QUESTION: I need some help, the other day I came home and found my son, in the words of George’s mother on Seinfeld, treating his body like an amusement park. Now I understand that this is totally normal teenage boy behavior, my question is how often do they do this? Should I open up a dialogue with him? Can you please give me some guidance? Thanks. Confused Mother
ANSWER: Confused Mother, You are right. You are not alone. And this is totally normal behavior.
You asked about how often a boy masturbates – that varies from boy to boy. Some figure out how this ‘home entertainment center’ functions and they go for it. Some boys do not masturbate, some do occasionally and for some, it can become habitual.
If you did find him masturbating, then the door is open to dialogue, yet there could be embarrassment or shame on his part. He may resist discussion. Just try to get in the fact that it is totally OK, and if he wants to talk about it, you or his father is willing.
Now, let’s say the dialogue does continue, reassure him that it is not physically going to harm him in any way. Do not be afraid to use proper terms – but also define them using your own words, like masturbation: sexually pleasuring one’s self, and orgasm: the peak of sexual pleasure.
Please do your child the favor and discuss the impact of using Internet pornography. Internet porn is huge, omnipresent and growing rapidly. We all want our children to have positive, healthy sex lives. Internet porn has the capacity to warp one’s authentic sexual self. In other words, it has a way of hijacking one’s sexuality. The images are intense and alluring as well as disturbing and twisted. In my 20 plus years of teaching sex ed, the biggest change in my curriculum is the need to talk about the negative impact of Internet porn. Some aspect of it comes up in nearly every class – in comments, questions or behavior that has been ‘normalized’ in their teen/ pre-teen culture.
Jane Esselstyn, RN, is a nurse and married mother of 3 kids (pre-teen and teenagers). She has been a sex ed teacher to middle and high-schoolers for 20 years and she is still standing.