HealthyStrokes.com
... a site about masturbation and you!

Questions from parents

This page contains questions which have been asked by parents.


One of the most popular pages on this site, "A Young Man's Guide to Masturbation," can now be printed as a PDF brochure. (If printing 2-sided, use the setting "flip on short edge" under Options.) Simply click on the link and print and fold for the confused young person in your life.


This segment of a sex education film from the 1970s deals with a mother walking in on her son masturbating:


I am a mother of a 9 year old little girl. She has recently brought to my attention that when she watches movies with any type of kissing, hugging, etc. that she gets tingling feelings in her private parts. She also stated she didn't know why, but she felt the urge to touch herself when she has these feelings. I tried very hard to remain calm and explain to her that the tingling sensations are quite normal and everybody gets them sooner or later. Needless to say she was so thrilled with my understanding, that she told me she was so excited she could talk to me about this and I didn't get mad, that she was gonna tell me everything from now on.

I accidentally walked in on her in the bathtub the other night to find her stretched out in the tub, relaxing and the water jetting from the faucet was hitting her vulva. When she realized I had seen what she was doing she simply just grinned at me and stated, "This feels great, Mom! You should try it sometime!"

She now comes to me and ask me if she can watch certain videos (basically "chick flicks") "in private." She seems very comfortable with her newfound adventures, but I am just dying. This is my little girl and I do not know what to say or do about this situation. I have always tried to be very open with my kids about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc., and I am glad she feels comfortable to confide in me, but I just never imagined it would be something like masturbation and at such a young age. She is a middle child (daughter 11 and a son 5), and neither of my other children (as far as I know) have even thought about this. I think I am most afraid that experiencing these types of feelings at this age will make her want to have sex with a boy at a young age. To my knowledge I do not think she has reached the stage of orgasm, but at this rate I fear it won't be long.

This is not a problem in public or anything she talks about in front of the other children. She acts like it is this big secret "just between us girls." In my heart, I can not stand the thought of her doing this but I also don't want her to feel ashamed or like something is wrong with her either. I know it is a very normal thing. I even masturbated when I was a kid, but it was not something I told my mother about.

I think you're already doing a good job being open about it and not judgmental (to her, at least). I don't think her behavior is anything to worry about or even all that unusual. A sizeable number of both boys and girls engage in prepubescent masturbation. The difference in your daughter is that she's open about it. I don't know that early masturbation leads to early sexual experimentation. We definitely know that a lack of sex education leads to early sexual experimentation, so I suggest you explain to your daughter what masturbation is in the larger context of sexual behavior, and soon. And it might be time to give her more privacy in the bathroom.


My 12 year old son has become very interested in internet porn. However, as the type of pictures available on-line can be quite extreme, I'm going to cut him off from that source of visual material.

Now, I have absolutely no problem with his masturbating, so I think I'd like to guide him toward less extreme visual material. My question is: Should I? Should I buy him relatively innocuous magazines like Playboy - or even let him pick out what he likes (with guidance, of course)? I haven't broached the issue with him as yet (I'm sure it will be difficult for us both) but he seems to be a lot more intensely interested in porn than I was at his age, so my own experience may not be that helpful in judging what's right for him.

As I see them, the issues are these: on the one hand, I doubt that I can completely control his access to visual material so he will doubtless find something even if I forbid it, and in this situation I will have no control at all and won't know what he's looking at. On the other hand, I certainly do not want to appear to be implying to him that I approve of the objectification of women (sex as object, rather than part of love) by approving more placid pornography.

My sense is that he's certainly going to masturbate as much as he wants (and neither my wife or I want to make him feel guilty about it) but that he will, somehow, seek out the materials he wants - so it's better to guide him rather than refuse complete access to porn.

What do you think?

You're obviously a parent who cares a lot, although your question is a shocking one. I think you're right to cut him off from Internet porn. Are you sure he's actively using it to masturbate or merely curious? I think 12 is definitely too young to be an active consumer of girlie magazines. My attitude does not stem from prudishness; I think teenage boys are surrounded by enough beautiful girls every day that they should be able to get by on their imaginations until they're at least 20. By getting into erotic material too early, I wonder if they aren't stifling their own mental erotic capabilities.

If you want to guide him a little, why not buy some tame magazines as if they're your own and leave them where he's apt to find them? Boys have been digging into their dad's collection for eons. I recommend Playboy's special editions. These magazines are nothing but tasteful pictures from cover to cover and they don't contain the editorial content or advertising that you probably don't want a 12 year old to see.


I recently came upon my 11 year old daughter's diary and I found out she masturbates and it disturbed me a little. But when she came home and I spoke to her about it, she was ok with it. I told her it was normal and not to be embarrassed about it. This reaction was because I was able to get all of the answers I needed from your website, thanks so much. (age 30)

Glad to help. And shame on you for snooping!

I'm a teacher at a day-care center. I have a girl here who masturbates daily during nap times. She'll be lying on her tummy with her skirt lifted up and her hands between her legs and she'll part and then close her legs tightly together in a consistent rhythmic way. From my observation, this will cease only when I'm close enough to her or when the rhythmic scissoring of her legs ends with a few hard jams with her flexing her bottom and her body shuddering. She'll then flip back onto her back and lie around. She doesn't seem to sleep during nap times. I checked her privates yesterday when she got off bed to go to the toilet. It was red and her clitoris was swollen and protruding. This was how I came to the conclusion that she indeed has been masturbating. I asked her whether anyone had touched her there before and she said no. I feel that her fascination with her privates seems a bit too much for her age. She's only five. Other than nap times, I've observed her touching herself down there on various other occasions and during bathtimes too. She'll sometimes flick her clitoris with her index finger during baths. Should I bring this matter up to her parents? Or should I let her be? I'm worried and bizarred.

You shouldn't be bizarred. Nearly all of the girls who pass through your center will masturbate someday. The girl has two problems. She masturbates in public and she practices TMS. While early masturbation by itself should be no cause for concern, no one should masturbate in public. You should either advise the girl's parents or tell the girl personally that what she's doing should only be done in private. While TMS has not yet been proven to be as detrimental for females as it is for males, this girl's TMS appears to be sufficiently brutal that it should be discouraged. It is assuredly not your place to tell a 5 year old about TMS, but you would be helping the girl if you told her parents about this web site.

Follow-up: Thanks for the advice. She seems to be able to climax every time she masturbates and when I checked her privates that day, I noticed her panties were quite wet too. And her clitoris peeked out from under the hood and was round and swollen. I have an eight year old daughter too but her clitoris is flat and all I can see is a slender flab of skin. Are reaching orgasms and being wet during masturbation normal for a female child of her age? How do I know she had not been or is currently being sexually abused or molested at home or outside the center? Her flicking of her clitoris with her index finger while she's seated or standing with legs apart worries me. Could it have been that someone has done that to her and she's doing so now? She allows boys to touch her privates too when they see her doing so and proceed to touch her. I've punished the boys for the act. These boys are always up to mischief and I've observed a couple of them lying on their tummies and playing with their penises too. I'm not too alarmed by this as it's common sight to see young boys handling their privates. I'm more worried about the girl.

You should be concerned about protecting the other children from seeing her public masturbation. You have already asked the girl if someone's touched her. A red, swollen clitoris is a normal result of masturbation, especially TMS. Your daughter's is different because she doesn't masturbate, at least that way. I've heard many cases of young girls masturbating to orgasm and getting wet before puberty. I don't know how you can find out about molestation unless you bring it to the attention of the parents in some way.


I am the father of a young girl of 20 months. My wife and I have studied Christian teachings on marriage and family and of course we are interested in doing the right thing for our household. Growing up, we did not get a lot of useful info about sex from our parents and we want to do better for our child in this respect as well as in other respects. We want her to be able to ask us anything and for her not to be ashamed of her body but know the difference between private matters and those you share with others.

In thinking about future issues with my daughter, I had this thought. Wouldn't it be great if, at a proper age, my wife and I were to give as a gift to our daughter, her own vibrator. Here are the thoughts I had concerning this. 1) We would explain to her that this was only to be used in the privacy of her own room and not to be talked about with others outside our house. 2) It must be kept clean for health reasons. 3) We would explain to her that the dangers from masturbation stemmed mainly from an improper thought life. And to beware of any such thoughts which may come into her head and to talk to us if there was any question.

Now, when this idea came to me, I considered it then dismissed it as an improper thing for me to do. However, my wife and I got around to this topic and turns out she had had the same idea. OK, so I am not a pervert for having the thought then? Now, at what age would it be proper to do this? Does a young girl even have the maturity to handle the responsibility? Would it be possible to convey the idea that it should be kept a private matter? My thoughts on this are that there are people in the world who would think it improper for parents to give such a gift to there daughter and try and cause us problems. Also, that if my daughter's peers were to learn of her vibrator that they might use it as a reason to ridicule her out of their own immaturity or misunderstanding. I do not want my daughter to use improper and potentially dangerous items to masturbate or for her to feel shame over the subject of masturbation. I want her to understand the gift God has given her and that she can enjoy it before marriage without having premarital sex to try and achieve pleasure. What Are your thoughts?

I think you're thinking too far ahead. Your daughter isn't even two years old. It's likely she won't even know what masturbation is ten years from now. Girls about 13 frequently ask me how they can get vibrators. I tell them to get to know their bodies better with their hands. I don't think girls should use vibrators until they're 16, at the very least. I'm also concerned about your telling her to avoid an improper "thought life" and to tell you if she has such thoughts. Most people fantasize while they masturbate and feel guilty enough without parents making them feel guilty for their thoughts. I suspect you want to give her a vibrator not for her pleasure but as a tool to control her sexuality. You're already trying to control her sex life, and she can barely walk! I think you should answer her questions about masturbation but not raise the issue unless she brings it up. P.S. If you really want to give her one, call it a "massager." Then you can both pretend that you don't know what it's really for.

My 5-year old daughter humps things! She has done this every since she was 2 but it is getting worse. She does it all the time. I try to be gentle with her when I catch her but I am so scared that she is going to hurt herself. She uses all kinds of things like toys, pillows, stuffed animals, and blankets. It is getting so severe. My husband and I talked to her and told her that if she uses things that she might hurt herself and then we would have to take her to the doctor. She says she doesn't want to have to go there but she won't stop, please help me!!! (age 26)

I think it will get worse before it gets better. The good news is that the chances of her injuring herself from soft objects is quite small. It's hard to talk someone out of the only way they have of sexually stimulating themselves. It will probably be years before your daughter learns to masturbate the normal way. So you might focus your efforts until then at steering her from humping hard objects to soft ones. Threatening her with the doctor might reinforce more that masturbation is bad rather than masturbating with objects is bad.

