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Can a child's sexual preference be determined by behavior?

An individual’s sexual preference can be defined as early as adolescence, or the time period between the beginning of puberty and adulthood.  Most behavioral authorities define sexual preference as the psychological, emotional and physical attraction between two people of either gender.  Pre-adolescent behaviors are generally not predictive of future adult sexual preferences.  Childhood play behaviors are culturally defined and can include, but are not limited to, a child’s preference for playthings or playmates.  While one culture may define certain toys, mannerisms or characteristic as “female” or “male,” these vary broadly across international lines and seem to have little affect on an individual’s sexual preference throughout the lifespan.  The policies of support and nurture generally encourage healthy play behaviors in children, while working to maintain a dialogue with adolescents and teens is an acceptable strategy to maintain healthy behaviors.
Joane Goodroe
Nursing

The following is a partial article posted by ABC/News Health on their website:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117106&page=1

Not all little boys will have GI Joe and Tonka Trucks on their holiday wish lists. Some may have their eye on the Easy-Bake Oven and Barbie. So much for snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

But while parents of so-called gentle boys may be accepting of feminine behaviors in their child, the question of future sexual orientation is likely to be on their minds.

Yet experts say there's little reason to believe that feminine play is a precursor to homosexuality in boys. Moreover, they say, sexual orientation is not really what concerns them. What does concern them are issues of gender confusion that may surface due to deeper psychological problems in the child.

"There is no support for the idea that any behavior will 'cause' sexual preference to move one direction or another," says child development specialist Judith Myers-Walls, an associate professor at Purdue University in Indiana. "Sexual preference seems to be determined independently of actions or experiences."

Myers-Walls points out that behavior such as playing with dolls or playing house do not cause a boy to become gay, just as those same activities do not cause a girl to become heterosexual. "In most cases, it is not possible to tell a child's sexual orientation until at least adolescence."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.