Infantile sexuality: challenges of Contemporary School

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Beatriz, Rodrigues [1]

“Every prejudice prevents the autonom[serhumano]y, i.e. decreases your freedom of choice Act relativadiante, to deform and therefore narrow the real margin dealternativa of the individual”. Agnes Heller (1992:59)

RODRIGUES, Beatriz – Infantile sexuality: challenges of Contemporary School. Multidisciplinary Core scientific journal of knowledge. Year 1, vol. 8. pp. 17-28, September 2016. ISSN. 2448-0959


The aim of this study was to identify the challenges put to the school regarding the infantile sexuality today. The methodology used was revision of literature through books and publications available in online databases.  The results show that, on the one hand are the values built by a culture, the media, the media pull that long out of sight.  It is concluded that deal with sexuality in the context of today raises many doubts, anxieties and difficulties requiring of the educator a new look about sexuality in the context in which it is situated.

Keywords: earlychildhood education; sexuality; sexual orientation; genus; childhood.


Socially, the subject sexuality has always been a “taboo”, especially when related to the child.  In the context of today this situation is changing, the world is giving people opportunity to meet and deal better with his own sexuality. However, in the school space, yet there are many challenges to child sexuality is perceived and treated with naturalness and respect therefore still lingers the image of something forbidden and embarrassing (MARTINI, 2009).

Since the 19th century, several areas of knowledge began to be interested in human sexuality and comes popping up more and more new studies on the subject. And such reality becomes critical, since when it discusses sexuality, it is understood as a form of behavioral control, whether in the family, whether in school (RIBEIRO e SOUZA, 2008).

On the other hand, the media, the media, the songs, the advertisements have presented a new reality about sexuality, significantly influencing the behavior of children, which in turn are expressed in everyday life.

The school, as it is known, has the function to prepare the individual for the citizen life autonomously, and is also in this environment to express sexuality issues demanding educator position about it. School complex experiences in daily life experienced by educators, through the demonstration of the students for a willingness to learn with, ask the teachers a new attitude towards dealing with sexuality in school.

From such consideration arises the problem of research with the following guiding question. What challenges made school about child sexuality in the context of today?

To answer the question, the overall objective of guiding this research will identify the key challenges made school about child sexuality in the context of today.  And as specific objectives for addressing sexuality in its conceptual aspect and situate the infantile sexuality in the school context from authors who already treat on the subject.

It is understood that this work will provide a reflection about the importance of treating the infantile sexuality in school with naturalness and responsibility, given that “human sexuality is wide open in the media, however, still cloaked in school and in the family” (RIBEIRO e SOUZA, 2008, p. 16)

For realization of the research methodology used was literature review by considering it an instrument that makes possible the evaluation of the knowledge produced in prior research, and allow highlight concepts, procedures, results and discussions relevant to the work in preparation. Anyway, according to Gil (2002) that type of search allows coverage of a range of broader phenomena than that which could be investigated directly.

Based on this understanding of literature review sought to conduct research in books and scientific publications available in online databases, including Lilacs, Scielo and Bireme, where, through the through the key words child education; sexuality; sexual orientation; gender and childhood was possible the selection of a range of material that have been read analyzed and categorized according to the purpose of the work.



Sexuality, contrary to popular belief, is not related simply to genitalidade, involves issues such as self-esteem, affectivity, feelings of love, pleasure, finally, natural manifestations emerge individually and also, from the human relationship (MANGOLD, 2008).

Tomomi and Bueno (2010) explain that sexuality, while is singular, it becomes universal, as well as of individual aspects relating to social, cultural and psychological issues carrying with it a historicity, symbols, practices and attitudes.

For a long time the sexuality was associated with something obscene, sinful and forbidden, and these myths become detrimental to individual because deny you the right to know their own bodies and guide to sexual health (TOMOMI and BUENO, 2010).

Ribeiro e Souza (2008) cite Foucalt (2008) when this position brilliantly about the treatment of sexuality:

“(…) are years and years and dressage in which sexuality is being monitored and standardized. Our cultural heritage left ingrained in our bodies the relationship between Sin and the meat; sex and sexuality is restricted to genitalidade.  The limitations, of penalty, reduced sexual guilt to what can, and can’t, to what is appropriate and what is inappropriate to what is normal and what is pathological (FOUCALT, 1993 cited by RIBEIRO e SOUZA 2008, p. 17)

The fact is that, although the sexual revolution, globalization and the media have contributed to demystify the issue of sexuality, this issue still remains a taboo.  In the 21st century, still noted approaches about sex and sexuality, coated with prejudices, taboos and stereotypes (TOM and Bueno, 2010).

In fact, sexuality is a human condition, but also to build socially and therefore has historic character. For Qin and Rock (2012) sex is what he becomes, and are saying it is possible to think naturally as one of their social representations.

Morfofisiológicos aspects of sexuality are important and should be considered, but there needs to be an understanding that the biological predispositions are not, by themselves, the responsibility for sexual behaviour, gender identity, sexual orientation and the way one handles your sexuality gain meaning through the process of socialization and learning acquired culturally (TOMOMI and BUENO , 2012). Wise are the words of Tom and Bueno (2010, p. 207) “sexuality to be understood, cannot be separated from the individual, holistic is moulded in the relations that the subject establishes, from an early age, with yourself and with others.”

