I found my teenage son with his pants around his ankles again last night. Again. Though I hesitate to use the word “caught” here. Caught makes it sound like you are doing something bad. Let’s be very clear, folks: Masturbation, regardless of age, isn’t bad.
I mean, how much and how often you go at it with yourself is up to you. I think I went a decade without pleasuring myself while in the midst of bottles, babies, and potty training. I wondered who the hell had time for vibrators every time a friend would ask me to come to their pleasure party. But they grew up, and I grew out of my dry spell.
I believe masturbation helps us get comfortable with who we are as a sexual being. It’s a safe place for us to explore our bodies. We start that journey at a young age and when we are taught that it’s “bad” or “dirty,” and we are punished or shamed for loving ourselves in that way, those messages are hard-wired into our brains.
But as the mother of a few teenagers, I will tell you even my healthy and normal thoughts about masturbation may not get me through these years. The other day I almost broke my toe on my favorite dishtowel I found on the basement floor in front of the television.
It’s easier to not get irritated about your child’s masturbation habits when they’re running around as little humans with their hands innocently down their pants than it is when you have a child who looks like a man and who wishes they could major in spanking their monkey.
Many teenage boys aren’t the best at cleaning up after themselves and they can veer on the forgetful side. I believe this is partly because they are walking hard-ons and have one thing on their mind: cuffing their carrot. Also, did I tell you my water bill has tripled in the last few years? Tripled.
Listen, if you have a teenage boy they are going to polish their banister often and you are going to see the evidence. Not only will you spot random tissues on the floor of their room, the bathroom, and their car (no, I’m not kidding, but heavens to Betsy, I wish I were), you will notice a different look on their face when they bring down their sheets to be washed.
It’s a look of pain because having bedsheets stiff with semen held against your body while walking by your mother who’s acting like she doesn’t know what’s happening feels like one hundred porcupines and humiliation.
You may hear a certain type of panicked moving around as you are walking up the stairs and they’ve been in their room for a while. I’ve mastered the art of talking really loud and announcing my arrival as soon as I hit the first stair so no one is surprised of by my arrival. Sometimes I sing to block out their feet hitting the floor, their phone dropping, and roll of toilet paper hitting the ground. It’s good to mix it up.
They may ask you when you are going to leave the house, or go to bed for the night so they can have some alone time with themselves on the lovely sofa and pillows you spend hours picking out. Everyone needs to spice things up, and a change of scenery can be an easy way to do that.
Your favorite magazines may disappear and you’ll find them behind the toilet with certain pages looking very wrinkled and stiff.
Perhaps you’ll notice they are walking around with toothpaste or yogurt stains on their sweatshirts more often. Newsflash: these aren’t yogurt or toothpaste dribbles. But to save you both some awkwardness just say, “Oh honey, you should go change your shirt because you got toothpaste on it. Again.” And all will be okay with the world.
As a mom to teenage males who grew up with sisters, I had no experience when it came to boys, their penises, and how often they liked to turn on their own sprinklers.
I had to get really comfortable, really quickly, because the most important thing to me is they never feel ashamed about masturbating. However, they also need to know other people live in the house and they simply cannot leave evidence of tugging their slugs all over the damn house. So to spare us all, I’ve come up with a survival guide of sorts:
1. I’m open with them about how normal this is.
Sure, our conversations are a lot shorter now than they were when my boys were five and wanted their hands down their pants all the time. But they are still worth having — especially if you walk in on them, which I have done at least five times in the past month.
Our talks go something like this…
Me: “Sorry, honey. I know that was strange but it’s totally normal and natural.”
Me: “Just make sure you clean up after yourself. The other day I got scarped by the pillowcase I found on your bathroom floor.”
Clearly, it’s working. They know it’s healthy and normal because their mom walking in on them hasn’t slowed them in the least.
2. I remind him to lock their door. Like, a few times a day.
I feel this should go without saying, but as I mentioned earlier they are forgetful and in a hurry to get to take care of business. There are many times when locking the door doesn’t occur to them and you may come home with a load of groceries, have to pee super bad and assume the cracked bathroom door isn’t being occupied, and you will be wrong.
Reminders are always good and I’m thinking about having a few signs made up for them. It will be a gift for all of us.
3. Cleaning up after themselves is a must.
Just as you do not blow your nose in a sock and leave in on the floor for others to find, you do not grease your flagpole and leave the bodily fluid in your fabric of choice (especially my favorite dishtowel, dammit) on the ground to lie with the dust bunnies.
You charm your cobra, and you clean up. It’s the right thing to do. But let’s face it, when you don’t, it becomes a safety issue.
The more you have this talk, the easier it gets. Promise.
4. Easy on the water, Buddy.
A shower is a great place to indulge in a self-guided tour. You’re already naked and the everything washes down the drain so it’s clean. I certainly have been known to enjoy a powerful shower head quite often, so I get it.
However, we have to be aware that other people enjoy taking a warm shower, water costs money, and wasting it is bad for the environment. The shower wasn’t invented to support their love of playing 5-on-one several times a day, and this way of life isn’t sustainable.
If you’re a mother of teenagers with a penis, you are going to be faced with the fact they are going to participate in a shit-ton of single-player sex. It’s best to be prepared.
Not just mentally, either. You need to get stocked up on toilet paper, put locks on all doors, and always make sure you look before you take a step or reach behind a piece of furniture.
I hope this helps. Godspeed.
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