My 5 year old daughter has been "touching herself" often at night before she goes to sleep, and also sometimes in the mornings. Is this normal? Should we tell her to stop until she gets older? (age 30)

It's normal. You should be happy for your daughter and not admonish her.

I'm a father of a 6 year old girl. I've noticed my daughter masturbating despite her young age during afternoon nap times while lying face down and on one side of her face on her bed. She'll place both hands under her body and between her legs. I can't see what she's doing with her hands but I've noticed that she opens and closes her legs slightly in a rhythmic way and her legs seem tensed, all straight and locked at the knees with toes pointing downwards. She also seems to be in a daze with her eyes constantly fixed in a direction. She'll stop and pull her hands out from under her body and pretend to sleep if I walk into the room and then resume again after I walk out.

My wife and I have peeked into her room to confirm our suspicion. These actions will carry on for about 10 minutes usually before the rhythmic scissoring of her legs gets wider and faster and there'll be rhythmic contractions in her buttocks like as if she's squeezing them, and then all of a sudden, she'll look forward and jam her legs tightly together and lift them slightly off the bed for a while, and you?l be able to observe her body relaxing and she?l fall asleep soon after this. My wife and I are worried. Is this an orgasm? And is this really masturbation like what we are thinking? If my daughter's really masturbating, how can she at her age masturbate to orgasm? Could she have been sexually assaulted and taught to do so by someone? And is her position lying on her stomach TMS?

The activity you describe is definitely TMS style masturbation to orgasm. Many young children can masturbate to orgasm. There's not necessarily a connection to sexual abuse. (An abuser would probably focus on his/her own gratification and not teach the victim to reach orgasm.) I don't know that you need to say anything to her. While I think TMS should be actively discouraged in males, the evidence that it does harm to females is not as convincing. She's also too young to understand. As long as she isn't masturbating in public -- in kindergarten nap time, for example -- I doubt she has a problem that needs addressing. You might shut her door when she's masturbating and if she later asks why, tell her.

I am an 18-year-old mother of a 5 year old. Recently I had an urge to masturbate when I thought my son was sleeping. As I was reaching orgasm, I looked up and found my son looking at me funny and smiling. He seemed to be enjoying the view. He asked me what I was doing and thinking he is too young to know, I told him I was just scratching in my private area. He doesn't believe me. Although I know it's not his business, I want to be honest with him and just tell him, but I don't feel right telling him. How can I tell him what I was doing without grossing him out or making him feel uncomfortable around me? Will he understand that it's normal? He asks me everyday when I'm about to go to sleep or just go to my room to change clothes, "Mommy, are you going to scratch and scream?"

If he's asked several times, I don't think he's going to forget. He probably knew you were lying from your body language, not from what you said. I'm sure he's a smart boy. If you found him masturbating in public, I'd advise you to tell him it's a private thing. You might do well to tell him that next time he asks about you too. I don't think you need to go into detail.

I have a 15 year old son that has been masturbating. He has come to me to ask some questions and I have answered them to the best of my ability. But he has asked me to tell him how he can touch himself to make it feel better. I'm not sure what to say. Do I tell him what I experienced at that age? (age 35)

You're lucky to have such an open relationship with your son. I don't think you need to go into so much detail. You might tell him to use as little force as necessary to produce orgasm.

I have a 14 year old son that masturbates with shampoo. Recently his penis has started to "peel." I read that this can be caused from the shampoo. Is this true? (age 33)

It is, but I wonder if your message is true. The questions I have are (1) How do you know your son masturbates with shampoo? (2) How do you know his penis is peeling?

I am a married female 31 years old. I have a very curious 11 year old son. He recently asked if I would let him feel my breasts. His request left me speechless. I talked the situation over with my husband, who stated I should not make an issue out of such a little request that stems from natural curiosity. My husband told me to let him feel my breasts and explain their function to him. I do not want to harm him emotionally. Would it be proper for me to let him feel my breasts and explain that they provided nourishment to him during his first six months after birth, or should I refrain from such requests? I do not want to create an atmosphere that would embarrass him from asking future questions about females and sexuality. I personally don't have a problem with permitting him to feel my breasts, but I want to ask your advice if it would do any harm to him by approving such a request. He has asked several times and I keep making excuses why the time is not appropiate at the moment. Would this hurt or help my child?

You should not let him feel your breasts or use you as an object of curiosity in other ways. You have a right to your privacy, and it is important that you set limits. The curiosity you think you can satisfy by explaining the function of breasts would be more typical for a 3 year old. An 11 year old is apt to be engaging in a lot of sex talk at school and perhaps having sexual feelings and masturbating too, so this is a different kind of curiosity. By all means, tell him about breasts but keep your body private. The first rule of sex education is to never talk about yourself. I think that extends to not using yourself as a human model.

I recently found out that my 13-year-old daughter is masturbating using pictures. Is this OK?

I think it's better if boys and girls don't use pictures at that age, but I think pointing that out to her might be worse. You would be more justified in speaking out if the pictures were of an extreme nature.

I'm writing about my 7 year old son. He lies on the floor in his room, or on the bed or couch and is obviously rubbing to get a stimulating feeling. I haven't tried to make him feel bad for it. I've only told him it's something he needs to do in private.

I don't want my son to have a future of problems. He's too young to be masturbating for orgasm, so is what he is doing normal or should I discourage it in fear of TMS?

You ask a tough question. I think a parent should tell a child that ordinary masturbation should be done in private, but you want to go further and discourage him from masturbating prone. The question is how to do this without stirring up a bunch of questions that he shouldn't be thinking about at his age. A 7 year old can have orgasms, but he won't be able to ejaculate for about five years. You don't say whether you're his mother or father, if you're comfortable, tell him most boys do that with their hands and that thrusting against the floor or bed can be dangerous. Otherwise, there's not much harm in waiting until he's 12 or 13. Then his father (or someone) can tell him the conventional way to masturbate and there will be plenty of time for him to correct his practice before he becomes sexually active.

My 14 year old son masturbates, and I'm fine with that. But he recently came up to me and told me he has two little mole-like things on the side of his penis and we were wondering, what are they? (age 42)

That's a question for a doctor.

I want to say thank you. I'm a single mother of an 11 year old son, and I have already started to talk to him about how his body is going to be changing. The time is coming soon on masturbation and sex questions I wasn't sure how to answer. Now I have a good resorce for both of us to try to find answers. Thank you again. (age 31)


I've caught my son, who is turning 13, masturbating several times, and I wonder what I should tell him. (age 46)

You might try harder not to catch him. Make an effort to respect his privacy, and make sure he knows when he's not alone. If you tell him anything, tell him it's normal and healthy and fun, and all men do it. You might print out my "Young Man's Guide" and give it to him.

I have a 6 year old daughter who masturbates. She does this in class. This was reported to family services, so when I found out, I took her to a doctor who found no signs of sexual abuse. The family services investigation found no sexual abuse. This was in October. They noticed her doing this in September. I left my daughter alone about this subject (figuring it would pass) but told her to do it at home and not at school. Now it is February and the teacher advises me this is still going on on a regular basis. I don't know what to do. I have spoken to my daughter and it seems she cannot control herself. She does this in the classroom, and other kids have seen her doing this. She knows but does it anyway. Her father has her every other weekend for visitation. He lives with his girlfriend and his girlfriend's daughter and tells me tells me she masturbates there too. I have only seen her masturbate at home a few times. It doesnt seem to happen much at home but at school it's out of control. She says it feels good, which I can understand, but she has to realize she can't do this in public and it bothers me that she has no self control. (age 31)

I don't know that there's anything you can do besides tell her to do that in private and not at school or in front of other people. If you have not already, you should tell the teacher to feel free to correct her (assuming the teacher will not do that on her own). She is probably doing it not for sexual pleasure but as a comfort measure, like some children suck their thumbs. I think if you are persistent, she will stop. You can also tell her it's something fun to do in private. By doing that, you can let her know the problem isn't her masturbation but her doing it in public.

My two and a half year old son often lies on top of a bunched-up blanket or stuffed toy and humps it, obviously enjoying the sensation. We have told him it's something that he can do only in his bed. After reading your TMS comments, do you think we should discourage this particular type of early masturbation? If so, how can we redirect it in a healthy way? (age 35)

That's a tough question. I don't see the harm in what he's doing, for the moment, but I also don't see the harm in stopping him from doing that altogether. It would be a good idea if he quit that when he's old enough to ejaculate. You might set a reminder to show him my Young Man's Guide to Masturbation ten years from now. Males who switch soon after learning to masturbate (during or after puberty) seem to have an easy time of it and no aftereffects.

I was trying to do research on my son's TMS and came across your site. I really don't know what to do about it. He is 7 1/2 now and has been lying on his belly, wiggling, and giving himself a stiffy since he was very small. I have talked to pediatricians, doctors, nurses, therapists -- anyone that might be able to help. He had surgery for idiopathic toe walking two years ago and I know it was because he points his feet when he is on his stomach. Everything else was ruled out medically that causes toe walking. He is starting to go back up on his toes again. My ex-husband is getting very upset over the whole situation and seems to think that there could be some hormonal imbalance or neurological problem that is causing the excessive masturbation. This whole thing is not my place and I am very uncomfortable, I have tried to tell him to do it with his hands. It didn't work. I have tried everything but telling him that is nasty. He will usually go off to his room now to do it, and I know he does it a lot. He would stay up there all day if he could. There is no history of sexual abuse. He is otherwise a healthy, well-adjusted A student, although he is a little on the thin side. Any information that you could offer would be greatly appreciated, even if its just what kind of person to talk to about the problem.

A lot of parents I tell to let this slide until puberty, but I suggest you deal with your son's TMS now because it is affecting other areas. If you are very uncomfortable, perhaps his father should deal with this situation. If your son were one of the males who asks me for advice, I would tell him to abstain from masturbating for at least five days before trying to masturbate with his hands. I'm not sure how you could explain that to a 7 year old. You might try to find a cognitive therapist, one who is trained in sexual matters. You can find a directory of sex therapists at http://www.sexologist.org/listings/finda.htm. Be sure to tell him about http://www.healthystrokes.com so he can be up to date on TMS before your appointment.

My son is nearing puberty, and having thought about certain embarrassing moments of my own childhood, I decided to check up on the Internet on mastubation, sex education, etc. Would it be a good idea to include masturbation when I tell him about sex, telling him I do it often too, and that it's perfectly normal? I always have thought that being open is very important in a family when one is experiencing puberty. (age 33)

You are a thoughtful parent! The information in my Young Man's Guide to Masturbation is most of what he needs to know to start with. I don't recommend you tell him about your own masturbating. The first rule of sex education is never talk about yourself. Just tell him what he needs to know and leave the personal anecdotes out of it. I think honesty is good in a family, but I don't think that kind of openness is either necessary or useful.