So, as well as childhood, sexuality is a social construct whose cultural marks are printed even before the individual was born. Freud (1996) says that the experiences and children’s sexual conduct will reflect on the lives and behavior of adult (SCHINDHELM, 2011).


The social point of view, history shows that the absolutist tradition assumes that the disturbing forces of sex can be controlled through a morality defined, usually inscribed in social institutions, such as marriage, heterosexuality, monogamy and family life. It is a prevailing moral code that regulated the sexuality until the 1960, by which time a libertarian position comes to oppose this absolutist tendency, criticizing the hypocrisy of this dominant order in the name of freedom (Laurel, 2000).

But conservatives, opposed to this new order and understood as a threat to already socially acceptable standards as permissiveness might lead to:

“the threat to the family;  -the questioning the sexual roles, particularly that done by feminism;  -the attack to normal heterosexual, particularly through the attempts of gay and lesbian movements to achieve complete equality for homosexuality;  -the threat to the values placed by a more liberal sexual education, which was seen as inducing children to accept sexual behaviours unacceptable so far;  -all those fears were reinforced by the emergence of a major health crisis associated with HIV and AIDS, which thinks of as symbols of the crisis (LOURO, 2000, p. 56).

However, it is observed that the Conservatives through a biased position, they eventually sustain gender and racial inequalities, as well as social hierarchies.   Indeed, such concerns are still frequent, studies and current debates about sexuality in the context of contemporaneity, put issues such as family, sexual diversity, gender, affectivity, sexual orientation, sexual violence, among other, as instances that must be reflected already to go through a big change flow because of the transformations that the world is passing in recent times.

Second (2000) the history of sexuality shows that she is not fixed or stable, but modeled from complex historical circumstances.    And as the emerging society witnessed a series of changes in corporate culture, the challenge today is to deal with the changes in relation to human behavior, especially with regard to sexuality, since there is a radical change in the ways of man to relate to their bodies and their sexual needs.

For the infantile sexuality, it is necessary to understand that in recent times, the economic, political, cultural and social brought significant changes in the design of child before, considered stable and natural and today is regarded as category who suffers variation from the history, culture and the social group in which it is inserted.  These are his words:

(…) one cannot speak of a homogeneous and fixed, because childhood its meaning is constantly constructed through struggles and negotiations between the various speeches, related to the areas of health, education, religion, law and politics. From this perspective, there are several childhood and the meanings are produced according to the time, space, gender, social class and culture. (WAR, 2005, p. 77)

It is observed that, contrary to what families think, currently, the children already know and experience a more explicit sexuality.  The media become a space open to knowledge and information, which, in turn, are cultural artifacts and educational in that it suggests ways to relate to the world.

Recent research has shown that children are increasingly exposed to the stimuli of the dominant culture, especially with regard to sexuality and the stranger was sleek bodies, a situation that affects significantly the formation of gender and sexual identities of the individual (FELIPE, 2008; WAR, 2005)

The stranger was sleek bodies that is being conveyed in the media it gives other possibilities to experience the exploitation of their bodies and sexuality. This stranger was sleek, through exposure exacerbated the body, produces significant effects both on sexuality as in the construction of gender identity in children.  (WAR, 2005; Felipe, 2008)

You can’t stop talking about the songs, that from the beginning of the 20th century, has been showing a certain eroticism and make apology to greater sexual liberation.   Days, Santos and Oliveira Jr. (2013) to take the funk as an object of study and analysis argue that this musical style covers many situations of daily life of the people, and among them the question of sexuality, expressing in a clear and straightforward, sexuality and the sexual act explicitly.

The authors raise the question about why the sexuality, that were expressed in symbolic form, implied and laden with emotional issues, has been, currently presented by no means banal, and more, although overcome cultural barriers of sexual repression is far from content that was repressed. You have to wonder if it wasn’t just this repression that instigated the representation of sexuality through a representative content empty and aggressive (DAYS, SANTOS, OLIVEIRA, 2013).

Worth commenting, that, in their homes, many children have free access to the internet and a variety of television programmes that stimulate a series of behaviors that are reproduced in their social interactions, including at school.

There is, therefore, that the current reality presents the most varied discourse around sexuality and circulates in the children’s everyday life through various instruments, be it, books, magazines, media, movies, music, etc.  This is a real situation of current society that demand from school a reflection since it is also in this space that the child expresses reflection of this new reality, through simple day to day behaviors, how to sing, dance, play, anyway, in a relationship with each other.


For Schindhelm (2011) child and sexuality are institutions related to relational practices and modes of education, walk and live together under influences of cultural milieu.

The literature points out that the sexuality is present in an individual’s life from birth and is made up of the cultural processes, therefore, changes according to the standards of sexuality at a time. (TOM and BUENO, 2012; .2011 SCHINDHELM; Ribeiro and SOUZA, 2008).

