Why is sexuality important for social development?

Psychosexual development

Man is a sexual being from birth. However, child-like expressions of sexuality are fundamentally different from adult sexuality. Sexuality is learned and its development goes through several phases and stages that children go through before they reach adulthood. Entry into school is a significant event. School offers a new social environment, which expands the family network and confronts children and young people with new values ​​and questions, especially regarding issues such as relationships and sexuality.

The phases of psychosexual development described below are mostly based on the WHO standards for sex education in Europe. In the following, they are presented in a generalized way, with only a few aspects being discussed per age group. The characteristics of the individual development phases serve as orientation and promote understanding which development steps are current according to the age of the children. Of course, these phases of development run individually for each child; By and large, however, all children go through these stages.


Discover and explore
Children's sexual development begins with birth. Babies discover the world through their five senses. You can also discover your body by touching your mouth, feet, hands and also your genitals. Toddlers are becoming increasingly aware of themselves and their bodies. You begin to see yourself as a person and become more independent. You learn to control the excretion. Toddlers are increasingly interested in their bodies and those of the people around them. They learn that there are different genders. At this age, gender identity also begins to develop. Children begin to internalize social norms, depending on the rules that apply in the family or in the social environment.