I'm a 21 year old woman and my girlfriend/partner and I are raising three children and have discussed bringing up sex with our boys. She's pretty much left the task to me. The boys are nine and ten. What's the best way to discuss this with them, seeing as I'm female. We have male friends who are very important to us, but I would like to be there for my boys. They know they can talk to me about anything.

I have the impression that your partner is the mother of the boys, so it's odd that you are taking the lead in this. It would be a good idea for you to read up about the male experience of sexuality before you discuss it with them. It will be easier for you to bring the subject up if you say you're not going to talk about yourself and they don't have to talk about themselves. Then it will be easier for you to make statements and for them to answer questions knowing it isn't a personal discussion.

I am a mother of twin girls (age 6) and one of them has learned that it feels good to touch herself. I am really having trouble talking to her about it. I was molested by my father when I was 8 and that is when I started masturbating and I remember being told that my fingers would fall off. I don't want to traumatize her in any way and make her think it is "dirty" (also what I was told). I could really use some suggestions as how to talk to her about it. (age 29)

The important thing is to tell her not to do it in public. You can let her know that it's OK to do it in private. I doubt that will traumatize her.

I recently by accident found my 16 year old son's stash of magazines (all of females), which disgusted me, although I realize it is normal for teens to be curious (and to masturbate). But I also found pictures printed from the Internet of naked men in different poses and having sex. Is this common, or does it mean more? I am planning on talking to him. (age 35)

Some (not most) straight males occasionally look at pictures of naked males. Your son is probably normal.

I caught my daughter masturbating last week. Since then, I have noticed her going into her room frequently. When she does this, I listen and can hear her masturbating. Last Saturday, she masturbated 6 times. During the week, she did it twice every day after school. Is this normal? (age 40)

You don't say how old she is, but if she's 13 or younger, it is probably something she'll outgrow. However, the frequency you describe is on the high side of normal. Since she knows you know, there would be no shock in your talking to her about it.

I stumbled upon your site while searching for info to educate my 13 year old son about wet dreams. I am a widow so my son doesn't have his father to talk to about these things. Several weeks ago he woke up after what he thought was "an accident" in his bed. Since he doesn't usually have "accidents" I thought maybe he might have had his first wet dream although at the time, I didn't even think about it. I would like to explain this to him but don't want to embarrass him. We have talked about sex before (I'm a nurse so he's used to me talking about the body). I don't plan to talk to him about masturbation. He can figure that one out for himself.

The easiest thing might be to print out my Young Man's Guide to Masturbation for him and the page about wet dreams on this site. He could probably use your help more about masturbation than about wet dreams.

My son has been masturbating since he was 2. He has a nightly routine of lying on his stomach and rocking his waist overtop a fist his left hand makes. But now he is five years old, and he has started doing it more often and for longer periods of time as well. Apart from me already worrying that he masturbates too much, I am now worried that he's doing it improperly, and neither one of these worries do I know how to address. I also know he knows how to masturbate properly because he gets erections when he takes baths, and he often tugs on them too. (age 30)

Most sources advise parents not to make an issue of the frequency at which a child masturbates. You would be justified in telling him not to do it in public, however. Perhaps you could just tell him it's better to do it on his back. Saying such a thing is not particularly judgmental, and you already know he can do it that way. He might get the message if you only say it once.

I stumbled on your site by accident and I'm very glad I did. There is so much about masturbation that I did not know. I am the mother of 3 teenagers and will be forwarding this site to my childrens' mail addresses. The dedication and caring you have shown in this site is amazing.. You have answered these questions as honestly as can be and with the lightest touch of sense of humour. The fact that you have advised the young adults that masturbation is an acceptable form of sexual satisfaction is to be applauded . You clearly inform them that sexual intercourse ought to be saved until later and that self-gratification should be enjoyed for the time being. This is wonderful. Where was this site when I was a teen? I am glad it is here now. Please keep it going. (age 38)


I came home the other day and heard my 16 year old daughter running around upstairs. When I went into my room, I found the homemade sex tape of my wife and me running in the VCR, and when I put it back in hiding, I found my wife's dildo, still wet and warm. How should I approach my daughter? (age 41)

The issue is not about her masturbating but about her failing to respect your privacy. I suggest you tell her you know what she was doing and that you expect her to respect your privacy in the future. You might offer to get her some of her own equipment. It might also be a good idea to erase the homemade sex tape or at least put a lock on the hiding place.

Follow-up: My wife handled the discussion with our daughter. First, we followed your advice and my wife purchased a toy for my daughter. Finally, during their discussion, my daughter said that when she masturbates, she fantasizes about me, and envisions me and her having sex. That is why she was watching our tape and using my wife's toy. She asked some graphic questions of my wife about me. My wife avoided those as best she could. Is it normal for daughters to masturbate about their fathers?

I don't think it is. Even if it were, it would not be normal for her to tell them to her mother in such detail and ask graphic follow-up questions. She ought to be developing attachments and sexual interest in males closer to her own age who are not her father. This might be a serious enough issue that talking with a psychotherapist or sex therapist is warranted.

I am a mother of a teenaged boy (he's 15) and I also have two younger children. My son tends to stay up way too late, and I will go up there to turn off lights and his TV. I have seen him in there asleep and undressed, but he always wears pajamas. I am worried that I will walk in there sometime and he will either be masturbating or asleep with evidence of masturbating still visible. What should I do? (age 34)

He was obviously doing something when he took his clothes off while leaving lights and the TV on. Half of males in that situation masturbate daily. If you regularly patrol after hours like that, you are inevitably going to see some masturbation and masturbation accessories. Why not protect his privacy by not complaining about the lights and TV being left on or at least knocking first?

My son is 11. When should I talk to him about masturbation? (age 36)

Most fathers don't at all. I would say sometime in the next year would be ideal.

My 12-year-old daughter recently told me she masturbates, but is very frustrated with not being able to reach orgasm. She also told me that she usually is sore and hurting afterwards. I gave her a few suggestions on better techniques. She said she did not really understand my instructions and asked me if I could show her. I hesitated but decided that her gain might be greater than my discomfort. Using Vaseline I started to rub her clitoris in different ways and paces while she was giving me feedback on how good it felt. After a while, we had found a technique, which seemed to work for her and after only a few more minutes, she had an orgasm. Her first ever. Then I laid my hand on hers and showed her the exact movements I had used. From what she has told me, she now almost always succeeds in reaching orgasm and is never sore or hurting. I told my husband about what happened and he was fine with it. Even if my help might be questionable, I don't feel bad about it since it really helped her. What do you think? Was I wrong in doing what I did? (age 38)

I would have drawn the line at telling her or showing her on a model. Showing her could prove to be a big mistake if she ever told anyone about it and someone reported it to the authorities. You seem to reveal your discomfort with what you did by writing to me about it.

I have a 6 year old daughter who "shakes"!!! That's what I call it. She kneels on her knees and sits back on her feet and shakes and wiggles. Her arms will be stiff and her neck will be stiff and she will be staring at the ceiling. I don't know if this is masturbation. I have heard her make noises and tonight she was in bed and I heard her bed hitting against the wall she was "shaking" so hard. I don't know what to do. She has done this before and started when she was about 4 and did it for quite a while then stopped and then started again 3 weeks ago. I thought she was out of this phase. She will sit in her room all day if I let her or if she is in the living room with me at a TV commercial she will run into her room and give it her all and then come back when the show is back on. I don't know what to do. Can a 6 year old have an orgasm? She has a 2 1/2 year old sister that I really don't want to start the same thing. Thank you in advance for your advice. (age 23)

I don't know that your daughter has a problem. She ought not spend all day doing that whether it is masturbation or not, and she should not masturbate in front of other people. Other than that, I think it's OK. It is quite possible for a 6 year old girl to have an orgasm. I doubt you have to worry about your other daughter doing the same thing, although I suppose she will try to imitate her sister if she keeps doing it in the open.

I have a 3 year old daughter, and for the past year or so she has been pleasing herself with her stuffed toy. I have taken it away and she still finds ways to do it with blankets or whatever is around. It's getting to the point where I can hear her moaning from a different room and she will come out all sweaty. I know she's masturbating but I dont know why. I asked my family doctor about it and he said she just realized it felt good. He said its a phase she will grow out of. It's been over a year and it seems to be getting worse. Is there anything you could tell be about this. This is tearing me apart, and I don't know what to do anymore. (age 26)

There's no reason to be upset by it. I think you just need to tell her not to do it in public. She might enjoy what she's doing for a while longer. She will probably give it up when she goes into the latency stage in a year or so.

I'm a single mother with a 13 year old daughter. My mother's attitude toward masturbation caused me a lot of needless agitation, so I always swore that when my own daughter started masturbating, I'd do my best never to make her feel guilty about it.

It's time to put my good intentions to the test. A couple of months ago, my daughter came home early and caught me masturbating. I was lying face down and having orgasms in quick succession, so she could've been watching for a while. That night we had a long talk about masturbation and sex in general, one of the best conversations we've ever shared. She told me how she'd recently begun "playing with herself," and how relieved she was that I was OK with it.

Since then we've talked quite openly about the subject, and I've tried to answer her questions honestly. However, I'm starting to feel uncomfortable about just how open she's become. She's busily trying out different techniques (she says maybe half of her attempts lead to orgasm), so she'll often talk to me about her latest "experiment." I don't mind listening, but lately I've had to deflect some intimate questions about my own sexual habits that I found inappropriate.

I'm also concerned by her lack of discretion when she masturbates. We live in a small apartment, so it's not suprising I can hear her at night, but she doesn't make the slightest attempt to muffle her moans. I know orgasms are still hard work for her, and I don't want to add to her difficulties by making her feel self-conscious, but I've begun to wonder if she actually wants me to know what she's up to. Things finally went too far last night when she sleepily wandered out from her room, clad in only a T-shirt, asking if I had any KY Jelly because "mine's run out and I'm getting sore from the rubbing."

I don't know if she's just testing my limits, or whether catching me in the act has tickled some exhibitionist streak in her, but clearly I need to set harder boundaries. My problem is how to do that while still affirming that masturbation is a positive thing, and while reassuring her she can talk to me about anything. Any suggestions? (age 34)

I think your story relates to one on my page for parents from a mother who opened up communication with her 9-year-old daughter and found the girl was sharing too much. Your daughter probably just relishes the topic as something you can share together. You have already made clear to her that it's something that's normal and healthy and fun and that you approve of it -- and practice it yourself. You can tell her that, like some other bodily functions, it is better not to share every detail. It is no problem telling her that masturbation should be practiced in private, and that means not only other people respecting one's right to masturbate in private, but also includes the person masturbating not disturbing others who don't want to hear it or see it.

