I don't feel that "told" is the appropriate operative word. Boys have erections as infants, and most children evidence some sort of pleasure in their genitalia long before they acquire language; approval of that pleasure can be communicated in the same way we show it of their other activities — a smile, a nudge, a coo of encouragement. I would suggest that only kids who've acquired negative feelings about their genitals might need to be "told" how best to manipulate them to maximize the manifold pleasures that masturbation can offer. Regrettably, they are the ones to whom the *wrong* message is likely to be imparted by their elders — the same elders who may well have been the source of their hang-ups in the first place! Anyway, the question of "when" is fundamentally unanswerable, since children develop (and their needs define themselves) at different rates as measured chronologically. But for that sad parent who is totally confused: If your pubescent kid is antsy, anxious, and walking about with a continuous hard-on, it's long past time to teach him how to love himself. If you don't, there's a good chance he, having failed to learn that, may never learn to love others.
- age 47, California
This Week's Wackiest Response:
While you are just a fetus. You get bored inside Mommy!
- age 15, California
The person who suggested this question must not have sons. As the ultrasound tech said when my first son was still a fetus, "He must be a boy. He has his hands between his legs." They play with their penises as soon as they are able. We talk about it with our son when it comes up (no pun intended). He is now 3 years old. We talk about where and when it is appropriate to play with your penis — things like that. Is there a right time? Yes, anytime. We tell them whatever they need to hear. I don't tell my 3-year-old about ejaculation because it isn't important to him at that age. But we say that it is okay to play with your penis, and yes, it feels good — and we also talk about who *can't* play with your penis.
- age 41, Washington
I'm not sure kids should be told explicitly about masturbation. Ideally, they should discover it for themselves when the time is right, already knowing that its healthy, normal, and that (almost) everyone does it. Telling them ahead of time that masturbation exists, though, might get them to do it before they're ready, physically and emotionally. It would have helped me immensely to be mature enough to understand the feelings in my body and mind before I started masturbating regularly. I suppose the best situation is to make information (such as Jackinworld) available and to approach your kids once you know they're masturbating to let them know it's okay and perfectly normal.
- age 21, Indiana
I believe an appropriate age today would be about 11. Many will begin puberty by 12. If they haven't heard about masturbation by then from a friend, it will probably happen soon. It is better that they know in advance, understand what to expect, and most important, not have any guilt about masturbating. So many young boys have guilt until they find out their friends are doing the same thing. I overheard my own 12-year-old son and his best friend "measuring." He knew I was aware of what they were doing. A few days later when we were alone he asked me if that made him gay. I assured him it did not and told him that my friends and I had done the same at his age — it was an age-appropriate act.
- age 66, Oregon
Different children, or teenagers, reach their sexual beginnings at different ages, so the proper time to tell each person is different.
- age 17, California
A timely question, as I just went through this exercise with my 11-year-old son. Age did not apply; he was told a year ago that he was about to start puberty and he would notice changes to his body — hair on his arms and legs, growth spurts, and the appearance of downy hair on his "privates." I observed the arms and legs and then asked about the "privates," which he confirmed, so I arranged a private moment. I covered *all* parts of puberty in (I hope) a factual, light-hearted way — intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, and sexual. He responded positively. I explained that I noticed he was frequently grabbing or rearranging around his crotch, and that led to the discussion on erections and finally sexual tension. In the context of when hungry get food, when thirsty get drink, when tired get rest, I explained that this new feeling means that his body desires an orgasm. And I encouraged him to take his time, make it last as long as possible, and always aim to have more than one orgasm before concluding his masturbation session. I followed by the assurance that I could cover his need for privacy with his mom and brother, and encouraged him to do it as often as he likes or needs; it is a good thing. The next day, I bought him his first package of condoms and presented it with a bottle of lube, assuring him he only had to ask when he ran out, and I would happily get him more. In a shared morning shower, I demonstrated how to put on the condom, and he has been enjoying the activity a *lot* ever since. I believe I did the right thing as his father, and explained later to my wife all that had transpired. I have also told him to let me know when his body produces his first ejaculate, and that we would celebrate that moment in his life with a dinner at his favorite restaurant. So far, so good!
