I live close to a park and spend a lot of time there reading -- or sometimes just watching the world go by. The activities of boys and girls tend to be very different. If a ball is being thrown or kicked around, it is generally by boys. If someone is turning cartwheels, it is overwhelmingly likely to be a girl. The value of ball games to boys is fairly obvious. Aside from learning coordination of limb and eye, they learn to operate as a team -- which will help them when they become hunters and warriors in adult life. Except that doesn’t happen much these days. But what impels girls to turn cartwheels? Isn’t it fairly obvious that it is a form of sexual display? No one likes to say so, and perhaps this is because some girls like to turn cartwheels at quite a young age and we are shy of suggesting that they are sexually precocious. The proposition that young girls regularly make themselves sexually attractive to men is unacceptable to feminists and considered politically incorrect. Yet a botanist friend of mine who spent time in rural Africa tells me that he used to be embarrassed by girls of nine or ten who would deliberately turn naked cartwheels in front of him and direct gleeful looks in his direction. The wearing of clothes is a very recent phenomenon, and it is difficult to believe that doing cartwheels was not a means of “showing it all off”. The persistence of cartwheeling is indicative that it confers an evolutionary advantage. I spent a dozen years of my life in one of Britain’s top university psychology departments, but no longer have access to an academic psychology library, so I cannot state categorically that the literature is devoid of mention of cartwheels as a form of sexual display -- but I certainly have no recollection of ever having stumbled upon the subject. Googling also fails to suggest that the subject has been tackled by psychologists. I invite the observations and opinions of others on this subject. Is turning cartwheels a universal phenomenon among girls? Ladies: if you turned cartwheels in your youth, where did you feel the impulse came from? How old were you when you first began turning cartwheels? Thinking back, did it give you an almost sexual thrill to turn cartwheels (though you would not have thought in such terms at the time)? Thank you in advance for your replies.