Debate Guide: Childhood innocence

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There are many arguments related to childhood sexual innocence. Whilst innocence in its purest form (absence of sexuality in women and children, as supported by Victorian Puritanism) is rejected by most modern child advocates (antisexual feminism, victimology, public and charity work), the "safeguarding" of "children" and "childhood" from supposedly corrupting and politically undesirable forces is still alive and well. Nevertheless, the arguments addressed here are more likely to be found on American Christian bulletin boards than Science or Rationalism sites.

Institutional argument

"Childhood is a time to be pure, innocent and uncomplicated by adult emotions such as sexuality. Children do not understand the corruption of adulthood, and require moral protection, as does the institution of childhood".

Sexual contact ("theft") argument

"The theft of a child's innocence (molestation) is an unforgivable crime".

This argument relies on the vague assumption that sex automatically leads to complicated emotional reactions in the first place. It is also based on the assertion that "innocence" and "purity" are somehow the opposites of sexual experience, assuming that sex cannot be "pure" or "innocent". These are beliefs, and have no grounding in objective reality. Similar beliefs in relation to women have already been thoroughly discredited to the point of ridicule.