Bachs-i-Comas (1984) reports of a pilot study of sexual knowledge, identification, feelings, and attitudes of 5-7 year old children. Information was obtained on sexual identity, sex differences, role of the couple in reproduction, affective relationships within the family, pregnancy, birth, and lactation. Hernandez-Martinez (1984) studied the sexual behaviour of 7,492 14-18 year olds. Subjects were administered a 116-item questionnaire and a face-to-face interview to assess “masturbatory activity, heterosexual intercourse, intercourse within an established relationship, homosexuality, and infantile sexuality”.
López Sánchez (2001) refers to a numeric study on childhood sexual behaviours carried out by López et al. (1997) involving parents, teachers and adolescents. Noting the problems in conducting the research (“[…] estamos en una cultura que niega la existencia de la sexualidad infantil por considerar peligrosas sus manifestaciones y hay dificultades éticas para estudiarlas de manera experimental, a través de observaciones o a través de preguntas directas a los menores”), it was observed that:
“La frecuencia de la masturbación es mucho mayor de lo que se suele creer, tanto en niños como en niñas aunque las fuentes de investigación no son muy precisas. En una investigación reciente (López, Guijo, Del Campo y Palomo, 1997) [?] en la que usamos tres fuentes de información, padres, educadores y jóvenes, referidas a los 11 primeros años de vida, encontramos que: a) El 28% de los jóvenes recuerdan haberse masturbado con la mano y el 16% con un objeto. b) Los padres han observado en el 13% de los hijos masturbación con la mano y en el 5% con un objeto. c) Los educadores han observado en el 20% de los alumnos masturbación con la mano y en el 8% con un objeto. Otras investigaciones apuntan en la misma dirección. Estas conductas tienen para los niños un claro significado sexual hasta el punto que el 5% de ellos cree haber llegado a tener orgasmos antes de la pubertad. […] Los padres y educadores afirman haber observado juegos de contenido sexual en aproximadamente el 80% de los menores (López y Otros, 1997)” (2001:p276, 278).
The original work [received from the author, entitled “Sexualidad Prepuberal”], however, claimed that 9.4% experienced orgasm, or 5.4% of females and 18.0% of males (p20, 32 of Engl. transl.).
More interestingly, the authors make the following observations:
“[Depite a heightened interest in abuse matters] the existence of childhood sexuality remains largely unrecognised. In fact, as has been discovered in many Englishspeaking countries (particularly in the United States), apart from some positive results the studies that have been carried out on the sexual abuse of minors have had three perverse [sic] effects: the persecution of healthy manifestations of sexual behaviour in childhood –by the children themselves and among each other, who explore each other or play in a consensual fashion-, the increase in the “fear of affectionate and social contact” between adults and minors (even within the family!), and the increase in a deeply rooted idea in our culture: the “danger” itself of sexuality”.
Barkley and Mosher (1995) reviewed the research on childhood sexuality in Hispanic culture.
difficulties that Tissot had in getting his work published in Spanish
indicate opposition from medical authorities in
its revision in 1998,
“Studies carried out with 12- to 13-year-old elementary school students in Education General Basica (EGB) indicated that 87.74 percent of the girls and 38.42 percent of the boys had never masturbated. The numbers lessened when groups of 14- to 17-year-old high school students were studied from Baccalaureate Unified Polyvalent (BUP). In this study, 70.51 percent of the girls and 12.16 percent of the boys stated that they had never masturbated. […] Almost three quarters of the boys, 71.4 percent, began masturbating between the ages of 10 and 12 years, while only 10 percent of the girls stated they have masturbated at that age. […] The most-consistent masturbation frequency in children is once a month […]”.
“A national study on masturbation in children and young people found that 76.7 percent stated that they began masturbating between the ages of 10 to 15 years. Knowledge about masturbation came from conversations and readings (74.8 percent for males and 57.2 percent for women)”.
“Heterosexual conduct in Spanish children and adolescents has greatly increased in recent years. Current data indicate that more than 54 percent of the women and 52.7 percent of the men have already had their first date at 13 years”.