I was cleaning my 14 year old daughter's room, and found anime DVDs! Is it normal for a girl her age to watch anime porn? It would be different if she were a boy, then I could understand. The DVDs were very explicit, and I suspect my daughter is masturbating with them. Is that a possibility as well?

Yes, a lot of girls her age like to look at pictures while they masturbate. I don't think anime is as bad as live porn, because it is just cartoons.

My 9 1/2 year old son has been telling me that he HAS to masturbate to get to sleep. He said he either gets a tickling sensation or a pinching sensation before he masturbates, and it only stops when he does it. Then about 10 minutes after stopping he has to do it again. He does this repeatedly until he falls asleep. Then he says he has to do it throughout the night. I'm at a loss! Do I need to take him to the doctor? He doesn't do sleepovers because he's also a bed wetter. But even if he did he'd be laughed at for not being able to control himself! By the way, he is masterbating prone. Isn't this too young to discuss the proper way to masturbate? (age 37)

I usually advise against initiating a discussion of masturbation and its techniques with someone your son's age, but the subject already seems to be on the table, so it is OK to advise him against prone masturbation. There are several problems to be dealt with, and I suspect some will require professional help. Nightly masturbation as a soporific (sleep inducer) is not common in prepubescent boys. Older males who do it are asleep within seconds of their orgasms. So your son is doing something else. This leads me to believe he has some kind of obsessive disorder with the masturbation. The bed-wetting also ought to be brought under control. I'm no psychologist, but I have to believe the two are related somehow. Perhaps get a referral to a competent child psychologist near you.

I recently saw my 1 year old daughter touching her private parts. I personally think it's great. What's your opinion? Is it normal for an infant? (age 18)

I think it's fine. It could be she's just playing with herself and not masturbating. (There's a difference. See the glossary.)

My 6 year old daughter said that my 12 year old son got into bed with her and started rubbing her and getting her to touch his penis. She said that when she told him to stop he did. He said that he was just curious but I am worried that there is something wrong with him. Is this normal or does he need help? (age 33)

Sexual curiousity between two siblings about the same age is pretty common, but I am concerned about the interest in a 6-year-old girl. You should keep a very close eye on this situation, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to mention it to a doctor.

I caught my ten year old daughter using my vibrator. She was lying on her bed and had it fully inserted. It is a 6'' vibrator. She asked me if I would buy her one. She said she wanted a bigger one. (She was taking mine with ease.) She said she had been using mine for about six months. Do you think it would be OK for me to buy her one and would it hurt her to get her a 9" one? How old does a girl have to be to get naturally lubricated? (age 31)

I discourage younger females from using vibrators. I think it is better that your daughter learn to use her hands. I can see how you are in a tough spot, but I don't think it is cruel to take her instrument of orgasm away from her when the goal is to make her better at masturbating without one. If you insist on getting her one, you should get her one comparable to yours. I don't see a reason for her to have a nine incher. In any case, she shouldn't be sharing yours.

I was shocked recently when I walked in on my 9 year old daughter changing clothes to see how developed she was. Is it normal for girls to get like that at her age? (age 34)

Puberty is happening earlier than ever. Lots of 9 and 10 year old girls are wearing bras and going through other changes. Your daughter might be a little bit ahead of the pack but not so unusual.

My 7 year old daughter keeps rubbing herself on chairs at school because she says she gets a nice feeling. Two of her teachers have noticed this and told me about it. I feel very cross with her and embarrassed and end up shouting at her. I don't know how to handle this and whether punishing her is the right thing. (age 34)

I think you just need to tell her not to do it at school. You can tell the teachers to remind her that you have told her not to do that if they see her doing it. I don't think punishing her is the correct approach. Also, I advise against masturbating that way for anyone.

I am a second grade teacher who has a 7 year old girl who masturbates up to 25 times a day at her desk with the other children present. I have consulted with her parents, school counselor, our principal, and the reading teacher, who is in the classroom on a daily basis and sees her masturbating. What are your suggestions to help her stop masturbating? (age 58)

Has anyone told her to stop?

I have a 9-year-old son who I caught masturbating. Is that too young? I only started when I was 14. What should I do? I didn't know he could get an erection at that age. Does that mean he is going through puberty early? Should I talk to him? (age 31)

Talking is always good. It doesn't necessarily mean he has erections. Males can masturbate without them. There would be other obvious signs if he has reached puberty.

I recently found out about my 16 year old daughter's disturbing masturbation habits. About a year ago, I bought her a computer without thinking about the dangers that a teenage girl may be subjected to online. Some weeks ago I found movies containing masturbating boys, and I didn?t know if she found the movies on some Internet site and downloaded them or if they were sent to her by the boys themselves. I didn?t know what to do or what to say to her about it. I guess it's normal to be curious about it, so I didn't talk to her about it. But a few days later I found a video of her masturbating in front of the webcam doing some pretty advanced techniques with a vibrator. I was shocked! I hope she never sent the video to anyone. Could it be she is just curious about her body and that she taped herself just to see what it looks like for her own curiosity? I suspect she is engaging in some sort of cybersex wich worries me because of the dangers of pedophiles. How to I talk to her about this? (age 35)

You could warn her of the dangers of making videos of herself and sharing videos with others online without telling her you know about her secret files, but it would probably be better if you would confront her about it. Those files would be considered child pornography on someone else's computer. Be sure you also find out before she meets anyone from the Internet offline.

I've noticed that my 9-month old daughter seemingly plays with her vulva when I change her diaper. She gets angry and starts crying when I move her hands. She is clearly playing around down there, sometimes with both hands, other times just one. Do babies have sexual feelings? Is my daughter masturbating already, or is she absentmindedly playing? I'm scared. (age 23)

Don't be scared. Masturbation has been observed in babies. But she could also have a urinary tract infection or irritation. Of course, nearly all children touch their genitals in ways that aren't necessarily sexual. You might experiment by leaving her diaper off and her hands alone for a period of time and see if she pays concerted attention to her vulva or moves on to other parts.

Follow-up: I took your advice and started to pay attention to her during diaper changing. She is now a year old, and sometimes she pulls at her vulva, and other times she acts as if she isn't even aware she has one. However, a few days ago, I noticed her clearly humping. She was lying face down and thrusting up on her tiny little hands, and moving back and forth in a humping motion. Quite rapidly also. I'm both alarmed and devastated by this. She's my baby and I feel as if her innocence is gone. Is there any therapy she could have or counselors that would see her at this age? If not, what do you suggest I do? I'm totally heartbroken. Also, I masturbated a lot when I was pregnant with her. Could that have any bearing on her behavior now?

There is nothing wrong with what she's doing. Of course, I constantly urge both males and females to avoid prone masturbation, and if she's still doing it prone in a few years, then I think it would be worth telling her not to do it that way. However, her masturbating by itself is nothing to be upset about. There was a time child care books urged restraining children from masturbating at that age, but that time has passed. (Some books would tell parents to put the child to sleep with its hands outside its covers to prevent masturbation, and then a few pages later tell the parents to put its hands inside the covers to prevent thumb-sucking.) Of course, whether or how often you masturbated while you were pregnant makes absolutely no difference in her behavior.

My daughter found my dildo and vibrator I talked to her about it and everything seemed OK. But then she kept asking questions and I'm afraid she's too interested in what I have and when I use it. I'm asking is this normal? Should I be worried? (age 45)

You ought not talk about your own sexual experience with her. You should tell her that is private. The purpose of the conversation was to establish boundaries. By asking about you, she is violating them again.

My six year old son has been masturbating in the TMS postion since birth practically. Should we (preferably dad) have a talk with him and try to "switch" him to a different more healthy style now? How much damage might he have suffered? (age 45)

His father should tell him most boys do that with their hands and that thrusting against the floor or bed can be dangerous. If you don't want to open a whole can of worms about sex, there's not much harm in waiting until he's 12 or 13 to tell him that. Boys that age can easily be cured of TMS within a few weeks. Then his father (or someone) can tell him the conventional way to masturbate and there will be plenty of time for him to correct his practice before he becomes sexually active.

I have a 14 year old son and would like for him to have access to this site. What would be the best way of letting him know about your site? (age 50)

The best way would be to tell him. If you don't want to be so direct (which I'm guessing because you asked me when you knew you could have told him), you might set HealthyStrokes.com as a bookmark by typing control-D or even as your home page. (You can change it back after he's seen it.)

Approximately how long after the onset of puberty will a male experience his first ejaculation? I was considering buying my 13 year old son a packet of condoms. (age 44)

The first ejaculation can happen anytime after you've noticed he's changing, and it probably happened before you noticed. I advise against buying the condoms unless you know he's interested in them. You might inhibit future communication by presuming he's going to be sexually active at such a young age. You would do better by talking to him instead.

I found your site while trying to get some info about my 5 1/2 year old son, who masturbates every night. I was quickly reassured that this is nothing to worry about. But then I happened to notice your section on TMS. I had never heard of this before, but this is exactly how my son masturbates. He rubs his penis against the mattress. My mother (a very liberal child of the 60s) suggested that we teach him a better way, in order that the sound not bother his twin brother, who sleeps in the bunk below and complains that the rubbing noise keeps him awake. I thought my mother's suggestion was absurd. I couldn't see myself giving my kindergarten-age son masturbation tips. But now that I've read about TMS, I am thinking she might be right. Any ideas about how to broach the subject with a very small boy? I'd love to nip this in the bud. Thanks for your informative and nonjudgmental site!

You ask a tough question. I also don't agree with giving him masturbatory instruction at his age, but I believe that masturbating prone against a mattress daily would be bad for him. I don't think it would be wrong for you to try to get him to quit masturbating altogether, especially since it is bothering his brother. I'm not sure that telling him to do it more quietly would do any good for him, since he wouldn't make the connection about prone masturbation in that case and would continue to do it prone, only more quietly. A third option would be to do nothing and then make a point to tell him the proper way to masturbate when he's older, perhaps about 10.

I am the mom of a boy who turns 9 in two weeks. How much semen is emitted? How can I tell the difference between urine and semen? Is this too young of an age to start? (age 36)

I've never heard of a boy ejaculating that young. He probably won't ejaculate until 12 or 13. The average ejaculation in adults is about a teaspoon. You ought to know what urine looks and smells like by now.

My 2 and half year old son is pulling his foreskin back and forth; is this normal? Can a boy this young retract his foreskin already? (age 24)

Yes, he can, and I think it's normal.

I have twin boys age 14. They are not very popular with girls and don't have many friends and have poor self-image as they are both extremely overweight. I recently discovered them sexually stimulating each other. I was dumbfounded and can't even begin to know how to approach them. I know this is extremely wrong. I know boys experiment with each other but is this normal for brothers?

