What kinds of sexual behaviour are a problem?
You might be worried that your child, or another young person, is doing sexual things that are wrong or hurting someone.
It can sometimes be hard to know if this is the case, or if their behaviour is a normal part of teenage development that you don’t need to be worried about.
The questions below are here to help – if the answer is ‘yes’ to any of them, you should have some concern and find out more about what is going on:
► Are they more able than the other person to get things they want, or to prevent things they don’t? – for example, because they’re significantly older, more sober, or more dominating?
► Are they not taking seriously the other person’s feelings?
► Are they using lies or tricks; isolation; or threat, intimidation or force, over a period of time, or in the moment, to get the other person to do something sexual with them?
► Are they doing any of the following things, possibly to get the other person to do something sexual with them:
- lying or tricking
- threatening, forcing or intimidating
- making it harder for the other person to spend time with people they’re close to
► Are they saying or doing things which make it hard for the other person to tell anyone else about the sexual activity?
► Did one or both people feel bad during the sexual activity? – for example, angry, depressed, ashamed or scared?
Consider whether their behaviour fits with the basic principles of healthy sexual behaviour.
Here are some examples of harmful sexual behaviour in teens (they would also each be a ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions above):
► Sharing sexual pictures of someone without their consent
► Sharing sexual pictures of themselves without the person they’re sending it to being clear that they would like to see them
► Pretending to love or like someone so they agree to sexual activity
► Viewing sexual images of children online
► Having sexual activity with someone who is significantly more drunk than themselves
► Befriending a younger child in order to do something sexual and asking them not to tell
► Having sexual activity with someone who passively ‘lets’ it happen
► Touching someone’s bottom, breasts or crotch area without clear in-the-moment indications that they want that