SANTA BARBARA, June 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) - It's "completely normal" and "generally harmless" for children as young as four to touch each others' genitals, and parents should allow children to watch pornography, according to a University of California website.
Operated by UC-Santa Barbara students specializing in human sexuality, SexInfo Online bills itself as an authority on a wide variety of sex-related topics, from health issues to pregnancy to sexual habits.
On Wednesday, The College Fix called attention to the website's alarming advice on "Childhood Sexuality," which covers how parents should react to their children engaging in masturbation and "sexual play." Neither the school nor the sociology department, which maintains the website, responded to the Fix's requests for comment.
"Masturbation and sex play in children" prior to puberty "are not cause for panic; many children engage in these behaviors," the site says. It advises parents to teach their kids to keep such activities private and consensual, but otherwise says both should be permitted.
"It is important for caregivers and parents to keep their reactions to children's consensual sexual activity and play positive" to prevent them from growing up to associate sexuality with guilt, the site says. It argues that even "touching each others' genitals" should be met with positivity, because "children are just exploring."
The site's "Talking To Your Child About Sex" article, meanwhile, tells parents not to "lecture" their children when discussing sex, instead, parents should allow them to "make their own decisions regarding sex." The parent's role, according to the students, is merely to "give them the information and resources needed to make informed decisions."
"It is important that children understand that viewing pornography is a normal habit, and that they do not need to be ashamed of it," the website also declares, arguing that the only pushback parents should offer is teaching children to keep it in moderation, to keep in mind that porn can create unrealistic expectations, and that it typically lacks the "emotional intimacy" of real-life sexual relationships.
The Fix notes that more adult and experienced experts emphatically disagree.
Clinical social worker Brandy Steelhammer, for example, advises that while parents do need to handle such cases in a calm, unemotional manner, they must also set clear rules about what is not acceptable, because "private parts are so special they need to stay private."
"Remember that children don't think about sex in the same way adults do. When you find your child behaving sexually, do not assign your thoughts about sex to what you see your child doing," Steelhammer explains.
These are far from the first sexually-tinged controversies linked to the school or the website. In January, the Fix reported on the website publishing step-by-step instructions on "deep-throating" during oral sex, and that the site claims "it is possible to change gender and/or sex."
In 2015, Reason Magazine noted that SexInfo Online claimed that the "sexual assault continuum" was so broad that "every woman will experience some form of sexual assault." In 2014, UC Santa Barbara "porn studies" professor Mireille Miller-Young was sentenced to three years probation, as well as community service and anger management classes, for stealing a sign from and scratching the arm of a pro-life student.
Other topics on SexInfo's main page include "situational homosexuality," "fetishistic transvestism," and sexting.
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