(1988:p202-3) stated that many
informants for a Barrio in
struggled with the issue of Freudian infantile sexuality, a notion that seems
to offend “the patriotism of the human species. We want to believe that a
child’s soul is pure”. He further believed that Freud’s theory was, in part,
culture-bound and that the precocious sexual activities ascribed to children
did not occur in
In a 1996-1997 study
based on 304 universities in, freshman students (63.49% female, average age
19.46 +/- 1.55 years) indicated in 51.77% to have begun to masturbate between
the 11 and 14 years. In 56.15% of whom had sexual experience it was begun
between 17 and 19 years of age. In another study
(2831 pupils aged 14-20 years from urban, suburban, and rural populations in
the north of
To reflect on these figures, studies support
the hypothesis that “religiosity and church attendance seem to still put a
strong damper, in
“While celebration of the first menstruation may seem especially logical in societies that emphasize motherhood, as does Spain, a girl’s first menstruation there is, paradoxically, a shameful matter. The explanation of this paradox lies in the supposition that what arrives with the first menstruation is not potential motherhood, but potential sexual activity, and also womanhood (as opposed to manhood), both of which are construed as negative or ambivalent. This, however, suggests a new paradox in the present Spanish context. After two decades of mostly positive change, the concept of change has become synonymous with improvement; and sexuality, always culturally emphasized in the Mediterranean area, has taken on the role of a key symbol of change”.
recent study examined
representations about sexuality among adolescents by analysing the content of
1,204 questions about sexuality and reproduction written by male and female
middle school and high school students (aged 13-14 years) enrolled in sex
education classes during a 6-year period (1992-1998) in
D. F., Growing Up Sexually.
Last revised: Dec 2004
 Bachs-i-Comas, J. (1984) Conocimientos sexuales en niños/as de 5 a 7 anos. Bases para el estudio de los factores de integracion [Sexual knowledge of 5- to 7-year-old children: Bases for the study of factors influencing integration], Quaderns/Cuadernos Psicologia 8,2:139-54
 Hernandez-Martinez, J. (1984) Analisis descriptivo de la conducta sexual del adolescente Murciano, Actas Luso Espanolas Neurol, Psiquia & Ciencias Afines 12,2:153-61
 López Sánchez, F. (2001) Intervención en la sexualidad infantil y adolescente, Boletín de la Sociedad de Pediatría de Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla & León 41(177):275-89
 “the frequency of masturbation is much greater than is usually believed, as much in boys as in girls, although the sources are not very precise [on this point]. In a recent study (Lopez, Guijo, Of the Field and Palomo, 1997) in which we used three sources of information- parents, teachers and young people, confined to the 11 first years of life-, we found that: a) 28% of the young people remember having masturbated with the hand and 16% with an object. b) parents observed in 13% of the children manual masturbation and in 5% with an object. c) educators observed in 20% of the students manual masturbation and in 8% with an object. Other investigations point in the same direction. These conducts have a clear sexual meaning for the children insofar as 5% of them claim to have experienced orgasm prepubertally [... ] the parents and educators affirm to have observed games of sexual content in approximately 80% of the minors” [DJ].
 López, F., Campo,
 Barkley, B. H. & Mosher, E. S. (1995) Sexuality and Hispanic culture: Counselling with children and their parents, J Sex Educ & Ther 21,4:255-67
Perdiguero Gil, E. & González de Pablo, A. (1990) Los valores morales de la
higiene: el concepto de onanismo como enfermedad segun tissot y su tardia
penetracion en España, Dynamis
[Spain] 10:131-62. See also Cleminson, R. (2000) From the solitary vice
to “the rehabilitation of onanism”: changing anarchist discourses on
T. (1998) Betrayal of the Innocents.
 Nieto, J.
A. et al. (1997)
 Thurén, B.
(1988) Left Hand Left Behind. Diss.,
 Glick, Th.
F. (1982) The Naked Science: Psychoanalysis in
 Cited by Glick (1982:p555), op.cit.
 Sueiro, E., Dieguez, J. L. & Gonzalez, A. (1998) Jovenes que realizan estudios universitarios: salud sexual y reproductiva, Aten Primaria 31;21,5:283-8
 Hidalgo, I., Garrido, G. & Hernandez, M. (2000) Health status and risk behavior of adolescents in the north of Madrid, Spain, J Adolesc Health 27,5:351-60
 Parera, N. & Suris, J. C. (1997) Sexuality and contraception in adolescents from Barcelona, Spain, J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 10,3:153-7
 Samson, J. M., Levy, J. J., Lopez, F., Picod-Bernard, C. & Maticka-Tyndale, E. (1993) [Sexual attitudes and scenarios among students in France, Quebec, and Spain], Contracept Fertil Sex 21,4:325-32
 Thuren, B.M. (1994) Opening Doors and Getting Rid of Shame: Experiences of First Menstruation in Valencia, Spain, Women’s Stud Int Forum 17,2-3:217-28
 Barbera, E. & Navarro, E. (2000) La construccion de la sexualidad en la adolescencia, Rev Psicol Social Aplic 15,1:63-75