You can find help to determine if sexual play between children is a problem. When presented with a sexual behavior in a child, it is not always obvious whether or not the behavior is anything to be concerned about. Knowing what is developmentally expected is the first place to start. Understanding children’s typical sexual development, knowledge, and behavior is necessary to accurately identify sexual behavior problems in children. When there is a concern it is helpful to learn more about the hallmarks of problematic sexual behavior. If you are seeing signs that the behavior may be harmful, it can be very helpful to consult with a professional who specializes in this particular area.

Sexual play vs. problematic sexual behavior.

There is a broad continuum of sexual behaviors in children and youth that range from common sexual play to problematic sexual behavior. It is important to recognize that not all concerning sexual behavior in children are an indicator of a serious or ongoing sexual behavior problem. It is essential to speak with a specialist if you are concerned about a child’s behavior. This way you and the child can get the help needed to understand and manage the behavior safely.

Sexual play

Problematic sexual behavior

Infrequent sexual behaviors in children ages 2 - 12

Additional information about adolescent sex offenders and children with sexual behavior problems is available from the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth,




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Organization: National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth


FAQ’s and publications about youth with sexual behavior problems, offending youth, and healthy sexual development


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Title:Helping Children with Sexual Behavior Problems and Understanding Children
Abstract:Moderately priced booklets available for purchase directly from this licensed clinical psychologist and lecturer specializing in child sexuality and sexual abuse (both victimization and perpetration).
Toni Cavanagh Johnson
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