I advise young people against stimulating each other although I have less to say about stimulating onesself in the presence of someone else. I think it is especially bad for brothers because of the incest inherent in it. You should not blame this behavior on their social ineptness, because males who didn't have their problems would also likely not be sexually active at their age. It would be good for you to tell them how you feel about it. It would be a good idea for them to work on their social skills and body image problems while they're young.

I am a happily married man with a 10 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Several months ago I got up in the middle of a sleepless night for a drink and noticed the light of the TV in my daughter's bedroom. I thought she'd fallen asleep with it on. Her door wasn't properly closed so I pushed it open and saw her tensed and balancing on the rail at the end of the bed on her hands pumping her groin against the bed end and obviously masturbating in a way I'd never seen before. I was so taken aback or fascinated that I watched until she finished and then closed the door as quietly as I could. I'm sure she doesn't know I watched her. I have no strong feelings about masturbation but I'm worried that she does TMS. I would ask my wife to talk to her but then she would know I'd seen her masturbating and I also feel guilty about my own behavior. (age 41)

I don't approve of you watching your daughter until she finished since it only took a few seconds for you to realize what she was doing. You or your wife could certainly tell her about sex and masturbation without revealing what you'd seen. (But how much privacy should she expect if her door wasn't even closed?) It might be only a matter of printing out my Young Woman's Guide to Masturbation and giving it to her. The more idiosyncratic a method of masturbating it is, the more potential for harm it has for the practitioner, so I strongly suggest someone communicate that information to your daughter soon.

I have three children: two girls and a boy. The girls are 5 and 2, and my son is 4 next month. I have recently noticed him touching himself, and if his clothes are off, I notice that he seems partially erect. He has also recently begun to urinate on his bedroom floor. I am a survivor of childhood molestation and am very concerned. I think, "What has he seen or what has happened to him?" Is this normal or am I just blowing it out of proportion? (age 25)

It wouldn't be my first thought that he has been abused. You will probably want to correct some of his behavior and you can use those moments to ask if he learned any of those things from other people. It is not unusual for a child his age to have erections.

I am a single mom of a 21 year old Downs Syndrome son. My son always talks about women, and I have always felt bad for him because he may never experience a woman's touch. So, last month I took him to a strip club, and I thought it would be good for him. He had a great time, and so did I. Anyway, in the car ride home he began to rub himself through his jeans, saying that it hurt. I told him that it was natural to be aroused by women, and that he could masturbate to relieve himself. He ended up masturbating in the car, in front of me. I was like a deer in the headlights staring at him, and I did not know what to say. I was shocked. I know we crossed a line, but how do I approach this with him, to rectify the situation? Was this wrong? (age 47)

I keep thinking of the plot line on the 1990s TV series "L.A. Law" where the retarded man found a retarded girlfriend. I know that probably isn't an option for very many. I don't think it was wrong of you to take him to the show (although I am opposed to strip clubs in general), but you should have told him to wait until he got home to masturbate. It couldn't have hurt in a truly painful way. Is there anyone else who could take him there next time?

Are you kidding me when I read that some parents show their kids how to use a vibrator? Like actually get naked and put it in there? This is wrong on so many levels. I'm all for kids discovering themselves but that is just wrong. (age 31)

I don't think they're showing their daughters on their own bodies. I think they're showing the ways of touching (e.g., how to use the vibrator as a tool). You can do almost as well using your hand as a model of the female genitalia. But then, some parents do a more hands-on course to help their daughters. Read on.

I have been reading your site, looking for information to use with my daughter who is cognitively impaired and has had issues masturbating. She is 23. She ends up rubbing herself raw. I purchased her a vibrator. I tried to explain to her how to use it, to no avail. So I actually had to show her how to use it. First on me, then ultimately on her. My daughter actually orgasmed while I had the vibrator on her clitoris and my fingers in her vagina. She has been asking me to do this more often, because she does not understand how to do it. On some levels I feel it is wrong, but on the other it is my daughter, and she needs help. What do you suggest? (age 43)

It would be better if you could teach her the two parts in sequence. First work on the clitoris. She should be able to figure that out pretty easily, after having an orgasm that way. Perhaps she will figure out how to insert her fingers on her own. If not, I suggest showing her with her fingers, not yours. Good luck.

Follow-up: I have taken your advice and started with only the clitoris. Showing my daughter where its on a woman (me) then on herself. I tried to show her what usually feels good on me, then I had her practice with her own hand. This didn't work. So we went back and forth with both our hands, rubbing my clitoris then rubbing hers. Again she orgasmed, but I think she is missing it. Should we just keep trying? I haven't been able to find a doctor who is willing to address the issue, so that is why I am where I am. I have asked my husband his opinion. Should my husband get involved too?

I think this is complicated enough without your husband. I again advise against you touching her or showing her your body at all. Perhaps you could find a competent sex therapist near you who has dealt with these issues. This web site can help: http://www.aasect.org/directory_usa.asp You might also ask the place she would go to for other kinds of therapy and see if they know of anyone who would do this kind of sex therapy specifically. It is fraught with other issues when you do it yourself.

My wife caught my 13 year old son looking at porn on the Internet and she wants me to have a talk with him to try to get him to stop, but both she and I looked at a lot of porn at his age and still do. I feel like a hypocrite trying to tell him to stop. What do you think? (age 33)

Twenty years ago, the porn that was readily accessible to you would have been very tame compared to what anyone can find on the Internet within minutes. The porn that is out there is not the ordinary girlie magazines that were available when you and I were that age. It is a lot more extreme. You ought to discourage him from that material and help him find something that you and your wife would regard as appropriate for his age.

Follow-up: How should I come up to my son and explain why porn on the Internet is bad but I'll give him at the same time some girlie mags? It seems like mixed messages.

It's like telling him that street drugs are wrong but drugs from the pharmacy are OK. You said you felt like a hypocrite telling him not to use any pictures, so the alternative is to direct him to some tame material.

While browsing on the Internet in hopes of finding informative and educational material about masturbation for my curious 12 year old son, I happened to stumble upon HealthyStrokes.com. All in all, I am impressed with the approachable atmosphere and the wonderful supply of information for children and parents who seek answers to their often difficult questions. However, while reading the section devoted to parents, I repeatedly kept seeing parents ask questions about their 2-7 year old son/daughter masturbating. This is not masturbation. A young child often stimulates his or her own genitals through touching, or rubbing simply because the sensation itself feels pleasurable, and to the child, is a form of comfort. The child experiences similar pleasure when the parent wipes the baby's genitals when changing his/her diaper. Masturbation is clinically defined as the stimulation of own's genitals for sexual pleasure and excitement. A child that has not gone through puberty does not acquire sexual feelings or desires. It is simply a matter of the pituitary gland releasing hormones that trigger sexual desire in a child. This does not happen at age 4! I am a pediatrician and am frequently asked about this by worried parents who believe that their young child is developing inappropriate sexual habits at an early age. (age 34)

Yes, I am aware of the distinction. The glossary on this site specifically says that masturbation is done for the purpose of increasing sexual arousal. However, to a lot of parents and caregivers, the distinction isn't there. And whether the purpose is specifically an orgasm or merely some nice feelings, the action can make parents and kindergarten teachers uncomfortable. I hope your son will be able to benefit from HealthyStrokes.com.

I am a 34 year old mother. My son who is 8 years old one day complained of some kind of rash in between the thighs, so I went to investigate down there. While having a look at it, I could sense an erection in his penis which I was touching through his underwear. He said it was feeling good. I immediately took my hands off. I felt very guilty about the fact that he was sexually aroused by me. He has asked for similar favors since then so that he can get a similar hard on. Please help me to make him lose interest in me. (age 34)

He is probably not as interested in you specifically as he is in being touched like that. You should not be touching his penis. Simply refuse his sexual requests. He will no doubt learn to satisfy himself rather soon.

I need help for a father falsely accused and wrongfully convicted for caring for his daughter. My husband was father of a teen girl (my stepdaughter) who has mental issues (severe ODD but possibly more) and was charged with a sex crime for helping her with her sex education. She asked what a clitoris is and he pointed and touched it. He found out that she was masturbating and decided to give her a sex education talk, to clarify what she was doing because she has a history of being injured and not saying anything, and to inform her that she is not to use adult DVDs. He was facing 5 counts of aggravated sexual battery and 4 counts of indecent liberties with a child. Some of the charges were related to the child's lies because she was upset at him for asking that she be removed from our home due to her dangerous and violent behavior after her false allegations of physical abuse. Three were dismissed and the others, except for one, he was found not guilty of.

The judge gave improper jury instructions for indecent liberties with a a child. One of the jurors is willing to provide a statement that the jury didn't have a correct understanding of the charge. My stepdaughter's testimony was coached by people from child protective services and social services.

My husband has been treated unfairly through this whole process. Our funds are exhausted, and I am trying to save our home, one of my own children is going through therapy, and my husband is now a registered sex offender. My husband did not go through with an appeal because we have no more money to hire a lawyer and have no trust for a public defender who may be influenced by the prosecutor or too overworked to do a good job, and if he is given a new trial and still found guilty, he may get more time, and he is so hurt by his child that he doesn't want to face her again. The time for appeal has expired. I am preparing a package to send out to all who may be able to get him removed from the registry. It will include statements from medical professionals and experts in the field. If you can give me a statement or even just point me to some experts or their books which support my husband, please let me know as soon as possible.

If I were called as an expert witness, I would support the prosecution. No father should touch the clitoris of any girl who is toilet trained. Your husband is a sex offender, and he belongs on the registry. He made a calculated risk to forego his appeal. Being on the registry is one of the points of that calculation. Your stepdaughter also suffers from having a stepmother to whom she matters little. Your husband got sent to prison for a reason. Why don't you think about that before you blithely try to involve innocent parties in your crusade.

I have a 12 year old son, who recently broke both of his arms jumping his dirt bike. He is in casts on both arms. So I have had to help him bathe. His dad refuses to help with this. I ususally stand behind him in the shower and clean so I cannot see anything. When cleaning his penis (I try to do this quickly), he has been getting erections. The other day, while I was cleaning, he ejaculated. Scared, he asked me what happened. I did not know what to say. How should I have this conversation with him? (age 38)

This is a very bad situation to be in. There was no need to touch his penis. The flow of the water is enough to get the penis clean. You might tell him that ejaculation is normal at his age and point him to this site if he has more questions.

I caught the eldest boy of the family I babysit (he is 12) masturbating in his bedroom one night at about 11:00. I didn't tell his parents as my boyfriend said it was perfectly normal. However, a few weeks later, it happened again, and this time I called his father's cell phone to ask him to tell the boy not to masturbate with his door open while I was there. Was this the right way to handle the situation? (age 17)

I don't think so. You could have asked the boy to close his door before involving his parents.

