As your babies grow, they become increasingly responsive to the world around them. This process also includes a growing awareness of their bodies. Curiosity about sexual organs is, therefore, quite normal in even very small children.
Boys are aware of their penises by around seven or eight months of age. Girls, on the other hand, start to notice their vulvas a little later, by around nine to ten months of age. Infants also experience physiological responses related to sex: erections in boys and lubrication in girls. However, it is important to remember that these are not reactions to sexual stimuli, as they occur in adults. Doctors term these as physical reflex responses to stimuli such as touch or the urge to urinate.
It is important not to discourage the children’s natural urge to handle their genitals. Parents need to allow them to express their interest so that they grow up comfortable with their sexuality.
Here are some things that parents can do to achieve this:
- Allow children to explore parts of their body including the sexual organs.
- Tell children the names for the different parts of the body.
- Refrain from communicating displeasure towards a child displaying natural curiosity.