Massage, kissing and cuddling dynamics contribute to children’s sexuality education

Scientific evidence platform Needs more evidence Massage, kissing and cuddling dynamics contribute to children’s sexuality education





Sex education guides are being published in infant and primary schools that raise these issues among their dynamics, arguing that they are very positive for the affective and sexual development of children. They propose dynamics with close, even intimate, contact with people in their class. I do not believe that these dynamics have been studied as the most suitable for affective sexual development, I have not found scientific references to justify it, I find some dangers and I also have evidence that other approaches based on egalitarian dialogue are effective.

Among the dangers, I would point out that these dynamics can make a child receive a massage from someone who may have treated him or her badly or assaulted him or her just before in the playground: in the absence of this information from the teachers, or even if they are aware of it, they make them participate by saying that “we are all friends” and that “that’s kid stuff, you have to forgive each other, a hug or a kiss and let’s play”.

On the other hand, although many teachers who initiate these activities say that you can say “no” if you don’t want to participate, it is difficult for a child to say no in front of an adult, they are afraid of being told that they are not affectionate or that “they are very shy and have to open up”. It’s not really a consensual approach, it’s not really free, there is coercion to enter into that dynamic whether or not you want someone to massage you or hug you. Whether there has been a problem with someone or not, I consider that each person has the right to decide who touches them and how they are touched, and to carry out an apprenticeship in which you have to receive this contact whether you feel like it or not is dangerous because it teaches you the same for your future affective-sexual relationships, normalising “unwanted consent”.

Moreover, they are presented as very revolutionary dynamics but I don’t know of any scientific evidence that says so. And I am aware that they are not only done in kindergarten, but also in primary school, even in adolescence and with adults.

Education professionals have to choose those actions that show the best results for the educational objectives they propose. In the case of affective-sex education, they should reject personal tastes and choose on the basis of scientific approaches. An action that has shown great benefits in any context and age to grow in the field of friendships, love, relationships, consent, etc. is to hold dialogical gatherings, which can be literary, feminist, about films… The whole line of preventive socialisation of gender violence not only protects from violence but also leads to full, satisfactory, desired and desirable relationships, whatever they may be.


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