Thank you for this site. I've always been open and honest about sexuality with my children, but it's always good to have another source to refer my children to. I feel safe in referring them to HealthyStrokes.com, because your advice seems to be well thought out and sensible. My eldest turns 15 this year, and she gets embarrassed speaking openly about sex with me. However, giving her an option where she can learn about everything without having to openly discuss it may be a better solution, as I don't want to force her to discuss things she's not comfortable talking about with me. This is a valuable resource. (age 33)

Thank you for your confidence in me!

I have recently had a baby and am nursing. We are very holistic and natural in our home. So I nurse openly. My eldest of three sons (who is 12) has witnessed this with his younger brother. When he was younger and his brother was nursing, he asked if he could nurse too. I let him. It didn't seem to be an issue. Recently he asked if he could try nursing again. I let him. He seemed to enjoy it. So it was becoming a regular routine again. One time while nursing he got an erection. I don't let him nurse anymore. Now when I go through his computer, he is researching lactation porn. How do I approach this with him? (age 41)

It is too late. No child who is old enough to ask to be nursed should be nursed. You will either have to tolerate his fetish or get professional help.

My 13 year old son has a water bottle with the top cut off and a sock stuck in it. It was sitting in his closet in plain view. I asked my 11 year old son what it was and he told me that my 13 year old is masturbating with it and bragging about it. I'm afraid he going to cut himself. What should I do? Tell him to use his hands or act as if I never found it? (age 40)

He is not being particularly secretive about it since it is in plain view and he is bragging about it and your younger son knows what it is for. He should not be at all surprised that you found out about it. I think it is better if you tell him to use his hands. Artificial vaginas are dangerous; using them is a form of TMS, and this homemade one is especially dangerous. You might also get him to be more discreet around his younger brother.

I'm a 36 year old single mom with a 12 year old son. I am not sexually active (as I don't have a boyfriend), nor have I been for the last several years. Occasionally, I masturbate. One night after a particularly rough day at work, I wanted to relax. After taking a long shower, I dried off and sat in an easy chair in my bedroom. It was fairly late (11 PM) at night, and I just sat there naked feeling quite aroused. So, I began to manually stimulate my clitoris with my right hand, while gently rubbing my breasts and nipples with my left. After roughly five minutes, I felt an incredible urge to urinate, but I held back and kept going, as I was really getting into it. With my eyes closed, I climaxed. It felt so good, especially since it had probably been a month or more since I last took care of myself. I went at it again.

To my utmost horror, toward the end of my second climax, I heard a stirring noise. When I opened my eyes, I saw my son staring at me wide-eyed with a "deer in the headlights" look. Obviously, I was completely exposed, as my towel had draped on the chair around me but was not covering me. While I was reacting to the sheer horror and embarressment, I was very nearly on the verge of a third orgasm when I quickly tried regaining control of my breathing and composure. Practically out of breath, I told him that I need some privacy and to please knock first before opening the door next time (as I apparently forgot to lock the door). I was way too shocked to be anything but embarrassed, and he saw that. With that, he snickered, turned around and left.

Later, after I regained my wits about me, I asked him how long he had been standing there. He told me about two minutes or so. I didn't even hear him. I guess I was so engaged that I lost total track of my surroundings. I am so embarrassed. He saw EVERYTHING, and I DO mean everything (my breasts, erect nipples, pubic hair, vulva, etc), not to mention, he heard me climax. In fact, I can't even remember if my ex-husband ever saw me in a position like that. Later, we talked about privacy, masturbation, etc. He seemed surprised that women -- and especially moms -- masturbate. I told him it was normal for everyone, but I feel like such a freak. Is he scarred for life? Should I tell my ex-husband about it? Needless to say, he knocks from now on, but I haven't masturbated since the incident (which was about 4 months ago). After some Internet searching, I recently found your site. Do you have any thoughts to share? Thanks for this site.

You are putting too much of the blame on yourself. He should have realized he was intruding and gotten out right away instead of lingering to watch for two minutes. That was a choice he made. I doubt that he is scarred for life, but I expect it will be something he will remember. I would discuss it with his father. I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to get the boy some revealing DVDs so that the image of his mother isn't his most prominent fantasy.

My husband recently caught our 14 year old daughter masturbating and only told me about it after she'd been sulking for a few days as he said he didn't want to embarrass her further. I tried talking to her but she refused to discuss it, got angry and ran off in tears saying that I didn't understand and I've "spoiled it." I was really taken aback as it's about the last thing I would have expected. Is this a typical reaction from a teenager who has been caught masturbating? And even if I tell her it's OK to masturbate will she still feel she can't enjoy it any more? (age 36)

If you look around my page about being caught masturbating, you will appreciate that your daughter's reaction is not typical. You might get a more complete description of the exchange between your daughter and your husband from him so you can get a better idea of what brought the reaction of your daughter on. I doubt that your saying one thing or another will make any long-term difference in her enjoyment of masturbating. Keep in mind it is your job as the mother to tell her things and her job to listen, so if you think she needs to hear something you have to say, then you should make it happen even if it's embarrassing for one or both of you.

I am a mother of a 7 year old boy. He has been masturbating regularly and the problem is he has been doing it in school as well. I have caught him a few times at home but his teachers have been complaining for the past 6 months that he does it every day in class. I have spoken to him a number of times and he admits to doing it at school and promises not to do it again but breaks his promise every time. It is a co-educational school and his female classmates giggle and laugh at him since they have seen him and his penis a number of times. He realizes he is being watched but still continues doing it. Should I take him to a psychiatrist? Please let me know as I am very worried. (age 33)

I think professional help is advisable in your situation. This is not a one-time event, and he is old enough that he should know better than to do something after he's been told not to. Worse, he is affecting his situation at school since all his teachers and the other children know what is going on. I suspect he is already having orgasms. A child who is pre-orgasmic is unlikely to masturbate daily or even very often.

I am a single father of a 16 year old daughter. Recently I caught my daughter masturbating. I didn't know anyone was in her bedroom and I walked in on her fully nude near climax. She wasn't mortified, but I was. I ended up having a talk with her about sexuality, masturbation, and relationships. I found out that she had oral sex with her ex-boyfriend, so I told her that if she remained a virgin until graduation, I would buy her a vibrator. Do you think that was an approprate thing to say? (age 37)

No, I don't. If she has already experimented sexually, she isn't going to be persuaded to hold off another two years with the promise of a sex toy. It would have been better to focus on the consequences of premature sexual behavior and how it can interfere with her pursuit of her dreams.

Follow-up: I took your advice and talked with her again and I can honestly say it was more embarrassing than when I was 13 and my mom walked in on me. I told my daughter that sex is beautiful and so fun that you dont want to do anything else in the moment. I explained to her how I love her but I wish her mother and I had waited for a long time. I also tried to explain STDs and anything else a young girl might need to know. I left her with a deal that if she has a boy she has strong feelings about and wants to show him physically, she should stick to just manual lovemaking. In return, I will trust her with a lock on her door.

Good deal.

My 16 year old son has sleep issues and takes Ambien. The other night he came into my room naked, asking if me if I enjoyed seeing his erect penis and if I wanted him to "slide it in me." I was shocked and told him to leave at once. The next day he didn't remember anything. Is this normal? Does he have hidden sexual issues? Should I talk with his doctor? (age 47)

People tend to get uninhibited on Ambien, as if they were drunk. Just ignore stuff like that. He probably didn't really want to have sex with you but just enjoyed acting out. He could probably use a girlfriend. And he could probably get by with half the amount of Ambien he's now taking.

My 19 year old son who has significant developmental delays began asking me about sex and women. (He has been asking for a long time now.) So one evening he and I went online and I began to explore pornographic web sites, in an attempt to explain sex and women. He asked about how sex feels, the breasts etc. He was becoming aroused. I told him it was normal and that masturbation was OK to do. He asked if he could masturbate while we surfed the net. I let him masturbate in front of me. How will this possibly affect him? (age 45)

I would have told him that masturbation is a private thing and that it is not OK to do it in front of other people. I think it would have been better if you had not let him masturbate in front of you, but there is no need to say anything unless he tries to do it again in front of you.

I am a single mother of four daughters aged from 13 to 19 and my husband (the girls' father) died ten years ago. To help my girls out with the sex talk and dating I made a chastity pact with them that I would remain chaste if they would stay virgins until marriage. Up until 6 months ago, I carried on that bargin but I now have a new younger boyfriend and I just want to get laid. I want the feeling and comfort you have when you have a sexual partner holding and caressing you. I am so hormonal and sexually charged from the last ten years of no human contact that I just don't know what to do especially with my two oldest. How can I look at my two daughters who have boyfriends in the face and say I know you're hormonal and horny and love your boyfriends and you want to be with them physically and experiance sexual pleasure but you shouldn't until you're married, while I jump into the sack with a man a little more than half my age unmarried? (age 41)

Parents can communicate their wishes that their children remain chaste while not making chastity agreements themselves. There is no reason for you to interject your own sexuality into your childrens' sex education. I doubt that your daughters will remain virgins until they marry. If you can get them out of high school without them becoming sexually active, then you've accomplished more than most parents. If your daughters try to use the fact that you are sexually active to justify their own behavior, you can point out that you're an adult and that you're able to deal with the consequences, whereas they would be very vulnerable at their age to dealing with the consequences of sexual behavior.

I am a widower and I have a 14 year old daughter. The other day, my daughter walked in on me after I had showered. She just was struck looking at me. I said excuse me, and she left the room embarrassed. That night I tried talking with her about what happened, kind of lightheartly. She had so many question about penises, how they work, etc. She even asked if she could see it again. I am shocked. Please advise! (age 43)

You should answer her questions, but you should not show her your penis. There are plenty of books where she could see photos. HealthyStrokes.com even has illustrations that would be useful to her.

I am the father of an 18 year old son and I recently caught him masturbating with PVC pipe and a female condom. I know that can't be healthy but is that weird for a young man to do? (age 39)

He created a device called a simulacrum. Masturbating with a simulacrum is an atypical form of masturbation akin to TMS. It would be good if you warned him of the dangers of masturbating atypically. Males who masturbate conventionally do the best when it comes to sex with women.

I have a 3 year old son that gets erections when he sees the female body. I would get dressed in front of my kids when they were little, but now I do not because my son will get an erection if he sees my butt. This creeps me out to no end that my little baby gets an erection from seeing him own mother naked. This also happens when he sees female underwear ads in magazines or a girl in a bathing suit on TV. Then he tells me his penis hurts. He has even asked to see my butt, then laughs. I try to ignore it so he doesn't get the idea that it is OK. A few times when I was holding him, I think he tried to rub himself back and forth on me (we both had clothing on). I've asked his doctor and he seemed a little shocked by it. I'm embarrassed to talk about it, but I'm scared that there might be something wrong with my son or that this could lead to other problems in the future. Please help! (age 28)

I don't think there is anything wrong with him. He just has sexual curiosity, which might be premature, but in any case, you have done the right thing by no longer letting him see your body. He will get used to all of the sexual stimuli on advertising and TV.

