One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just got on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.
As she grew, I took to bribing her time and affection: one dollar in quarters if I could do her makeup like a “motorcycle chick.” Three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds. Whatever she wanted to watch on TV if she would just “relax on me.” Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying. Maybe, I thought, she would be more willing to accept kisses if I wore the face mask my grandmother had for when she did her dialysis. (The answer was no.) What I really wanted, beyond affection, was to feel that she needed me, that she was helpless without her big sister leading her through the world. I took a perverse pleasure in delivering bad news to her — the death of our grandfather, a fire across the street — hoping that her fear would drive her her into my arms, would make her trust me.
- Purposefully touching private parts (masturbation), usually in private
- Playing games with children their own age that involve sexual behavior (such as “truth or dare”, “playing family,” or “boyfriend/girlfriend”)
- Attempting to see other people naked or undressing
- Looking at pictures of naked or partially naked people
- Viewing/listening to sexual content in media (television, movies, games, the Internet, music, etc.)
- Wanting more privacy (for example, not wanting to undress in front of other people) and being reluctant to talk to adults about sexual issues
- Beginnings of sexual attraction to/interest in peers