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Do not panic. Masturbation is NOT ALWAYS a sign of sexual abuse. I would like to assure parents that there is such a thing as normative sexual behaviours in children. What this means is that children exhibit certain behaviours of a sexual nature which are normal. Toni Kavanagh offers very interesting research in this area and provides an easy to follow table of behaviours which are normal. I suggest reading his work. We have to keep in mind that children will explore their bodies and will be curious about who they are. They may ask the parent questions about their genitalia, or wonder about the topic of pregnancy and birthing. It is a natural process of development and learning about themselves and about the world. Children are sensorial in their exploration, and it is not uncommon for children to try and touch themselves or perhaps attempt to touch others. They may attempt to view other people during showers and so on. But this is only a curiosity issue; just a way of learning. In the coming blog I will give tips on how to recognize sexual behaviours which are of concern. However I just wanted to put your minds at rest, masturbation is not always a sign of sexual abuse.