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Masturbation and Teen Boys: Teaching About Masturbation

Dear Your Teen:

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 masturbation is totally normal teenage boy behavior. My question is how often do teens masturbate and should I talk to him about it? Can you please give me some guidance?

EXPERT | Jane Esselstyn, RN

You are right. Teen masturbation is totally normal behavior.

You asked about how often a teen 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 okay, and if he wants to talk about it, you are willing to answer any questions he might have.

Now, let’s say the dialogue does continue, reassure him that it is not physically going to harm him in any way. Don’t 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 if and when they are ready. However, internet porn has the capacity to warp or damage one’s authentic sexual self in unexpected ways. In other words, it has a way of hijacking one’s sexuality. The images are intense and alluring as well as disturbing and twisted. Internet porn is not usually the best demonstration for future sexual activity, and much existing pornography is a negative or unrealistic example for teenagers.

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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 and pre-teen culture.

Jane Esselstyn, RN

Jane Esselstyn 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.