- age 43, Canada
If I had a son, I would tell him at age 12, maybe 11. I would tell him everything and tell him to visit JackinWorld. I would also tell him that masturbation is normal and he should enjoy it in the privacy of his bedroom. I would also teach him that it is okay to be gay and to have (safe) gay sex.
- age 24, Indiana
I believe that fathers should have this conversation with their sons about age 10 or 11. They should tell their kids that masturbation is normal and healthy, and that it isn't a public act but a private one. At the same time, the sexual organs should be explained — how they work, how to care for them (particularly if uncut), how to do monthly testicular exams, and basic sexuality, along with prevention of STDs and pregnancy. I believe that open communication with sons about this and all sexual matters is one of the most important teenage lessons a father can give.
- age 44, Vermont
Kids should be told about masturbation around age 11. They should be told it's healthy and fun. I just kind of discovered it myself; it would've been nice if someone told me.
- age 14, Illinois
I was a very early masturbator, so I am a strong proponent of telling kids early about the pertinent facts. What to say varies according to age. When I was 5 or 6 and doing it on the support pole to my swing set and those on the school playground, I should have been told that it was normal to get good feelings by doing that, but that it should be done in private, not public, settings. Kids as young as that don't need many details, but as they get older, they should have more. By the time they are approaching puberty, they should be taught about what masturbation is, that nearly all boys do it, that it is harmless, etc. By the time they are actively masturbating with hormonal stimulation (as opposed to reacting only to the pleasant stimuli coming from their genitals), they should be told that there are different ways to do it, and that doing it with friends is common but doesn't mean one is gay. Obviously, I am a proponent of "full disclosure."
- age 56, West Virginia
I believe in telling young men about masturbation around the age of 12, preferably by an older guy (father, brother or good friend). A gift of some lube and tissues would be nice, too. Just entering puberty, these guys might already know about it but not realize it is okay, normal, and healthy. When I was 12 years old, a total stranger told me about it. We were alone in a schoolroom and he demonstrated for me. I went home and tried it and have been doing it ever since. However, it would have been nice if an older cousin or friend had sat me down and had a man-to-man talk with me.
- age 44, New York
Let people find out about masturbation by themselves. It's a lot more surprising then, and a lot more fun.
- age 15, Ireland
I think about age 10 (if they are not circumcised, perhaps it should be earlier). Tell them that there are wonderful feelings there — a gift of God — and that they should not be ashamed to masturbate. Although masturbation should be private, sometimes boys experiment together, and if they do, don't worry about it. Masturbation will teach them a lot about their bodies and prepare them for sex with girls at the appropriate time. Some circumcised boys need lubrication; describe some of the options. As they go through puberty, they will go from just a "good feeling" to ejaculation and when that happens, don't be surprised.
- age 62, Alabama
My dad told me when I was 11, just before I started puberty. I thought he did a good job. He was straightforward about it. My body would change; I would feel the need to play with my penis; that I should do so and that it was normal; that I should do it as often as I felt a need; not to believe anyone who tried to tell me it was wrong or bad; and to do it in private. He also explained that I would probably experiment with other boys and that was okay, and if I experimented with girls, to ask him for a rubber! Actually, it was an ongoing conversation over about a year and it wasn't just about masturbation. It included all aspects of sex and sexuality and I think it benefited me greatly. I will do the same with my own children when I have them. By the way, he also used the J-word, the F-word, and others when explaining things, along with the proper words.
