might seem unusual or unnatural for those who do not belong to this community and as such this community may be seen as one without sexual innocence (Kehily and Montgomery, 2003).

On the other hand the values of innocence are strongly upheld in some Mediterranean or Middle East societies. These societies impose strict restrictions on the sexual behaviour of girls. Adolescents are traditionally taught to keep away from the opposite sex …

With the concept of innocence being practiced by parents, inadequate sex education of young children may lead to unwanted pregnancies. Unsafe sexual practices, of which children are ignorant of, may also land these children in dangerous grounds. Since 1995 there …

In order to understand the development of sexual identities, we must first be able to understand what is meant by ‘sexuality’. If one is asked ‘who has a sexuality?’ the first answer is typically ‘gay people’. In our society, sexuality …

Sexual development: information based on changes which are related to physical and emotional changes in the body. When a child hits puberty its reproductive systems mature and this marks the beginning of the transition from childhood to adulthood. The educators …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out