Kids As Young As 8 Should Learn About Masturbation & 'Self Pleasure,' According to Expert

Teaching your kids about their bodies and natural pleasures might be uncomfortable, but one sex educator from England is urging parents that it's necessary to get an early start, even for elementary-aged kids. Kate Dawson was a guest on the UK show This Morning, where she argued that kids as young as 8 years old need to understand the power of "self pleasure" from a young age, not to mention pornography and sex, which they are often inadvertently being exposed to. Naturally, not everyone agrees that this part of the topic is appropriate and many are furious. 

  • Dawson explained that if we don't talk to our kids early about masturbation, they're going to get the wrong ideas about sex -- whether we like it or not.

    Dawson argued that although she doesn't personally work with children younger than 11, she does believe in teaching elementary school children that "it's normal to explore your own body in a private space, if that's what you want to do, and that it can feel nice." She also said that throughout her work she finds that young girls are "absolutely disgusted" by their genitalia. That problem is only made worse when you consider that in a study Dawson cited, 60 percent of students between 18 and 24 first saw pornography when they were younger than 13.

     "We don't get to see other people's genitals ever; the only place we get to see other people's genitals is porn. And the people who are in porn are hired maybe because of the types of bodies that they have," she said. For young girls, that means they are only seeing women who have the kind of genitals that porn studios find attractive, and the girls don't necessarily understand that vulvas come in all shapes and sizes.

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  • Most of us are embarrassed to talk about masturbation. But Dawson argues that teaching kids now about their own pleasure can help them later in life.

    Teaching your kids about masturbation isn't just good for them, she explained. It's important for them to understand the pleasure of the opposite gender. "It's really about being able to give people the skills so that they can say this is what I like and this is what I don't like. How to communicate consent is a huge part of that," she said. But of course, the topic of masturbation can be a little bit touchy for some people.

  • Some people felt that it was straight-up bad to bring up masturbation to children.

  • "This is just wrong," one person commented.

  • "Can you let children be children please!" wrote another.

  • And a third person felt really strongly that teaching your kids about masturbation is "f*cking sick."

  • But other people thought that teaching their kids about self-pleasure was essential.

  • "We need to teach our kids that masturbation is normal," one person wrote.

  • And some else agreed that it would be helpful for parents to contextualize porn for their kids so they understand it's not real sex.

    No matter how old you believe your child should be before having "the conversation," we can all agree that we want our kids to have a healthy attitude toward their own bodies and the bodies of others. And Dawson's method is just one example of how parents can do that.