- age 19, California
All children mature emotionally and spiritually at different rates, so only a sensitive parent would know when to tell a child about masturbation; however, if I were raising kids, I would do some things very differently from what my parents did when it comes to providing information about masturbation. I would do my best to assure my kids that masturbation is as natural as eating, sleeping, or breathing. From their earliest ages, I would answer any questions they raise about sexuality, and do so in a loving, compassionate, non-judgmental manner, while instilling in them responsibility for their decisions and actions. When they are toddlers, I would teach them the names of their body parts; I would not skip the names of anything between their abdomen and their knees, and I would never make up euphemistic names for their genitalia. Later, I would endeavor to convince them that masturbation is an important part of their being, and something that will continue long after they make the mature, responsible decision to engage in intercourse; in fact, I would encourage them to postpone intercourse until they are ready for marriage. Naturally, I would show them the JackinWorld web site and guide them through its quality advice. Above all, I would do everything in my power to assure that my children do not grow up with guilt, fear, and needless worry because neither their parents nor their friends would discuss one of the Supreme Being's greatest gifts to creation: human sexuality, including masturbation.
- age 62, Michigan
"If someone is ready to ask the question,
they're ready to be given an answer."
It depends on when and whether they ask! Very young children (I mean under school age) often begin masturbating with no understanding that it's a sexual thing — often thinking it's okay to do in public. At that age, all that's really needed is "Yes, it feels nice, and there's nothing wrong with it, but it's a private thing. When you want to do that, go into your bedroom, okay?" Gee, actually, that's what I'd say to any kid. Just scale the vocabulary to be age-appropriate. I don't believe there is any age below which it's harmful to know about masturbation. If someone is ready to ask the question, they're ready to be given an answer. I began masturbating when I was around 7, with no idea what it meant. I always read ahead of my age so by the time a third form health class teacher gave us the officially approved line (that masturbating is healthy, common, and far better than getting pregnant), I was wryly amused and felt I could tell *her* a thing or two.
- age 25, New Zealand (female)
I told my 11-year-old son about masturbation when he told me that some kids had been making fun of a schoolmate "jackin." My son told me he thought that kid must be weird. I told him he may think that now, but soon he will learn that everyone does it. He told me he knew what "jackin" means, but didn't know how to do it. I explained how to masturbate and what to expect so he won't be freaked out or anything. I think he practiced later that night.
- age 33, California
I didn't need to masturbate until I was 12, probably due to my starting to produce semen then. At the time, I had become very desperate to have sex, the 4 years until it was legal seemed too far away, and I began to contemplate using prostitutes. Once I knew how to masturbate, everything got sorted out. So please, people, tell kids about masturbation before they do something stupid!
- age 17, United Kingdom
My older brother not only told me about masturbation, he showed me how and gave me pointers when I tried. I was 9 and quickly became a devoted fan. I have always been very glad he showed me long before I could ejaculate, because then when it happened to me, I was never worried or afraid I'd done something wrong. When puberty hit with all its force, I was able to take care of the problem with ease and know-how. I'm not sure that would be the right age for every male but it certainly was for me.
- age 68, Texas
Waiting until middle school to mention anything about masturbation in sex education isn't sufficient. Some kids masturbate for years before they even know what it's called; so giving no information can yield only confusion. I would have been much happier if I'd known in my kindergarten years what it all meant. It doesn't have to be an elaborate, graphic explanation; kids should just know that it's normal and should be done in private. Also, this information should come from parents, not from public school teachers.
- age 22, Tennessee (female)
Kids should be told about masturbation whenever they express an interest. A small boy "playing with it" should be told that it's okay, but to do it in private. Above all, answer questions truthfully and honestly. Don't ever scold or try to make the boy feel guilty. Provide reading material, and send them to JackinWorld!
- age 55, California
I believe age 11 to 13 is an appropriate age to be told about masturbation because puberty and curiousity starts to kick in around then. I believe that masturbation should not be promoted, but explained in a way that it is transparent, that it is not wrong, and a lot of people do it. Even though I *love* masturbation, I wouldn't want to promote it, because let's face it, there are some people who don't approve of it, and I would like my child to choose for himself.