I am the mother of a 13 year old son and I never even considered that knew about sex in any way, but I feel so stupid after yesterday. I caught him using an artificial vagina. It was actually an artificial buttocks with a vagina and an anus. I think my son knows too much and needs help. It's partly my fault since I never told him anything. (age 40)

Boys (and girls) by 13 have heard a lot about sex. Many (not most) are trying sex toys. I doubt that your son needs professional help, but he could use more information. Perhaps you should send him to HealthyStrokes.com.

I am a single father of a 16 year old daughter who just had a baby. I have taken over the role of her coach since her no-good boyfriend skipped out. She has been having problems nursing and has switched to bottled breast milk. Her pump broke and she has had to manually expressing her milk. She is unable to do this herself. We figured out that if I sit behind her, I can help and not see her topless. Last week, I was manually expressing with her, and as I would work towards her nipples she would press her hips into me, sighing. I am concerned that she is being aroused by this. What should we do? (age 40)

I strongly urge making the purchase of a new breast pump a priority.

My 9 year old daughter started masturbating about 6 months ago. She wants me to show her the proper way to do it. How should I go about showing her? By letting her watch me or by me using my hands on her? (age 38)

I would not be in favor of either of those methods. You might show her using the diagrams available on HealthyStrokes.com. Look toward the bottom of the left side menu.

I have a 14 year old son. Recently, I accidently walked on him looking at porn sites. I wasn't very alarmed as when my wife and I were his age we occasionally watched porn together. I am thinking to cut him off such sites, but I feel guilty as I looked at magazines when I was his age. I showed him some of my Playboy magazines as they aren't "hard core." Do you think this was the right step? (age 38)

Yes, that was a very good idea. He's lucky to have a father like you.

My daughter (age 15) and I don't talk much about sex/masturbation but she asked me if I could buy her a vibrator. I was a little shocked because we never have spoken about it before even though she knows we can talk about anything together. I don't know if I should get her one. What do you think? (age 40)

I discourage the use of vibrators in girls your daughters age but it is better if you get her a small one that runs on batteries instead of taking the chance that she will acquire a powerful one that plugs into the wall. It might be difficult for you to say, but you should tell her she's better off using her hands and that the vibrator should be used only as a last resort.

I took my 18 year old daughter to buy a dildo. She found mine one day and asked if they felt good and if she could have one. At the store she seemed to get very excited and couldn't wait to get home to try it. When she did, she came downstairs upset, saying it didnt work. She wanted me to show her how to use it or at least get it in. So, like using tampons, I showed her. We went into the bathroom, I put a leg up on the toilet and slid mine in me. I had her do the same. I showed her how to slide it in and out, etc. Was this OK to do. She was more than old enough and was asking about it? (age 42)

I don't think it was OK, even though your daughter is an adult. She seems to have maturity issues. She should have been able to deal with it without your help. You took it for granted that she knows how to use tampons. You could have just told her to insert it like a tampon. If she was really that clueless about internal masturbation, it might have been a good idea not to encourage her to use a dildo.

The other day I found my son's stash of porn. I couldn't help but look through them. He came home and found me looking. I thought he would be embarrassed, but he wasn't. I asked him why he looked at these. He showed me in the mags what he liked and why. I thought we were having a good conversation about masturbation and that it was healthy and normal. I am not sure we divulged too much? Was this an OK conversation? (age 39)

Calling it OK is going too far. You obviously knew from your son's collection that he likes to masturbate. Asking him about it, especially at that level of detail, was unnecessary. The fact that your son went along with it didn't make it any better.

This past summer, my 17 year old daughter asked if I cared if she sunbathed topless. I agreed, but only in the backyard, by herself. If I knew she was back there I would avoid the backyard. One day, I was swimming, and I decided to rest in the sun. My daughter came out and lay next to me, belly down, and took off her top. She also undid the sides to her bottom. Trying not to pay attention, I dozed off. When I awoke she was on her back, breasts out, and she had rolled down the front of her bottom. I saw almost all of her. Did I open a can of worms or what?! (age 46)

You should have stuck to your original deal. When she came out sunbathing when you were there, you should have reminded her no topless sunbathing when she's not alone. She took your failure to do that as license to go further. You should now tell her the deal is off and she has to be completely covered for sunbathing. I also suggest discouraging her from sunbathing, as exposure to solar rays is harmful to the skin.

My 19-year-old son has not had a girlfriend. I have no idea if or how often he masturbates. I had not heard about TMS until I came to your web site. We have a good relationship, but do you think he'd feel weird if I told him about either TMS or this web site? I want him to be sexually healthy.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging him to pursue those who interest him. Parents (especially mothers) have been doing that since time immemorial. The odds are not high that he practices TMS. We don't know the exact prevalence in the population, but no one has ever claimed more than 15%, and from my expertise, I would expect it to be considerably less than that. You might start the conversation about him taking a more active interest in dating and then tell him that HealthyStrokes.com has information that would help him find more dates. (Which is true on so many levels...) Of course, if he does practice TMS, he would be very grateful that you pointed him to HealthyStrokes.com.

My 18 year old daughter told me she doesn't see what the big deal is about vibrators, because they don't do anything for her. I told her she probably isn't using it right, so she asked me to show her. I showed her over panties how to use it. She gets what the "big deal" is now. (age 38)

Glad you helped it work out for her. However, your daughter is an adult, and I wouldn't advise someone to show her minor daughter what you did. In that instance, I would suggest showing her using a doll.

I think this site is great! I have a 14 year old daughter and I'm glad to see a site that answers questions that she may not feel comfortable talking with me about. I'm a Certified Medical Assistant with 20 years of experience in OB/GYN and I will be sending girls and women of all ages to your site. Masturbation is natural and healthy and I think you are doing a wonderful job potraying it as such. I'm glad you have given cautions to girls about using only smooth objects and watching out for getting sugar into the vagina. Females should only use sterile lubes (KY, Astroglide, etc.) because although males can use a variety of household products as lube, females have to watch what gets into their vaginas. You might also suggest to girls that the clean whatever they use with alcohol and make sure it is completely dry before inserting it. (age 43)

I'm glad we agree on so much!

My 17 year old son asked what size penis is too big. I asked why. He said his girlfriend said his was way to big. I said it can't be too big, and that she must be nervous. He then asked if 10 inches was too big. He said he was 10 inches. I thought he was lying. So I told him I did believe him. After a discussion about going to the doctor's, he showed me. His penis is massive! I had him measure it and it was 9.5 inches flaccid and about 4 inches in girth. He even went in the other room and created an erection and it was 11.5 inches. I scheduled an appointment with a urologist. Not knowing what else to say, I said a woman would love a penis that size. Where do I go from here? (age 39)

You should not have let him show you his penis. He could have measured it and told you the results, if you really had to know. Leave the measuring and observation and commenting to the doctor. Your comment that a woman would love his size is contrary to what his girlfriend said. Let the doctor make the next move and help your son follow his advice.

For a high school graduation gift, I took my son to Jamaica. We hit the beach every day. On the last day, he asked if his girl would like the tan lines, and tried to show me but he completly fell out. I just stared. I know it was an accident but what should I say to him. He is embarrassed. (age 45)

I think it is too late to say anything. You should have looked away immediately. He was obviously not being especially modest by wearing a small suit and showing off his tan lines.

I am a 42 year mom and I was caught masturbating by my 13-year-old son. He asked me what I was doing. Should I tell him or not?

A 13-year-old should be able to figure it out. I wouldn't tell him what you were doing, but I would advise informing him about masturbation, as he's apt to be doing it himself.

I clean houses for a living and I was on my client's son's computer checking my e-mail (with my client's permission) and I saw that the last page he had up was porn. Should I tell his mother? (age 39)

No. That is not your business.

The other morning I was running late for work and my son was in the shower. I knocked on the door to let him know I needed my toothbrush and toothpaste. He yelled back to come in. I went in to get my stuff and when I went in, I guess because of the angle, I saw him in the mirror masturbating. Do you think he wanted me to see? Should I say something? I just left, very flustered. (age 37)

Although it was inadvisable for him to masturbate while you were in the bathroom, I would like to believe he was unaware of the view through the mirror and did not know you could see. I don't think you should say anything, but try to keep this from happening in the future. Try to stay out of the bathroom when he's in there, and if you absolutely must go in, keep your gaze down.

I caught my 14 year old son using a sex toy shaped like the female buttocks with an opening. He said his cousin bought it for him, and it's really none of my business. I wanted to punish him for that remark, but I just can't. I never discussed masturbation with him. I feel like I'm the reason he's engaging in such bad behavior. Am I? (age 44)

If he had asked me, I would have advised him against using a toy like that, but it is completely to be expected that he will masturbate frequently at his age. I would also give him some latitude for being disrespectful to you, because you had just discovered him masturbating, which is apt to bring out anyone's bad emotions. It is not too late to share with him your ideas about sex and masturbating.

I have been a nurse for over 30 years. My son who is 19 asked me about an issue he was having. He didn't want to go to the doctor. He thought he had crabs. So he asked me if I minded taking a look. I agreed. I examined my son's public region. I had his penis in my hand, and he got semi-erect. I am trying to be honest, and see if this is an issue. I got tremendously aroused by this. Yes, he had crabs. (age 53)

Since he now has to go to the doctor anyway, you caused yourself and him a lot of embarrassment by not making him go.

I'm a newlywed with a 15-year-old stepson. He and I are very close. The other day he texted me asking how he should care for his uncircumcised penis. I am uncut as well. I didn't respond and haven't talked to him about it yet. I don't know what to do. Should I show him myself or give him a source to look at and find out himself? (age 36)

I highly advise against showing him. I would recommend you direct him to a resource like this one: http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/. The CIRP library has many other resources pertaining to uncircumcised penises.

I am a single dad with a teenage daughter. Within our home I have allowed or at least turned a blind eye to my daughters dress when we are lounging around at night. For the past week I have noticed that once I sit down to watch TV, she has removed her undies and lies sideways with her leg up so I see her entire vagina. How should I approach this? (age 46)

Just tell her she has to wear underwear when she's in public parts of the house.

Recently I was sitting in my towel in a public sauna when my 19-year-old daughter joined me. She was also wearing only a towel. She lay down on the bench and over time her towel slipped open. She didn't do anything to fix her towel. She even walked over and poured water on the stones. I was in shock! Should I say something to her? (age 49)

Yes, I think you should let her know what your expectations are, at least when you're around. You certainly have the right to tell someone when their public nudity is offending you, and you might even have the duty to do so when it's your daughter.

