• Tina Gaarden Geertsen
4. term, Master of Sexology (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))

This Master’s Thesis is the final part of my Master’s Degree in sexology at Aalborg University. The Master’s Thesis is based on a self-elected sexological issue. The goal of the thesis is to examine and discuss a subject that is heavily tabooed and has limited research: young children’s natural sexuality as a significant part of the child’s development and well-being, as the foundation for a healthy sexuality, which will continue into adulthood. The main focus is to shed some light on infantile sexuality in a health promoting well-being perspective. A healthy infantile sexuality is significant for the child’s development and well-being over all. Therefore, natural, experimental and sensual behavior and play during ages 2-6 contribute to the child’s familiarity of itself and other children, regarding body and gender differences, where the child has to learn to distinguish between pleasure and displeasure. This is also where they establish boundaries and what is or is not accepted social behavior, with a large influence on the child’s ability to socialize and aquire a healthy sexuality, which will continue into adulthood.

Small children’s sexuality is a tabooed and sensitive subject that often is associated with concerns. For example, as a result of cases with abuse having been blown out of proportions by the media, which result in tightened rules and guidelines in many childcare institutions, in an attempt to prevent abuse and unjustified charges against teachers. The development may lead to limitation of the healthy infantile sexual development and well-being, where children do not learn to understand their own, nor other’s boundaries. A consequence may furthermore be that children obtain a problematic approach to their own bodies, as well as other’s, which may repress the child’s personal integrity and ability to socialize, along with the ability to be involved in close relations later in life.

On the basis of Danish empirical research in relation to rules and guidelines in Danish childcare institutions, and with an equivalent developmental psychological research-based theory about healthy infantile sexuality, and recommendations from the Prevention Package of the Board of Health regarding sexual health 2012, qualitative interviews have been conducted with three teachers in different municipal childcare institutions. The aim was to illustrate, analyze, and discuss the professional knowledge, opinions, and previous experience from the everyday life with the children in the childcare institutions, specifically regarding professional support of small children’s sexual development and well-being, as well as shedding light on which professional challenges that the teachers find themselves with in that context in their day to day pedagogic praxis.

Finally, the recommendations and conclusions of the thesis have been consolidated in a health-promoting perspective in relation to professional support of a healthy infantile sexuality and securing of a body and sexuality friendly childcare environment around small children ages 2-6.
LanguageDanish
Publication date11 May 2015
Number of pages50
ID: 211262630