- age 15, New York (female)
Does it matter? Neither of my parents ever told me anything, and I'm quite happy about that. I learned it from other sources in due time. I had read about it, and older friends hinted about it — so once at the age of 14 I just decided to take a prolonged session at the loo [toilet]. As long as there are educational articles about sex and masturbation in magazines, papers, etc., this question seems somewhat redundant.
- age 29, Norway
They should be told about masturbation at whatever age they start to be curious about their bodies and start "playing" with their genitals. They should be informed that it is a natural tendency and not something they should be ashamed of. However, they should also be told that care should be taken where and when they masturbate, especially in places away from their own home. Unfortunately, children must be very aware of this fact due to the large number of predatory child molesters who are out in the world today. My nephew is 12 and has been taught about masturbation, (verbally only) by his older cousin, me, and another uncle, who are all open about it and spoke to his mother before talking to him. His mother has also given him an excellent education in general sexuality. (There is no father.)
- age 41, Australia
In 8h grade, I had a health class where we learned about drugs, sex, and all the other things that a teenager must face in life. During the sexual education portion, we talked about the penis and the vagina and how sexual intercourse is conducted. There was no talk of masturbation, and I regret this, because one effect of teaching something like this is that people will want to experiment. A few weeks later, I asked my friend what masturbation was, and he told me; the next night in privacy, I masturbated for the first time. I was scared and exhilarated by what I had just done, and I did it the night after and the night after that. However, I soon began abstaining from life and focusing more on masturbation. This is something that I regret, and I believe that one should be taught in school how masturbation is done and how to integrate it into their lives healthily and properly.
- age 14, Missouri
Parents should tell their children about masturbation (and sex) progressively and continually from the day they are born, after father and mother first agree on how they will approach and guide their children's emerging sexuality. Sexual guidance for infants is non-verbal and involves warmly holding, touching, and caring for the baby; if a baby touches his or her genitals, parents need to acknowledge it and celebrate with the child the good feelings. Very young children begin to show their curiosity about others' as well as their own genitals, and need warm verbal and non-verbal support in this exploration along with guidance to do it in private. Children in early and middle childhood may touch themselves often and perhaps play sex games with siblings, cousins, or friends — where parents need to reinforce the concept of doing these things privately and only with people they know well, while supporting the value of such play. Some children begin to masturbate (even if immaturely) between ages 5 and 8, and need support from their parents that it is okay, but again, should be done in private. As boys begin to have more erections, parents need to show acceptance and can even use an erection as an opportunity to ask or elicit and then answer questions. By age 10 (or earlier if signs of puberty begin to appear), parents need to discuss with sons the changes of puberty, current experience with masturbation and ejaculation, and the function of semen (with daughters, the onset of menses, body changes, and masturbation and orgasm). As kids move on into puberty and more actively socializing with others, parents need to discuss the various functions of self-pleasuring — exploration of one's body, a safe way to explore sex with others, who masturbates, etc. — done at times when discussion seems appropriate and not forced.
- age 62, New Jersey
I think regardless of a family's beliefs about masturbation, the most important part is to be ahead of the curve. Since the puberty fairy visits everyone at different times, I don't think you can make a broad declaration that it should be done at age 11 or 12 or whatever, but I do think it should be before they hear it on the playground and before they're likely to discover it on their own. And they should be told what it is and what the beliefs of the house are: if it's okay to masturbate, what parts of the house are off-limits, and what privacy allowances will be made.
- age 27, New York
I don't think it is necessary to tell someone about masturbation. When they are babies, humans start playing with themselves to get satisfaction (my kids did, anyway). I think that each child should be told what is acceptable in terms of masturbation in the family home as soon as possible. If the child starts seriously masturbating at 10, 12, whatever, that is the age to discuss it. Some kids start earlier and I don't think there exists a magic age to discuss masturbation. I just want my kids to feel comfortable with the concept and not feel guilty about it.
