I believe that in my 5th-grade class the teacher should have explained ejaculation and orgasm in simple terms and also made the connection between "handling the penis" and triggering an orgasm. As for the exact technique with which to achieve this...well, I guess it's cool if kids figure this out for themselves. (Although of course if they read JackinHow-To, the big secret is ruined!)
Finally, let me personally thank everyone who mentioned JackinWorld in their responses. It's very gratifying knowing you consider it worthy enough to show it to your own kids.]
In 6th grade a friend asked me if I went fishing and if I was the "master baiter." I had no clue what he was talking about. I was probably 12 years old. People should know by at least age 12 what masturbation is and that it is normal. They will find out about then anyway, so they might as well know the truth instead of the myths.
- age 16, Florida
I suppose kids should be told between ages 8 and 10. Just tell them what it is, without the how-to part. Boys can figure it out through self-exploration and what they hear from their buddies. Fathers should be open to all talk about sex, and boys should know that. They should also be comfortable being nude around their sons. Having a kind of locker-room camaraderie between males in the family — bonding without the girls — can foster frank talk.
- age 41, California
Must someone be told? I never was. Masturbation doesn't require discussion. This is not to say it is inappropriate to discuss, but rather that it is unnecessary. Self-satisfaction is self-explanatory, whether it be scratching an itch or masturbating. The only time that masturbation mustbe discussed is when it is inappropriate or dangerous. Being toldabout masturbation is like being told about the pros and cons of breathing.
- age 17, Massachusetts
I believe you are never too young to learn about masturbation, since nearly all children "play with themselves" at an early age. This is a simple part of human development and usually our first sexual experience. We should tell children it is a private thing and that exploring one's own body is nothing to be ashamed of. Older children should be educated in all areas of sex, including homosexuality and alternate lifestyles. I cannot believe that some people are still afraid of condom distribution, sex education, and discussions on sexuality in our public schools — especially in this era of AIDS. Less than 100 years ago, some medical books actually encouraged parents to strap their children to the bed or tie their hands behind their backs to stop them from masturbating! It's time to grow up, America, and reallystart educating our kids. Sexual education might even save your kid's life someday.
- age 33, Pennsylvania
The earlier the better. Even if kids don't actually masturbate, they still think about sex. This can get very frustrating. If they learn how to masturbate, things are a little easier for them.
- age 18, Iowa
Most of us learn without being told — just like learning about Santa Claus!
- age 71, North Carolina
No boy should have to live without masturbation past the age of 12.
- age 15, Saskatchewan
I raised my two sons in a single-family household. I gave them explicit information on masturbation when they were old enough to understand — about age 6. I answered every question they asked, even telling them I did it as a boy and still continue to do it. I explained it was one of the optional sexual outlets — no STD's, no pregnancies — and they could thoroughly enjoy it and hold off from sexual intercourse until they were old enough to handle the responsibilities. I also told them it was a way to practice holding off from ejaculating before they were ready (or willing). Both boys often masturbated each other; they are both straight and have grown up to respect sex but still enjoy it. I wish I had had a dad who would have given me such information and support. Both of my sons tell me they will do the same with their sons.
- age 48, California
Parents don't necessarily have to tell their kids directly. They could just leave a book about masturbation and sex where the kids will find it. If kids ask, no matter what their age, they should be told everything.
- age 15, Hawaii
At the end of middle school. As for what they should be told, not too much — most of the fun in masturbating is touching your "privates" to find out what gives you pleasure. Kids should not be shown, but it should be alluded to so they will then go out on their own and explore. If they are taught just one way, they may naver explore and find something they enjoy. As I said, a great deal of the fun is in learning how your penis likes to be touched.
- age 18, Nebraska
The ideal age for both males and females would be around 11 or 12, because most kids are starting to mature about then. It would be good for schools to incorporate this topic into their health education curricula, including the "basics" and the opposite sexes' methods — and more important, that it's "healthy" and "normal." They should also be told what to expect as time goes on, especially since many guys might not be able to ejaculate then. I think it should be a standard part of any education. Many kids don't talk to their parents about sex. Especially in single-parent families, a 13-year-old boy just isn't going to ask mom about masturbation. Fewer kids would feel guilty about doing it if they knew that almost everybody does it!
- age 24, Pennsylvania
Age must not be a factor in determining anything.
- age 15, Michigan
If they are not discouraged early on (I mean as in diapers) from touching their genitals, they will most likely discover masturbation themselves and not need to be "told" aboout it. Let them play.
- age 56, IL
People should be able to find out for themselves. I've enjoyed reading JackinWorld, but I think everybody should find their own way to this wonderful experience. I didn't learn about masturbation until I was 15. When I finally did it, I was actually excited I did it myself!
- age 18, New York
I don't think children should be told. Their parents should lead them to this site and let them explore without adult supervision. Supervision would be embarrassing and would distract a child.
