It's a scary thought for parents. One day your child comes home with a book from the school library that's all about how to masturbate. And now they want to know: hey Mom, do YOU masturbate? It says in here it feels gooooood.
No wonder one mom in Washington State is clutching her pearls and having a hissy that her 10-year-old daughter, Kaleigh, brought What's the Big Secret? Talking About Sex With Boys and Girls home from school. Now Jennifer Swedeoson has to answer questions ... and she's telling the school it's all their fault that she's in this precarious position! Now, I've got a question for you. Is 10 really too young for the masturbation talk?
Scientists tell us that toddlers masturbate -- albeit unwittingly. It's not in the least bit sexual; they have the sensation that it feels good when they touch down there. By age 5 or 6, science says it's more than unwitting. They've developed the ability to connect "feels good" with "figuring out how to make it happen again," and they will repeat the act. It explains the calls a mom gets from a kindergarten teacher that her son is humping the classroom teddy bears. He still doesn't connect it with sex, but man, does he like the feeling!
This leaves parents with two options. Take Swedeoson's route and pretend kids don't masturbate, in essence making them feel like it's something shameful and risking them doing it in public because they don't know WHAT it is they're doing and where it's appropriate. Or you could talk about it with your kids when it crops up.
I didn't say they were two good options! It's hard to talk about. I get it. Especially when kids turn it into the inevitable, "so, how does this apply to YOUR life, Mommy?" All you're thinking is, "Please don't tell your first grade teacher Mommy has a Rabbit. Please don't tell your first grade teacher Mommy has a Rabbit. Please don't ... "
But think back to when you were a kid. The first time you masturbated? The conflicted feelings you had as you realized this felt daaaaarn good, but you weren't so sure your parents would approve.
Now tell me -- do you want your kids to have that kind of guilt hanging over their heads? Or do you want them to enjoy the ride?
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