I'm posting this here because the thread I was reading won't let me reply (Find it here: Self-stimulating infant seems to reach orgasm.) and I really wanted the opinion of other parents. (Well I'm a soon to be parent!)
I know I wrote a lot, so I bolded the main question I have.
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading that thread and was surprised to see how common it is for children/infants to have an orgasm, or something similar! I knew that children and infantants stimulate themselves at a very young age, even fully masturbate, as i have both witnessed it and studied it in one of my psychology classes during college.
Personally I didn't start masturbating till about the age of 12, but have witnessed children doing so, I think the youngest was a 1-2 years old girl I was helping someone take care of in the waiting room of a hospital (I was 16), her mother stopped her as soon as she noticed, although even then I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.
When I was young, sex wasn't talked about unless it was brought up by me, meaning I was never taught anything from my parents unless I specifically asked, and so it became a subject that I felt guilty about and tried to avoid. The time I was caught masturbating by my mom only further made me feel this way, even though she did not show any negativity towards what I was doing (nor did she say anything).
I am a soon to be father and plan to be very open about sexuality and everything that goes along with it at a very young age with her(age appropriately of course).
So my question is this, for those of you who are open with discussing sexuality with your children, do you find anything wrong with letting them know it's okay to do in front of you (a parent), but no one else?
I've read those who encourage their children to do it in their bedroom alone, which is understandable, but that's the attitude I think may have driven me to feel ashamed when I was young. I don't personally see anything wrong (i.e. it's not disgusting or bad as some have said) seeing a child do this as it is natural and I want my child to know that. By encouraging her to be open with her body while she is learning about it, I feel like it also encourages her to continue to be open with sharing and asking questions as she gets older.
In my psychology class on sexuality we discussed cultures where it was common for fathers to teach their sons to masturbate as well as mothers to teach their daughters (although that second one wasn't as common) and it often brings a very openness and positive view of sexuality not only within a household, but the whole community. I can definately see the value of this, although I can also see how it could be harmful.
Any feedback would be greatly appriciated. It probably won't change the way I feel, but I'd love to hear how others do!
Hi FutureFather, congratulations.
I agree that masturbation is normal for infants and toddlers too. It's not sexual, it just feels good. Why wouldn't they do it.
But, you need to set boundaries. There are social conventions we all must live with. Some things you just do in private. I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with masturbation, not at all. Nor do I think you need to come crashing down on your child for doing it. Just ask them to do it somewhere else privately.
As they get older most teens figure out how to masturbate on their own. They hear things from their friends too. Did your parents show you how to masturbate? Probably not. Does that mean that it's wrong to show them, no. They're your children, but it's probably not necessary either. There is no "one way" to masturbate. Everyone does it individually.
If you do allow your daughter to masturbate in front of you, will you always allow it? What about you or your wife masturbating in front of your daughter? What happens when she's 15 or so? Would you bring her, as a child, into the bedroom to "have her watch mommy and daddy make her a brother?"
You don't have to make it feel dirty.
Thanks for your reply, medic-dan! And thank you for doing so in a way I wasn't sure I"d receive here on this website.
I definitely agree that directly teaching them is a bit too open and it's not something I would do (unless they came to me with specific questions, of course), and my question was more directed at the 8 and under age group, or maybe even 6 and under, not teenagers.
You bring up an interesting thought when you asked "If you do allow your daughter to masturbate in front of you, will you always allow it?" and I'd have to say I don't ever see a situation where a kid would want to continue masturbating in front of their parent as a teenager, regardless of how open with sex the parent/child relationship is, but at the same time if it was a situation where I walked in on my 15+ year old daughter masturbating, I would only hope that she didn't feel embarrassed and I would just excuse myself to let her finish.
And the same would go for me or my wife, if she walked in on us doing whatever (either masturbating or having sex) I would hope it wasn't a bad situation and something that wouldn't get anymore thought.
Of course I realize how our society is and these may be unrealistic ideals, but definitely something I will strive for.
Again thanks for the reply! And I'd still like to hear what others think, too!
Just to toss this back at you:
You said: "...if it was a situation where I walked in on my 15+ year old daughter masturbating, I would only hope that she didn't feel embarrassed and I would just excuse myself to let her finish."
Yet, when it happened to you "the time I was caught masturbating by my mom only further made me feel this way, even though she did not show any negativity towards what I was doing."
What is the difference?
Looking forward to other responses.
I think if they had talked to me prior to that time, when I was younger (since I was 15/16 at this time I think), and maybe shared in the knowledge that everyone does it or something it wouldn't have been traumatizing. My parents were great when it came to me asking questions and them answering (well, my mom anyway), but that's about it.