Masturbation in Kids-10 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask

Whether it’s running around in the rain, snuggling next to you, or touching their silky blanket. kids know what feels good. And many of them find out early at their own body has a pretty magical way of feeling good.  Whether it is getting friendly with the car seat, rocking’ on the tricycle seat, or putting their hands down their pants, many kids masturbate.  Most parents find this uniquely mortifying.  It forces us to see our children as sexual beings before we are ready and it can make us really uncomfortable if done in public. It may be something your just not willing to talk about at the well child visit. So here are some questions that you may be wondering about.

10 questions about masturbation

  1. Do all kids masturbate?  No not all kids, but many do.  Some kids start as babies, some start as toddlers and some don’t explore until the teen years.
  2. Is it normal for a toddler masturbate?  It is normal for a child to explore his or her body.
  3. Is masturbation dangerous for my child?  No, unless your child is doing physical damage to their private parts, it is not unsafe.  Hopefully we all know by now that masturbation does not cause blindness or hairy palms (who made THAT up?).
  4. If my child masturbates does that mean that he or she is going to be a hyper-sexual adolescent? There is no known correlation between a child masturbating and later sexual activity.  We are all sexual beings but masturbation in kids is about what feels good, not about sex.
  5. What do I say to my child if I find him or her masturbating at home (not in the bedroom)?  This is important.  It may be your child’s first experience with your reaction to sexuality.  Be aware of your facial expression, body language and tone of voice.  The point is not to convey disapproval or anger.  However, it is ok to tell your child from an early age “Anything to do with your private parts is private.”
  6. What do I do if my child is masturbating at nap time or bedtime?  Nothing.  Say good-night and walk out of the room.
  7. What if my child is masturbating in public?  If you are in a situation where your child is masturbating in public, pick him or her up and go somewhere private to have a conversation.  Tell your child in a calm voice that “Anything to do with your private parts is private.”  You are not going to turn your child into a masturbating machine by telling him or her, “It’s ok to touch yourself when you are alone but not when you are with others.”
  8. Are young kids able to have orgasms?  The answer is yes.  However, not all kids masturbate until they have an orgasm.
  9. When should I worry?  If a child seems preoccupied with masturbating, it is time to talk to your pediatrician.  Or if a toddler continues to masturbate in public even though you have talked about the importance of privacy, it may be helpful for your pediatrician to have a discussion with your child too.  Finally, if your child makes sexual comments or acts out sexually, it is important to discuss this with your pediatrician.
  10. What is a parent to do?  Don’t throw away the car seat, shame your child or tell him or her to stop.  Take a deep breath, know that your child is a sexual being and that it is ok.  Take it as a teachable moment for kids to learn about their own sexuality and to learn a lesson in the difference between public and private activities.