chapter  17
The Prehistory of Infant Sexuality
ByPeregrine Horden
Pages 17

One feature of the popular view of the sexual instinct is that it is absent in childhood and only awakens in the period of life described as puberty . . . It is true that in the literature of the subject one occasionally comes across remarks upon precocious sexual activity in small children – upon erections, masturbation and even activities resembling coitus. But these are always quoted only as exceptional events… So far as I know, not a single author has clearly recognized the regular existence of a sexual instinct in childhood; and in the writings that have become so numerous on the development of children, the chapter on ‘Sexual Development’ is usually omitted.