How early is too early
for boys to be naked with each other by choice and eventually sexual? I have a story (placed just before the civil war in a rural area for context) I'm
working on that had two boys become friends at age three.
I want to thank you for your question. I know there was a lot more detail in the original note you sent me, but I thought this got to the heart of the matter. As a writer, we must handle situations like sex in a way that fits the story. In a realistic, specifically a rural historical setting, children will be exposed to sexual situations sooner than children today. As young children they would be exposed to animals doing what animals do and they are very naturally curious. Another thing to consider is that within the historical context, people grew up, married, and had children much younger that we generally do today. I do believe its important to make sure that sexual interactions you choose to include, especially at a young age, are only included if they are truly important to the story you're telling.
Now some words of caution. Even though you are writing a historically set story, readers have a modern sensibility, so its important to make sure that sexual interactions between the characters are handled in a way that doesn't turn readers off. Sex between children must be handled very delicately. You want readers to enjoy your story and in todays legal environment, its important to be careful, especially when dealing with children.
Here is a possible solution. Rather than writing the childhood interactions as part of the main story, they can be included as part of the back story and recalled at an appropriate time by one of the characters. It makes the action seem a little less immediate and gives the reader some removal.
I will say that you presented me with a tough question and one that doesn't have a single straight forward answer. I hope I have been helpful.
Hugs and Love
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