It is common, and is part of the life of the child, played with objects as with his own body, happens all the time creating bodily relations. So arise questions about sexuality, that need to be worked out with children and educators, so that the body is worked not only as a body, but as a body that wants, feelings (NEVES, 2008).

Sex education happens as long as the child is born.  And it is in the family environment that the child learns the first values associated to sexuality.  It is through parental behavior among themselves, in relations with their children, on the recommendations, in expressions, gestures and the bans that establishing the values that the child will incorporate. The school fits the complementary role that education, but of procedural and systematized form that requires preparation and planning educators (MARTINI, 2009).

Qin and Rock (2012) understand that the function of the school is not change society, but to transcend the play space for a transformation space. And, whereas pedagogical practices are political and social work of the school should be returned to the reality of the society in which it operates.

And sexuality in school daily life at its most spontaneous, demanding the teachers a positioning consistent with reality and the social context in which students are entered.  But what is known is that the concept about the infantile sexuality and the acceptance of its existence are not yet known and assimilated by most educators.  The argumentation of such a concept is based on the fact that many educators consider the manifestation of sexuality as sinful and dirty, and the child as being “asexual”, “pure” and “innocent” (BORDERS; TAGLIAMENTO; TONELI, 2005)

Well, for a long time when discussing sexuality educators in the classroom, they concern the teaching of male and female behavior behavior to children, and today means there is a need to relate sexuality, gender and childhood in order to see the various ways to be boy and girl that mostly the categorization doesn’t allow view. (SANTOS, SPÓSITO and DAYS, 2012).

Currently, the school must be an open space for, through the manifestations of sexuality, work issues related to sexual diversity, respect differences, anyway, factors that collide in the absence of adequate training to educators to work properly the sexuality and gender ratio in school, and also on the subjective difficulties of dealing with the matter (SANTOS, SPÓSITO and DAYS , 2012).

In fact, talking about sexual education is by a change of ideology, values and beliefs.  And the school as an institution responsible for the training of the individual for the conviviality in society should direct the pedagogical practices so that sexuality in early childhood education is crafted from the context of the student.

Sex education is education for the values linked to sexuality, whether they be human, aesthetic, social, us ethics or politics. In their attitudes, the person formula value judgments. Is a human value to say that sexuality is a source of pleasure to not despise, although not everyone thinks so. (Cross, 2010, p. 46)

Therefore, it is understood that the school must be guided to sexual education through experience of sexuality in a more autonomous, responsible, but also free of prejudices, dogmas and taboos.

In the school context, the National curricular parameters (PCNs) Guide that sexuality is crafted through cross-cutting themes, namely, can be inserted in any area of knowledge and greater depth in situations where students feel interested and need guidance. In this case you have to think about how should be the teacher’s pedagogical practice to deal with such a subject.

So, it is understood that the teacher’s demands the transversality not just domain of matter, but specific content knowledge of curriculum subjects included in the cross-cutting issues beyond, in turn, the specificity that is used to dealing in their everyday practice (TOMOMI and BUENO, 2010)

In addition, the National curricular parameters, too, make it clear that the educational planning in relation to infantile sexuality must contemplate discussions about different beliefs, taboos, attitudes and understanding of sexuality, taking into account always the knowledge that the child already has about sexuality.

Whereas the family function transmit their particular values about sexuality to children, to school fit to expand this knowledge taking into account the diversity of existing values in society so that the individual has the ability to reflect and find a point of self reference, so to enable the development of attitudes consistent with the values that he even elected for themselves (BORDERS; TAGLIAMENTO; TONELI, 2005).

In this sense it is understood that the school needs to open discussions about sexuality through a continuous process of training and discussion with educators themselves, so they feel prepared to deal with a complex issue also for them, due to sexual education they had, from their natural and based on prejudices and taboos.


Through this brief survey was possible to understand that sexuality for being a complex and controversial subject becomes difficult concept.   However, in this job you understand that sexuality pervades the reproductive issue and can be considered the natural manifestation of the individual in relationship to your body that is expressed through the relationship with yourself and with others.

It is a provocative theme of controversy for having been, for a long time, considered unclean thing, inconvenient and inappropriate socially. And, although the latest global transformations as globalization, new technology, open access information have contributed to a new approach to sexuality, she still remains a challenging theme.

It is understood that, in the context of current events, work the infantile sexuality in school is a challenge because, on the one hand you have the values, and the dogmas built by a culture, the media, the media, books, magazines, making everything that was “camouflaged”, “preserved” and even, “failed”, is exposed.   No wonder the infantile sexuality in school has won more and more space in debates and discussions.  Are many doubts, anxieties and difficulties faced in everyday life.

If the manifestation of sexuality happens initially within familiar, she becomes a personal experience whose conduct and values are transmitted by the family, so the school fits the sexual orientation through interventions that take the child to reflect about it, without use the self-righteousness or exaggerations presented in the media, but in guidelines that take the child to become an adult happy and well taken care of in relation to their sexuality.

Concluded the present work aware that questions about sexuality are placed in society more explicit fashion possible, and school a mediation so that this does not become purely moralist, either, trivialized.


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[1] Pedagogue, specialist in early childhood education and elementary education;  Special Education;  Gender and diversity at school; Corporate Pedagogy.

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