Sexual Abuse: Knowing About Sex at Too Young an Age

Topic Overview

An age-inappropriate knowledge of sex may be expressed by the amount of detail a child gives about sexual acts that should not be familiar to him or her. For example, a 3-year-old child should not be able to describe in detail what happens during sexual intercourse. Young children who have firsthand knowledge of sexual acts likely have been sexually abused or have been exposed to sexual activity. This exposure can be an enticed or forced witnessing of sexual behavior either in person or through media sources, such as pornographic videos.

When a young child acts in a manner that indicates an awareness of sexuality or asks questions about sex that are far too advanced for his or her age, consider it a warning sign of sexual abuse.

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Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Last Revised December 7, 2012

Last Revised: December 7, 2012

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