IES: Greece




Index EuropeGreece


Agrafiotis and Mandi (1997)[1] stated:


“Sexual exploration by children in nursery school between ages 3 to 5 has been observed. The first discoveries are connected with gender and take place mainly among peers. Different kinds of games (playing doctor and nurse, mother and father, king and queen) imitate adult roles, sometimes producing specific pleasure connected with stimulation of the genitals. Later on, at the age of 10 or 11 years, children’s interest is focused on details and confirmation of earlier knowledge on gender differences. At the prepubertal age, they are usually engaged in self-pleasuring activities that occur either in pairs or in groups of peers of the same and other gender, as well as alone”.


Data on masturbation do not seem to be present. Surprisingly, “[e]ven today, sexual education is not included in the school curriculum, although sporadic knowledge is given as part of lessons in such subjects as anthropology”, although some initiatives have been made toward a more comprehensive coverage.


“It is not an exaggeration to say that in Greece, sexual education is not the target of any systematic and well-planned governmental program. Even today, sexual education is not included in the school curriculum, although sporadic knowledge is given as part of lessons in such subjects as anthropology. However, this knowledge concerns more elements of physiology and anatomy than references to the external genital organs, the sexual relationship, or the search for and existence of pleasure in connection with the body and sexuality”.


In an additional study[2], preschool staff groups in Greece and Scotland differed in the extent to which they thought families and preschool establishments should provide sex education, the age at which it should start and the requirements for staff participation.


“Premarital sexual activities, especially in large cities, are not any longer socially condemned, and sexual intercourse begins between the ages of 14 to 17. Research showed that the most frequent types of contact are through hugging, deep (open mouth) kissing, petting above and below the waist, sleeping together (without sexual intercourse), and oral and vaginal sex”.


Papadopouloset al. (2000)[3] offers some data on sexual development.


Loizos (1991:p227)[4]: “Boys are warned that masturbation causes mental illness, an association which can be traced to Victorian medical ideology (Caplan 1987a:4; 1987b:286–289)”.


Campbell (1964: p158-9)[5]:



“[...] from the age of seventeen until she marries, a period of seven to thirteen years, a girl’s deportment inside and outside the family changes considerably. She must now behave as a maiden of virtue who is acutely sensitive to shame [...]. No longer may she show her feelings in an uninhibited way, and in her conversation and her movements a careful self-control is demanded. Her relations with her father now become less familiar. Since she left school at thirteen, a certain barrier has already arisen between them, and from that age she is expected in front of strangers to show him respect by standing when he sits and helping her mother to wait on her father and his guests. By the time a girl is seventeen there is a noticeable neutrality of tone in her conversation with her father. She is careful to avoid any reference to sexual matters or the possibility of her marriage. They are both conscious of the categorical obligations they owe to one another and the severe penalties which sanction their fulfilment. If a father does not arrange an honourable and successful marriage for his daughter, his reputation in the community is diminished. If a daughter does not preserve her virginity and her reputation for virginity, she faces death possibly; or, should she avoid this fate, she must certainly endure dishonour and a dishonourable marriage to a widower or a poor man of ill repute. Although between puberty and marriage a daughter receives almost all her instructions from her mother, her father, to whom she is subordinate both by reason of sex and generation, remains the ultimate source of authority”.







Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Dec 2004


[1] Agrafiotis, D. & Mandi, P. (1997) Greece, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum. Quoted from the online edition

[2] Menmuir, J. & Kakavoulis, A. (1999) Sexual development and education in early years: A study of attitudes of pre-school staff in Greece and Scotland, Early Child Developm & Care 149:27-45

[3] Papadopoulos, N. et al. (2000)The psychosexual development of university students: a nationwide survey in Greece J Psychol & Hum Sex 11,4:93-110

[4] Loizos, P. (1991) Gender, sexuality, and the person in Greek culture, in Contested Identities. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, p221-34

[5] Campbell, J. K. (1964) Honour, Family and Patronage: A Study of Institutions and Moral

Values in a Greek Mountain Community. Oxford: Clarendon Press