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How did my 6-year-old child come to know about sex?

Q: My six years old son was playing in his room with our five-year-old neighbour. I overheard their conversation. My son was telling the other boy about oral sex and that he would want someone to do that to him. I was alarmed. I opened the door and they had the lights off and were in the bed fully clothed but both were talking about things they should not be. I had a talk with them with both of them and told them that it is wrong. I later had a much more in-depth conversation with my child. He said he doesn't remember where he got that information and appeared extremely nervous. I do not expose my child to smut although he has seen television shows with sexual content. I have caught him a couple of times watching adult shows and I immediately shut TV off. But how would my child know about oral sex? It almost sounded as if he were propositioning the other child. Has he been abused? Should I talk to a doctor? Is this normal curiosity?

A:There is some degree of sexual curiosity in all children. Many of them also realise that there is some pleasure when they touch their own sexual parts. Normally, it does not go beyond that. As they get involved in active play, school work and team games, the early approach to sexual matters dies out. In the case of your son, it is possible that he may have seen or experienced oral sex. He definitely needs to know when to bring the matter to the notice of his parents or teachers. In the daily newspaper, there are always reports of the sexual abuse of young boys and girls. It is better that we protect them from abuse instead of saying they are too young to know about it. You should talk to your son, without making him feel he has done something terribly wrong. Tell him to consider himself as wronged, rather than being a perpetrator of some bad practice. Build up his confidence in both parents. TV and films have plenty of material that is more than merely suggestive. It may be wise to explain the human body, gender differences and sex to your child and tell him that he will be able to enjoy it only after he is an adult, not earlier. Consult a doctor if you feel he will be friendly and not harsh in dealing with your child.

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