Sexual conservatism of talented adolescents

Ellen Winner, Gifted Children: Myths and Realities, Basic Books, 1996, p. 228-9
Whether gifted in art, music, or academics, talented adolescents…lack confidence about their social skills and their potential sexual attractiveness.  High-IQ children have a less positive body image than their more average peers.  And talented adolescents are more conservative than the average teen in their sexual attitudes, with the exception of female visual artists….
Talented adolescents may be more conservative in their sexual attitudes because they feel different and hence feel less confident of their attractiveness.  But their conservatism could also be related to their need for solitude in order to develop their talent: perhaps they need to guard against intimate entanglements so that they will have sufficient energy for work.  If so, sexual conservatism serves as a form of sublimation, in which sexual energy is channeled into work.  This would be consistent with the Freudian view that creative work is made possible by a rechanneling of forbidden sexual energy into productive, socially valued work.
Note that these talented children and adolescents seem to have problems not because of any inherent social and emotional difficulties but rather because they are so different from others.  They are “out of synch.”  If they could find others like themselves, their social problems might well disappear.

2 thoughts on “Sexual conservatism of talented adolescents

  1. Pingback: Sexual conservatism of gifted children: What it means for 2016 election | How to Have Gifted Children

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