- age 36, Florida
Children should be told once they start puberty at whatever age that is for them. My mom told me about "playing with myself" when I was 12 years old. She just told me how to do it, why people do it, that it is normal for all girls to do it, and when I'm 16 she's buying me a special toy to help.
- age 15, California (female)
As a dad, I talked about masturbation with each of my two boys when they were at the front edge of puberty — that first little tuft of pubic hair is a pretty good cue — and even then I came away feeling as if I were behind the curve. I pretty much let it all hang out, so to speak, which no grown-up had ever done with me. I talked about what masturbation is, a very little bit about how it's done; and a lot about how it's a perfectly okay source of pleasure that most men (including their dad) enjoy all their lives. (My wife had a similar conversation with our daughter.) I hope I helped, if only by conveying that masturbating is not some dirty little secret they needed to feel ashamed of or guilty about in our house. But as I say, I had the strong sense that I got there too late. My guess in hindsight is that my older boy had discovered the pleasures of his penis on his own (or with a little help from his friends) and passed it along to his kid brother well before their dad raised the subject with them.
- age 42, Massachusetts
Wow, that's a tough one. But given that most people discover masturbation or already have discovered it sometime between 12 and 14, that could be a guideline. But then again, if you notice that your 8-year-old child is masturbating, the right thing to do would be to talk to him, right? But that's at home, where only parents set the rules. At school, I don't think it would be possible to bring up such a topic at so early an age because many parents would probably complain, so then we're back to my previous guess, between 12 and 14. However, I'm basically shooting blind, since no one ever "told me" about masturbation (even though I'm in Sweden, sex education is very poor in this area), and I had to find out all on my own what it was about and how it was done.
- age 20, Sweden
The age to tell someone about masturbation depends on the guy. Some 11-year-olds are ready to understand what it is all about, while some 14-year-olds are still too immature to handle it. I think if a boy has pubes, can get an erection, and is somewhat emotionally mature, he should be told about masturbation, especially if he is already doing it and doesn't know what it is all about. He should be told that it is okay to do it, that he should respect other people by not doing it in public, and to clean up his mess so his mom doesn't have to. He should be told to enjoy himself cause that is what it is all about.
- age 15, Minnesota
I think kids should be told about masturbation early on, but according to their individual development. I myself had my first vaguely sexual feelings at about age 8. I masturbated (humping the bed, etc.) without really knowing what and why I did it. Since my parents were not very understanding and simply told me to stop whenever they caught me, I felt more and more dirty and addicted the more powerful my urges became. That would have been the exact right moment for a quick, matter-of-fact explanation of the basic facts of puberty and a reassurance that nothing was wrong with me. So, in essence, I think that kids should be told when they show the first signs of "masturbatory behavior." (Before that the information could be too abstract and possibly a little scary.) I admit that it may be tricky for parents to recognize the right moment when it comes, though. If the child is a late bloomer, he will probably have been enlightened by his already-active peers, anyway.
- age 25, Denmark
I think about 8 years old is a good age. By this time, most boys have discovered the pleasures of their penis, but aren't quite sure about what is really happening. For me, I started enjoying pleasure with my penis at a very young age, like about 4 or 5. It didn't take me long to figure out how to have more fun, but I didn't really know what was going on. I had a good sex education course in 5th or 6th grade, but it never discussed masturbation. I and a lot of my friends actually thought it was gross to have to put your penis inside a woman; I knew I much preferred my hand. Knowing what was going on with my body would have made things even better. I have been pretty much addicted to masturbation ever since I discovered it and I think if boys knew all the facts at an early age they would mature sexually and mentally with much less stress, and having much more fun.
- age 48, Illinois
A kid should be told about masturbation around 11 or 12 and be told that it is normal. They should also be told about sperm, "wet dreams," about the possibility of experimenting with a best friend, and to *never* let *anyone* persuade him to do anything he does not feel comfortable doing, and *never* masturbate with anyone more than two or three years older then himself.
