Jean-Yves Hayez

Children's Sexuality Publication date : February 1, 2004

The subject of child sexuality is evoked in relation to infancy and adolescence — in between those two ages, the subject is generally ignored. This is not entirely surprising since during this interim period the child’s sex drive is relatively quiet — which does not mean that it is non-existent. On the contrary, between early childhood and adolescence, a child is far from being totally unsexed.
How do six-to-eleven-year-olds in primary school regard sex? What do they imagine? Do they have sexual fantasies? What sorts of games do they play, among friends or among brothers and sisters? Should one worry if they do? How does a child’s curiosity about its own body or about the bodies of others express itself? Is masturbation at this age common? Do children in this age group seek pleasure? Do they experience pleasure?
Based on his long experience as a child psychiatrist, Jean-Yves Hayez explains child sexuality to parents. Some of the subjects he deals with apply specifically to six-to-eleven-year-olds: lessening of the Oedipus complex, increased modesty, the search for auto-erotic satisfaction, a growing number of social activities, increased significance of the peer group and friends. Other subjects are inextricably linked to our society — sexual liberation, decrease in censorship, emergence of alternative types of sexuality, the development of pornography and Internet sex, etc.

This is an essential book for a better understanding of the sexuality of children who are no longer infants but not yet teenagers.

Jean-Yves Hayez is a child psychiatrist, professor of medicine, and department head at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He is the author of numerous works including La Guidance parentale (Privat, 1978) and La Délinquence chez les jeunes (Dunod, 2001).