Sexual play vs Sexual Abuse – what is healthy and what is reason for concern

Sexual exploration and sexual play are a natural part of a child’s development, and may involve:

  • motivated by mutual curiosity with no pressure or power play involved
  • interested in similarities and differences between their bodies and others
  • showing their genitals to others
  • touching each other’s genitals
  • peeking or catching others engaged in sexual behaviours
  • kissing
  • playing doctor
  • using “dirty” words
  • telling dirty jokes

  • relationships are amicable outside of sexual play
  • balanced with curiosity about other aspects of their world
  • explore genitals just as they explore other body parts