- age 17, Texas
I have talked to my son, who is 9, since I discovered him masturbating. We discussed why guys do this, and the fact it is normal to do. He was *very* embarrassed, but at the same time it relieved some anxiety because he thought he was doing something "sinful." I even went so far as to tell him that I still do it (I am a single dad). I informed him what to expect as he gets older (semen, ejaculation). The first time I did that, it scared me to death — I thought I had broken something. I just want him to feel at ease and just *enjoy* himself.
- age 35, Kentucky
I've been asking myself this same question because I have a young cousin who just turned 13 this week. I highly doubt that his parents or his older brother will explain to him about the facts of life. Part of me wants to explain to my cousin about masturbation. I know it could spare him a lot of confusion and likely negative feelings (knowing his family situation). However, I don't think it would feel right for me to talk to him at that level. So instead, I have tried to keep an open dialogue with him about the Big Three (sex, drugs, and rock & roll) as he's grown up. I hope he will feel comfortable asking me any questions about sexuality, which I'd be glad to answer as his older (and wiser?) cousin.
- age 28, Washington
My son, now 25, was 4 and masturbating on the sofa in the den. At that time, I told him quietly that it is perfectly okay to do that, but he had to do it in his room. Any age is fine as long as it is appropriate to the situation. If it hadn't come up, I probably would have told him around the time we started discussing sex, which began when my kids were about 7 and continued as an open dialogue.
- age 47, New York
I think a boy should be told when a parent notices him first starting to explore his body by masturbation (for example, my little brother was frequently and obviously "playing with himself" at age 5, although he didn't really seem to know what he was doing). I think they should be told as much as they can handle for their age, but certainly it should be emphasized that masturbation is normal and healthy and that everyone does it and that it is perfectly okay to do it. Also maybe something should be said about "private time" and how it is a good idea to do certain things, even if they are good to do, in private. This might also be a good time to say something about privacy in general and ownership of one's body and sexual parts and the difference between consensual "good touch" and inappropriate "bad touch," if all that can be fit in a way that is not overwhelming and scary and in a way that sends the correct, sex-positive message.
- age 36, Pennsylvania
Sex education should be ongoing from birth. If anatomy and the use of a person's anatomy are told objectively and without emotion, it can be and should be told at any age. Some preschoolers discover masturbation, while some children don't discover it until age 6 or 7. The fact is that children do discover it and from an early age — keep communication open.
- age 23, Canada (female)
I think that children and young adults should be told about masturbation at the same time that the topic of sex education is introduced. It should be done in an age-appropriate manner. For example, a boy of 8 or 9 could be told that most men touch their penis in private, for personal pleasure. When they are older, perhaps 10 or 12, describing ejaculation and orgasm could be introduced. Certainly when they reach the teenage years, the concepts of masturbation as a method of contraception, to minimize spread of STDs, and for pleasure and sexual release between partners can be addressed. Also, responsibility and the consequences associated with sexual activity need to be emphasized, along with consideration for the needs of your sexual partner. By starting at an early age, being non-judgmental, and maintaining an open dialogue with your children, we can look forward to a new generation of adults that are well informed, guilt-free, and not embarrassed to pass along their wisdom and experience to their children.
- age 48, Minnesota
Well I learned about masturbation myself (mainly from JackinWorld); I sure wouldn't have liked it if my parents had told me about it. I just had a terrible case of curiosity and started to find out about it myself. I think in the 6th grade when you're 11or 12, you should be shown a video that says that masturbation is totally harmless and normal.