The other day I took my daughter clothes shopping. She quickly turned to buying panties. She kept asking me if I thought they were cute and would she look cute in them. One pair was very small and sheer. I responded, "very sexy" not even thinking. Later that day while shoe shopping, she asked me if I liked the shoes. She was seated, with her legs open. I could see up her skirt, and she was wearing those panties! I don't know when she changed, but I think it was on purpose and she wanted me to see. She said, "Well, what do you think?" looking down and then up at me. "Sexy?" she asked. (male, age 51)

Your daughter is old enough to shop without you. You ought to tell her if you think her behavior is unacceptable.

I recently overheard my daughter talking to a friend about HealthyStrokes.com. Concerned that it might contain inappropriate material, I visited and spent some time here. I believe the advice given is quite commonsense and worthwhile, and this is an excellent service for young people. Since most of your readers are young, I hope they don't get the impression that masturbation is something that they will, or should outgrow. Believe me, with a husband and three school-age children, with the shopping, cooking, cleaning, sports, and scouting, if I didn't take time several times a week to have a hot bath, unplug the phone, put on some soft music and unhide my vibrator and baby oil, my family would have committed me to an asylum years ago. (age 36)

Thanks for your approval. I note in both the Young Man's Guide and the Young Woman's Guide that people typically masturbate for the rest of their lives whether or not they also have sex with partners.

As I walked past my son's room (he is 20), I noticed his door was open partially. He was standing in front of his mirror masturbating. I saw all of him -- to my shock he is massive and shaven. I couldnt help but to stare. I think he saw me and turned. I left flustered. At dinner time he asked if I liked the show and said it was OK for me to have watched. I am so shocked. What should I have said or should say now? (age 49)

Your son was not being discreet, but you should have been the parent and not stared. You would be justified in telling him he embarrassed you by masturbating with his door open and that nudity will only happen in private in your house. If he rebuts that you stopped and stared, then I suggest you apologize and say you were stunned, but stand your ground on the above.

I was dropping my daughter off to her college dorm. It is a long drive so I decided to stay over and leave in the morning. She had just moved in and nothing was unpacked. My daughter has a single with a bathroom. We went out for dinner and I returned to her dorm. She went out with friends. Late that night she returned (I am assuming a bit intoxicated). I was lying on her futon. She didn't care I was there at all. She turned on the bathroom light, stripped down, and jumped in the shower, keeping the door open. I tried to roll over, but the futon was up. She came out of the shower in a robe which she kept open, and she stood right in front of me putting on her lotion. I tried to ignore it and go to sleep. She whispered "are you sleeping?" I ignored her. She sat at the end of the futon and masturbated. When she was done, she pulled out her sleeping bag and curled up on the floor. In the morning, she was still asleep. I left a note and drove home. Should I approach her about this? (age 52)

No, I think you should leave bad enough alone. She wouldn't have masturbated in front of you if you had truthfully answered her question.

My son is 12 and has reached puberty and has frequent wet dreams. Some months back, we had a talk about puberty and I suggested that he masturbate to prevent wet dreams because he complained about having them and is worried he may have one while staying at a friend or when out camping and they are just a nuisance otherwise. He asked me to show him how to masturbate (I did not expect this) which I responded to with a detailed description going as far as to suggest moving the fist at about 2 times a second etc. Unfortunately he didn't manage and the next day he said he didn't get it right, and again asked me to show him. My wife was horrified that I mentioned the word masturbation to our son and suggested I don't do anything as our son would discover it for himself later on.

Yesterday my son again asked that I show him how to masturbate. I was shocked that he didn't figure it out yet. I still don't know what to tell him, although I have explained to him that I don't want to show him as it is too awkward. I tried searching for a video of a guy masturbating, but I can't find anything but porn sites (which I definitely don't want to show my son). What should I do? I feel bad for my son and the wet dream problem.

Let me start with the easiest part first. You should not show your son. You should not ever masturbate in front of your son. You are helping him by talking to him and giving him sound advice. Your wife is wrong about not using the word.

There is nothing wrong with wet dreams. Most males think they are fun, and more than a few are sorry when they stop having them. Wearing underwear while sleeping over at a friend's house will keep him from worrying about making a mess.

You might check out the Wikimedia commons for non-porn videos and animations of men masturbating. This video in particular might be helpful: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Male_adult_masturbation.gif.

Anyway, he isn't even 13. Lots of males his age haven't started masturbating yet. Neither he nor you should be upset that he isn't masturbating. However, be firm with him that you will not masturbate in front of him.

I'm a single father with a daughter just turned 9 and I've just realized she's now masturbating. Just now, she was pretending to sleep on the sofa while I was working and I noticed her hand moving vigorously under the blanket, and she was biting her lip. Now when I think about it, I've noticed her doing this before, but thought she was scratching herself or something. I knew this day would come - but not quite so soon as 9!! We have a good, frank and honest relationship, and can talk about pretty much everything but this conversation I don't know where to start. I don't want to embarrass her.

The other thing is she's having trouble urinating. I wonder if they're connected. Maybe she has an infection. If that persists I'll take her to the doctor, because while I could talk to her about the masturbation, I'm not sure if it's right for me to be inspecting her parts. Is it? On a side note, her mother is Thai, and they have a very different take on what's normal and also (mostly) believe a father should have nothing to do with such things. (age 40)

Unless it's bothering you or others in your household (siblings), there is no reason to say anything about her masturbating. If it bothers you that she does it around you, simply tell her that's something people do in private. If her urinary trouble persists, take her to the doctor. I doubt there is anything you could see yourself if you inspected her parts. And do what's in the best interests of your daughter without worrying about what your ex-in-laws think.

I have such an adorable and handsome 4 year old son, who loves having erections. When he was a baby, I used to love breastfeeding him nude, and sometimes his penis got nice and big during his feedings. Almost 2 months before I had him, I had an ultrasound, and there on the ultrasound photo was his erection. That's my favorite ultrasound photo of all.

I'm expecting baby number 2 and I'm 3 1/2 months along, and I'm beginning to show. Just today, I dressed my son in his little shorts, and he started smiling and looked down at his tummy. He was so cute when he patted his tummy, so instead I just let him go all day shirtless. That was just before I announced my pregnancy. Then I asked my son to come with me in my room, because I had something very special for him to enjoy. There I took my top off, and I'll never forget that look and smile on my adorable son's face when, for the first time, he saw how big my boy shorts were over my little swell of tummy and how larger my bra was. We both smiled, and that's when I announced I'm expecting. Then we both sat in the middle of my bed. My son was so adorable when he hugged and rubbed my tummy, and even if he's my son, the feeling was almost romantic. I patted and rubbed my adorable son's tummy when he smiled and said all the excitement of my pregnancy and showing off his tummy made his penis big and hard in his shorts. After a while my son looked down at his tummy, started patting it, and he wanted to go back in his room, and I understand his want for privacy. I consider his behavior to be normal, but apparently some of my close family do not. Do you think this is normal and I'm responding to him correctly? I love his erect penis. (age 30)

You're apparently having trouble making the transition from when your boy was a baby to when he's his own person. It's cute to admire a baby's hands and eyes and penis, but when the baby becomes a boy and starts exercising his own functions, it's important to give him space. In about a year, your son will be off to kindergarten, and in kindergarten there will be no masturbating or talk of erections and penises. I think it would be good if you could start him on that path now. Tell him that anything involving his penis is to be done in private, and he is only to talk to you about it when it's only you and his father around. I also think it would be respectful of him if you could make a point of not noticing his penis anymore, especially when it's erect.

My family are nudists and my youngest daughter who is 14 has been asking to show her how to have orgasms. I showed my oldest daughter when she was around 11. I felt it was wrong for me to do that and I never did it again. But my youngest daughter told me she is not getting it and she wants me to show her. She said if I didn't they would go to my oldest daughter. I know if she goes to her older sister, she will show them, and I don't want that, but I feel she can get it on her own. What's your advice? (age 44)

I am in favor of parents telling their children how to masturbate, but I draw the line at showing them. I have less of a problem with an older sister showing a younger sister, even though I think she should tell her rather than show her. Perhaps your youngest daughter will understand by you or her sister telling her and there will be no need for anyone to show anyone.

I noticed my son taking extra-long showers, so rather than yell at him about using too much water like my dad did, I decided to bite the bullet and talk to him about it. I searched about masturbation and HealthyStrokes.com seemed the most down to earth. After he read your Young Man's Guide to Masturbation, I provided him with lubrication and a lock on his door.He was surprised to know his dad still enjoys masturbating as well! (age 31)

Thank you for helping your son and sharing the story with me.

My daughter has discovered my sex toys and various lingerie and has freaked out. She is 12 years old and I can't stand the fact that she has snooped in my belongings. What do I do? My husband and I have been married 17 years and I tried to explain that it is normal for people that love each other to have sex. She also listens in on us having sex because she told us. We are not super loud for obvious reasons, but then we found out that she has been snooping even more. How do I handle this because I wanna tell her off for going through our private things? (age 35)

I would start by relating your need for privacy to her need for privacy. She is at an age where she is starting to want more privacy in the bathroom, for changing, etc. Tell her that you expect at least as much privacy as she wants from you.

I am a married mother of 3 boys and I have an ii year-old niece who is very close to me and my children. I have babysat her since she was 4 and she and my oldest son who is 7 are like siblings. She has started to noticeably develop breasts in the past year, and I have noticed lately she's been touching herself when she's in public areas of the house. I just get up and walk near her and act like I'm fixing the TV or something so she stops before my sons notice what she's doing. Her parents are divorced and her father and I are like siblings. I'm not sure if I should talk to her or if I should let her father know to tell her she should not do that in public. I'm comfortable with having this talk with her and she shares a lot of personal things with me, but I don't want to make her uncomfortable about masturbation and I don't want to overstep my bounds. Her mother and I are not close, and she does not have a very close relationship with my niece from what I have witnessed. Should I leave it alone, address it to lessen the embarrassment, or notify her parents so they deal with it? I care about her very much and want to do what's best for her. (age 26)

You are well within your rights addressing her behavior in your house, in front of your children. It might be as simple as saying that touching your private area is something that people do in private but not in public areas of the house. If you are not comfortable saying that (I think you are), then let her father know. The simplest solution seems to be to tell her yourself.


One of the most popular pages on this site, "A Young Man's Guide to Masturbation," can now be printed as a PDF brochure. (If printing 2-sided, use the setting "flip on short edge" under Options.) Simply click on the link and print and fold for the confused young person in your life.


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