Masturbation

With boys, it's a must-have talk. Masturbation is expected. But for girls, it's long been hush-hush. Even today, the thought is “good girls don't, but good boys do.” The reality is, girls, like boys, are curious about their bodies and may experiment with self-pleasing. Talking about it can be the biggest challenge a parent faces, because girls and masturbation have long been a silent issue.

What to Expect

Think of it this way: ever since magazines like Cosmopolitan started printing stories on how to “find your G-spot,” more and more females have been more open about masturbation. Studies show that 80 percent of males have masturbated by the age of 18, and that's no surprise. But they also show that 60 percent of girls have as well. So it's best you assume your daughter might be one of them.

Usually around the time of puberty, girls start wondering about such things and even talking about it. Your daughter may stumble upon the idea in conversation or, in this day and age, on the Web. It's a good idea to have a talk with her at this time about what masturbation is. Try, as difficult as it is, to be frank and honest.

It's best to keep in mind that this is all probably new to her too. She may experience her first orgasm on her own, and may need you to explain that many women do so as way to know, in the future, how to help a man (or a woman if she is gay) help her reach that point.

But also let her know that she is too young for sex, even if she can get her body to react that way. Talk about abstinence and encourage her to consider it, even when it comes to masturbation. Make sure she under-stands: just as sex is perfectly acceptable among consenting adults, masturbation is acceptable for women. It might just be a bit early now.

Alert

If you “catch” your daughter masturbating, don't freak out. Rather, ask her to gather herself together and then have a talk with you. Let her know it is not a punishable thing.

Setting Rules

You will need to explain the rules of masturbation. It's never to be done in public. It's never to be done in the presence of another girl or boy (because really, that does constitute a sexual act and as a parent, you feel she is too young for that quite yet). If she finds she feels the need to do it frequently, encourage her to talk to you about it. Sexual addiction can start early, and you'll want to help her learn to control her desires and needs in an acceptable way.

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