- age 13, Washington
I think parents need to think of their children as when they were children. Would they have wanted to hear from their parents about masturbation? If so, they should act on it and tell their kids how normal and fun it is. Also, I think many of today's parents are hypocritical. When they were young, they might have done drugs, had promiscuous sex without feeling guilty, and even masturbated a lot!Many were even nudists some of the time. They could remember how happy they were when they did those things. Since masturbation isn't illegal, what's the harm? If you can sincerely say you haven't at least thought about having sex once in your life, you are either too young, too old, or too hypocritical to come to this site.
- age 15, Ohio
I think the perfect time would be in 7th-grade science class when you discuss sex and puberty. The 7th grade is when I started masturbating. I felt confused about it because nobody did then or will now discuss it with me.
- age 14, Texas
At the time of the first wet dream.
- age 70, Colorado
Tell guys by age 11 — earlier for girls — maybe 9. Everyone matures differently. Eleven seems a good age because then guys won't feel guilty and confused when they start masturbating. My father told me when I was 13; by then, I had already gone through the "discovery" phase, the "guilty" phase, and was in the "just-enjoy-it" phase. He was way too late, and I wouldn't want that to happen to my kids. Who knows — by the time I have kids I might have to tell them at age 8. For a guy I would talk to him about what masturbation is, that it is a time for him to enjoy his body, and that he must do it in privacy. A good book about sex and masturbation would help with questions — also, a web site like JackinWorld. I hope you're still around when I have kids!
- age 15, New York
No one answer can apply to all cases. I believe boys and girls should be told about masturbation when they start asking questions more specific than, "Where do I come from?" Once a parent sees sexual curiosity beginning to develop, they should talk about it and let their kids know it's okay and not something dirty or perverted. I don't think it's necessary to start discussing specifics such as different techniques. Kids will pick that up along the way. Just have a general talk to let them know it's okay and that you don't mind. I will do this with my own children when and if I have any.
- age 21, California
I think it should be included with other forms of body-function training. If we males could grow up enjoying self-pleasure, it wouldn't be such a taboo when we get older and we wouldn't be so gung-ho to get [our penises] into a female! I would like to see all young boys be able to masturbate without guilt from the time they are old enough to be talked to. At least, I wish I had been told years ago that it is normal and healthy!
- age 19, Texas
Boys should be told about masturbation at age 10. (That's when I orgasmed for the first time.) Parents should tell their children only if they have a close and loving relationship. I think it should be taught in the sex education classes that most 5th graders in my state are required to take. Some school administrators may feel that children would laugh and be uncomfortable, but they would only do that due to their age and their friends being in the class. Every boy would go home and try it (if he hadn't already), even if he is the loudest laugher and seemingly most immature in the class. All boys need to know — girls too — so that masturbation can once and for all become an open topic of discussion in future generations, and not something to be ashamed of. Thank you; I am leaving my soapbox now.
- age 18, Oklahoma
They should be told when they are around 10 — that it's the safest way to have sex.
- age 39, Maine
My brother introduced me to the wonderful world of masturbation when I was 9 and I've enjoyed it ever since. However, most boys should be told at puberty when their hormones are raging and their erections are constant. Wouldn't it be great if it could become an accepted thing for all boys instead of having so much guilt associated with it?
- age 63, Texas
People should be told about masturbation when they are mature enough to handle it (no pun intended). If it must be a certain age it should be 11; that's early enough to get used to the idea. Perhaps if we have it included in sex education in grade four, people would be much more open about it and it would not be such a taboo!
- age 14, Canada
At the age of about 8 you can tell one what masturbation is (in easy words) and that it is nothing bad, so when he hears this word in school, he knows what it is and isn't scared by it. At the age of 10-11 you can speak about masturbation again: tell that everybody does it, that it makes you feel good, and that it releases inner tensions.
- age 20, Germany
Children should not be told about masturbation — ever. Children need to develop this "skill" on their own and possibly use other resources such as this site. However, children should not be told about masturbation in a face-to-face talk.
- age 14, Maryland
A perfect time would be at the end of elementary school (this is nottoo young). Using the completion of elementary school as a tool of maturity, approach the child with, "Since you are older and have achieved your privilege to go to middle school, there are some things you need to know." Follow the road as it unfolds.
- age 28, Florida
About age 11, kids should be told masturbation is natural and very common. Let them know it is not some dirty little secret that will doom them forever. Caution them that there are some wrong ways that could cause harm, but doencourage the gratification.
- age 40, Texas
As soon as they are ready to acknowledge it. Obviously you're not going to tell a little kid about masturbating, but maybe about touching themselves and the feelings they have for themselves and others. Let the explanation grow up with the child.
- age 15, Canada (female)
Around age 12. Kids are in the 7th grade then, a common age for them to discover masturbation. Then they will know it is common and will not have to fear being "the only one who does it, so I must be weird." Then they should get answers to any questions they might have.
