Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 278–291

Gender Differences in the ABC’s of the Birds and the Bees: What Mothers Teach Young Children About Sexuality and Reproduction

Authors

    • Department of SociologyUniversity of Michigan
  • Katherine Luke
    • Department of SociologyUniversity of Michigan
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-009-9731-4

Cite this article as:
Martin, K.A. & Luke, K. Sex Roles (2010) 62: 278. doi:10.1007/s11199-009-9731-4

Abstract

Sexuality education is heavily gendered at adolescence. This study uses data from a national web survey of 631 U.S. mothers of 3 to 6 year old children to test whether similar gender differences exist in what mothers teach their young children about sexuality and reproduction. We test (a) whether mothers will report talking more with daughters or sons about sexuality related issues, and (b) whether mothers will report greater comfort talking about such issues with daughters or sons. We find (a) that mothers talk more to daughters than sons about romantic relationships, reproductive bodies, and morality, but not about sexual abuse or intercourse/pleasure. We find (b) mixed results regarding mothers’ comfort in talking with daughters or sons about sexuality.

Keywords

Sexual socializationParent-child communication about sexualityGender differencesYoung childrenSexuality and reproduction

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010