- age 16, Estonia
I am the father of two adult sons. I talked to them about sexual things several times as they were approaching and entering puberty. Around age 12, I told them about masturbation. I explained that it was a normal way for all people to deal with sexual urges. I told them I was sure that all people masturbate, at least at some point in their lives. I told them that it is something that is best done in private, but they should not be concerned that it was shameful. I explained that I felt it was a way God had provided for us to deal with sexual urges whenever an appropriate sexual partner is not available. I explained that even married people participate in it because it is not always feasible to have sexual intercourse.
- age 54, Kansas
I think that it is best not be told, but rather to let human nature take its course. One day, I was flipping through channels when I "happened" to come across some porn. I enjoyed it, so I continued to watch. When they started having sex, my hand was drawn to my penis and, well...you know the rest.
- age 14, Canada
They should always know. My son is two-and-one-half years old. He has always played with his penis. When I see him playing with it I just say, "Feels good, doesn't it? All guys like to play with it because it feels good and is good for you." He just smiles and lies there pulling on his foreskin. Why deprive anyone of the knowledge of such a beautiful gift for even a few precious seconds? I was 14 when I discovered masturbation on my own and I was furious that no one had told me about it sooner.
- age 49, Canada
My dad told me about it and showed me how to do it when I just turned 12 after he noticed hair growing over my penis when I came out of the shower one day. He told me I would be going through more changes pretty soon and said I'd want to play with my penis a lot. It was kewl seeing him get hard and then masturbate to show me how, while I did it too. I think that's a good way to tell kids about it, because now I know what a grown man's penis looks like and what ejaculating looks like (I started to ejaculate three months ago). He said he showed me once and would never let me see him do it again because masturbating is a private thing. I hope I get as huge as my dad!
- age 13, Texas
I think it's reasonable to talk about masturbation with very small children when it happens, such as a three-year-old touching herself. My approach would be to tell the child about special places that feel good and that are nice to touch and then to talk about privacy and how some things, like touching and going to the bathroom, belong in private rooms and not in front of other people. Later, I think it should be brought up as one of many parts of the ongoing puberty talk, likely around age 8 or so. I think it would be good to tell the child that she will go through lots of changes and that one might be wanting to touch privately more often, and that that is okay. If I had a daughter, I'd want to talk to her again in her early teens to explain about pleasure and touching herself because I believe it's an important part of her development. I expect that boys will do it on their own, but girls might need the suggestion to get started.
- age 30, Ontario, Canada (female)
Well, if you're not told, you can usually figure masturbation out for yourself. When I was a kid, I heard about it from some friends, who talked about it as if it were a bad thing; of course, I was intrigued, and determined to figure out how to do it. This year, I'm teaching sexuality education to kids who are between the ages of 12 and 14, and masturbation is discussed in the curriculum. We teach the kids that it's okay, it won't harm you, it's a safe and pleasurable alternative to sexual intercourse, etc. I do think it's important that kids know that there is nothing wrong with masturbating. The curriculum doesn't go into methods or anything, and I don't think it should. If they want to know about that stuff, there's always JackinWorld.
- age 23, Minnesota.
I have a great relationship with my mom and she and I can talk about anything. When she gave the introduction to sex talk, she also talked about masturbation, said it's a good thing, and asked me if I'd like her to get me a vibrator. I thought that was cool and so she did about a year ago. Now I use my vibe every night & get yummy orgasms with it. I think kids should be told it's okay to masturbate and should be given vibes and lube if they want it. I don't want a pregnancy at my age.
- age 14, California (female)
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. Whether and when to tell a child about masturbation depends on the family situation. Masturbation was never mentioned in my family, although my parents knew that I had always masturbated several times every day. I found that out years later when my mother mentioned it to my wife and she told me. My mother just didn't know what to do about it, and my father told her to do nothing, since all boys do it. I walked into the bathroom and found my son masturbating in the shower, and I said, "That feels good, doesn't it?" That was our only mention of the subject. I feel that masturbation is a private thing and I don't do it in front of my wife, although she knows that I do it often. She gets all the sex she wants, so she doesn't feel threatened by it.
- age 70, California