• Allison Moore
  • Paul Reynolds
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


It is commonly understood that people’s sex lives and sexual orientation are private concerns, preferably and properly restricted to intimate relationships. Paradoxically, these supposedly private practices and relationships are simultaneously everywhere in the public domain, often in fetishised forms: in advertisements; in the media, in film, television, magazine and social media; in pornography, sex work and sexual commerce; in the representations of everyday life mediated through the culture industries and presented to us in what has been regarded as sexually saturated societies. Most societies have prohibitive or regulatory laws and policies with respect to sexual commerce and public and media representations of sex. Yet at the same time, the interest in sexual pleasure, diverse tastes and appetites and expressions of orientation and preference—even when strictly prohibited and so expressed in ‘underground’ sub-cultures—are considered a feature of most Western societies in the twenty-first century. Religious and self-proclaimed moral leaders—often politicians—may rail against the degree of interest in sex, but there is no evidence that it is waning.


  1. American Psychological Association Task Force. (2007). Report of the APA task force on the sexualization of girls. American Psychological Association. Available at Accessed 25 Aug 2017.
  2. Bailey, R. (2011). Letting children be children. London: Department for Education. Available at
  3. Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality vol 1. An introduction. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1977). On sexuality: Three essays on the theory of sexuality and other works. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  5. Gagnon, J. H., & Simon, W. (1973). Sexual conduct: The social sources of human sexuality. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  6. Grunbaum, A. (1984). The foundations of psychoanalysis: A philosophical critique. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Jackson, S. (1982). Childhood and sexuality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. James, A., & Prout, A. (Eds.). (1997). Constructing and reconstructing childhood. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  9. James, A., Jenks, C., & Prout, A. (1998). Theorizing childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. James, A., & James, A. L. (2004). Constructing childhood: Theory, policy and social practice. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jenks, C. (1996). Childhood. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Kane, E. W. (2013). Rethinking childhood and sexuality. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  13. MacKay, R. (1974). Conceptions of children and models of socialisation. In R. Turner (Ed.), Ethnomethodology: Selected readings (pp. 180–194). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  14. Mehan, H. (1974). Accomplishing classroom lessons. In A. V. Cicourel et al. (Eds.), Language use and school performance (pp. 76–142). New York: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Moore, A. (2013). For adults only? Young people and (non)participation in sexual decision making. Global Studies of Childhood June, 2013(3), 163–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Plummer, K. (1991). Understanding childhood sexualities in T. Sandford (ed.) Special Issue of Journal of Homosexuality, 20(1–2), 231–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Prout, A. (2005). The future of childhood towards the interdisciplinary study of children. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  18. Sandfort, T., & Rademakers, J. (Eds.). (2000). Childhood sexuality: Normal sexual behavior and development. Binghamton: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  19. Smith, R. S. (2010). A universal child? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Speier, M. (1976). The child as conversationalist: Some culture contact features of conversational interactions between adults and children. In M. Hammersley & P. Woods (Eds.), The process of schooling: A sociological reader (pp. 98–103). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  21. van Krieken, R. (2003). Norbert Elias. In A. Elliott & L. Ray (Eds.), Key contemporary social theorists. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Weeks, J. (2010). Sexuality (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Willis, P. (1977). Learning to labour. New York: Columbia Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison Moore
    • 1
  • Paul Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUK

Personalised recommendations