Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities takes an insightful and in-depth look at the hidden worlds of young children's sexualities. Based upon extensive group interviews and observation, the author illustrates how sexuality is embedded in children's school-based cultures and gender identities. From examining children's own views and experiences, the book explores a range of topical and sensitive issues, including how:

  • the primary school is a key social arena for 'doing' sexuality
  • sexuality shapes children's friendships and peer relations
  • being a 'proper' girl or boy involves investing in a heterosexual identity
  • children use gendered or sexual insults to maintain gender and sexual norms.

Grounded in children's real-life experiences, this book traces their struggles, anxieties, desires and pleasures as they make sense of their emerging sexualities. It also includes frank and open discussions of the pressures of compulsory heterosexuality, the boyfriend/girlfriend culture, misogyny and sexual harassment.
Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities is a timely and powerful resource for researchers, educationalists and students in childhood studies, sociology and psychology and will be of great interest to professionals and policy makers working with young children.

chapter |16 pages

Sexualising gender, gendering sexuality

Some introductions

chapter |23 pages

Presumed innocence

Young children, sexualities and schooling

chapter |26 pages

To be or not to be ‘girlie’

Negotiating (hetero)sexualised femininities

chapter |28 pages

Boys ‘doing’ masculinity

Mission impossible?

chapter |25 pages

Girls, girlfriends and (hetero)sexualities

Pleasure, power and danger

chapter |27 pages

Boys, boyfriends and (hetero)sexualities

Fears and frustrations

chapter |22 pages

‘We’re not like most girls and boys’

Being the gendered and sexualised Other

chapter |13 pages

Thinking Otherwise about girls, boys and sexualities

Some concluding thoughts