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Theories about childhood and sexual orientation are intimately bound up with moral, ethical, religious, political, and scientific issues in the widest sense because they are either held to account for the origins of adult sexual orientation or to demonstrate the advent of sexuality only in adulthood. These issues are involved, in turn, in theories about ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’—or questioning the very nature of such opposition—and the attendant question of the status of scientific enquiry versus the accounts of the social sciences and humanities in relation to identities.

There are a number of historical accounts with differing ideas about childhood and sexuality and sexual orientation. Historically, childhood has been seen as either the absence of sexuality and sexual orientation—childhood innocence, defined from either a religious or moral ...

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