- age 21, North Dakota
The earlier children are told, the better. The younger they are, the less affected by our society's taboos on masturbation, and therefore the less shocked they would be.
- age 16, United Kingdom
Children should be told when a parent first sees them fingering their genitals, if they are old enough to speak. Some parents go ape when they see this, and they panic; others ignore it and hope it will go away. A positive attitude toward masturbation is crucial to children's development, and it's important to point out two important facts about masturbation: It does not cause pregnancy and it does not transmit venereal diseases. So there.
- age 59, New Mexico
I don't think someone should be "told" about masturbation. People should discover it naturally, whether by themselves, from a friend, or walking in on someone. Everyone looks back and remembers when they first "discovered" masturbation; it's one of the best memories of their lives and shouldn't be planned out.
- age 15, Ohio
Women should learn at age 12. Masturbation is a way of getting in touch with your sexual self and a guide to understanding your sexual needs, desires, and fantasies, so that when you have sex, you hold a mature knowledge of yourself. The woman is the guiding partner during sex. She needs to be deeply aware of ways to pleasure the male as well as herself. Men should learn between ages 14 and 16, depending on physical and mental maturity. This is not abnormal! Make sure that if you masturbate, it is not due to insecurity. It should not undermine your confidence!
- age 20, Pakistan
Most every guy I know started in 8th grade. I think masturbation should be taught around this age.
- age 17, Ohio
I believe it is the duty for the father to advise his son about masturbation when he notices the boy entering puberty. Once advised, the son can make a wise choice whether or not he wants to begin to masturbate. For many boys, this should be at around 12 or 13 years of age. I wish that someone, especially my dad, would have told me about masturbation back then; maybe that would have eliminated some of the guilt I had at the beginning. That's why I like JackinWorld so much. There should be no guilt about it, and you dads out there: Don't be afraid to talk to your sons about something you love to do!
- age 15, Puerto Rico
Age 13 is when most kids start having sexual feelings and urges, or they hear other kids talking about it. A mom should talk to her daughter or a dad should talk to his son. They should tell them what their sexual parts are for and that they can "take care" of their urges themselves, without hooking up with a partner and maybe starting a baby. They should tell them they masturbated when they were their daughters' or sons' ages too, so the kids don't need to be scared. Parents should tell kids how to do it and how to know when they need to do it.
- age 16, Ohio (female)
As soon as they are old enough to understand what you're talking about. Kids play with themselves at all ages. It's important that they know as early as possible this is okay — but that some people think it is not okay, and because of that, masturbation can't be done in public. Otherwise, little Johnny will find out the hard way, when his pre-school teacher catches him with his hands in his pants during nap time. You also want them to understand that people will joke about it as if it is bad, but that it really isn't. Better that they learn the facts from a parent, rather than learn those good ol' wonderful horror stories ("It will fall off if you do it too much," or, "It makes you insane!"). Fight ignorance with knowledge, and don't let your children grow up a single day being afraid of their own bodies!
- age 29, Idaho
Around age 10. They should be told what it is, but they should have to figure out on their own how to do it, which I don't think is too hard to do.
- age 14, Massachusetts
Guys should be told around age 11 or 12. The whole process should be explained, along with the sexual aspect of the penis. Guys need to understand the role masturbation plays to satisfy them and that they should not feel guilty about it. Most important, people need to understand how to react when they encounter friends masturbating and vice-versa. They should be taught to respect other people's privacy and urges.
- age 21, India
Children should be told whenever they are ready. I was an early bloomer and was experimenting when I was 11. I learned how to masturbate quickly, but what I really wanted to know was that everyone else was doing it. When I was growing up, it was commonly believed that if you masturbated, you were gay; therefore, no one admitted to doing it. Guys like me were confused about their sexuality. My dad tried to tell me about it when I was 12, but I wasn't interested in discussing it with him. It's too bad the information in JackinWorld wasn't available to me 12 years ago. I sure could have used it.
- age 24, Maryland
The age does not matter — it depends on the question. If someone young would ask me (for example my children), I would try to give them a proper response. I would also give the person a hint to find more about the subject in the library or on the Internet.
- age 32, Germany
If parents see their children masturbating, that is an opportunity to gently explain what it is and that it is okay. Masturbation should be part of a parent's periodic sex update talks from the very start. Sexual information ought to be given a little bit at a time, not all in one big "talk." By age 11 or 12, boys should have allthe details — orgasm, ejaculation, what it will feel like, the seeming compulsion to masturbate when puberty hits. If it's earlier, I don't think they would understand or remember; if it's later it can be too late to matter. Sex, especially masturbation, is extremely personal; once the information is given and it is understood that the door is always open for questions, the subject should be dropped. A child or teen's masturbation habits are strictly personal. If the parent is not comfortable talking about it, there are lots of excellent resources (including JackinWorld) that can be used. I wish like hell my parents had told me about it and what to expect and that it was totally normal. That would have saved me a lot of grief.
- age 45, Mississippi