Calm Down, It's Totally Normal If Your Kid Masturbates

Calm Down, It’s Totally Normal If Your Kid Masturbates

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Sooner or later, if you haven’t already, you’re going to catch your kid fiddling around “down south.” Spoiler alert: it’s gonna be awkward.

Most of us tend to think of masturbation (other people’s, of course, not our own) as some sort of gross, depraved splooge-fest that we certainly, absolutely don’t want our kids partaking in – especially considering the fact that they’re, well, kids.

But masturbation is simply the touching of one’s own genitals because it feels good, and kids are all about doing things that feel good to them. Add in the fact that they’re as-yet mostly unaware of societal norms and taboos, and this leads them to explore the fascinating world of genitalia whenever and wherever the mood strikes. Like the couch. Or when there’s company over.

So yeah, there’s no doubt that we need to stop our kids from partaking in a semi-public diddle session. But only to teach them that it’s something they should do in private, not to teach them that they shouldn’t do it at all. Think about it this way – when our kids are knuckle-deep in a nostril, we don’t tell them they’re prohibited from getting the boogers out of their noses, because a nose full of snot isn’t comfortable for anyone. We just redirect them: use a tissue, not your fingers. We show them the proper, more socially-acceptable way to do something which, in itself, isn’t bad or disgusting.

The same can be said for masturbation, because for all our hang-ups about it, it’s not a bad thing. Not even for kids. Repeat after me, and then again, louder, for the people in the back: SEXUAL URGES ARE NATURAL. They are a basic and instinctual part of us. If humans didn’t feel sexual desire, there would be no humans – it is literally an essential part of our survival, a deeply-ingrained trait shared across races and cultures and socioeconomic divides. And like any other thing that comes naturally to us, its development begins in childhood.

Let’s un-clutch our pearls for a little bit, get those panties out of a knot, and look at this objectively. Nobody is suggesting that you say to your kids, “Hey, why don’t you go masturbate? Here, take this erotic literature with you.” Taking the shame out of masturbation isn’t going to turn them into sex-crazed beings who hump everything in sight with wanton abandon.

Instead, it’s sending them a message that their bodies are wonderful creations that can serve them well in many different capacities, including sexual pleasure. It’s letting them know that they shouldn’t feel ashamed, and that it’s normal. It’s teaching them valuable lessons about privacy, and ownership of their own bodies, which will prove helpful if (heaven forbid!) they’re ever faced with a sexual predator. We’re allowing them to explore their sexuality within the boundaries of a safe environment, at whatever rate it develops, rather than suppressing the natural curiosity and having it backfire in the form of potentially unsafe experimentation when they’re hormone-addled teenagers.

Would I rather not have to approach the subject at all? Oh, hell yes. Nobody enjoys having a conversation with their sweet, precious, innocent babies about anything sexual (BRB, shriveling up inside). We would all prefer to naively believe that our children are, and always will be, completely asexual beings who will never touch their own genitals, or anybody else’s, ever. But we all know that’s hardly the case. And sweeping something under the rug to avoid that conversation, telling them it’s shameful and wrong and forbidden in the hopes that it’ll never be brought up again, isn’t going to solve any problems; it’s going to create them.

Shaming our kids for a natural behavior doesn’t do them any favors. Sure, it spares us some cringe-worthy conversations, but who is it really better for: us or them? I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ll do anything to ensure my kids can thrive in every area, even if it means sacrificing something – in this case, my lack of awkward moments – for their benefit.

When we’re hungry, we want to eat. When we’re itchy, we want to scratch. See where I’m going with this? All these things are normal responses to normal physiological urges, and even children have them. We can do all these things within the bounds of social acceptability. We don’t squat on the spot and take a dump whenever we need to – we have been taught (I mean, let’s hope) that we wait until we’re in a bathroom behind a closed door. And there’s nothing different about masturbation. By teaching our kids that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and giving them guidance on where and when to do it, we’re removing the stigma and encouraging development of healthy sexuality.

Because if we don’t, we may not have to talk about it now, but they’ll have to deal with the consequences later.