Masturbation. There, I said it. It's out there. Now, let's talk about it freely, openly, honestly, and like we're not freaks for saying it, knowing about it, and doing it - because we ALL do.
It has always bugged the heck out of me that masturbation is a socially accepted norm for males, but still taboo for females. I'm on a one-woman mission to bring the joys and benefits of masturbation out into the great, wide open. Here's why: our kids do it, too, and I have a real problem with people having real problem with that.
Babies masturbate. Even in ultrasounds, babies can be seen touching their genitals. Toddlers masturbate. Preschoolers masturbate. Kids masturbate. This goes for boys and girls. Masturbation is not exclusive to junior high school boys with their mom's Victoria's Secret catalog. Masturbation is not exclusive to bachelor men with too much time on their hands. I was a masturbating machine. And good for me! (I say was, because I have a child attached to my body a pretty fair chunk of the time now and that leaves precious little alone time for such enjoyment. The fun shall return with time, however.)
Masturbation is normal, natural, and healthy. Men who ejaculate frequently are less prone to prostate cancer. Women who orgasm frequently are more prone to, well, does it even matter? I mean, orgasms just feel good and they're their own benefit!
The littlest ones are not touching themselves to experience climax. It just feels good. Besides, they spend so much of their time disconnected from their genitals (while in a diaper), so when they break free for a moment, they want to explore and discover their bodies. Far too often, when those little hands start exploring those little parts, parents fend them off and keep them from doing so. Mothers, in particular, are apt to find masturbation in their children, especially their girls, embarrassing and uncomfortable. This is a cycle of shame. Girls are told they should be little ladies. The glory that is masturbation is kept from them. Nobody speaks about it to them or with them. They grow up thinking they're the only ones who do it and feeling ashamed of that - ashamed of their bodies. They go on to either continue feeling that shame or fighting that shame, though, in some part many never get past it. It then passes on to their kids, especially their girls. Someone has to break the cycle. I am that someone. So are you.
When I was little (5-6 years old), I remember going to bed every night and touching myself. I wasn't doing it for pleasure purposes. I had yet to discover my clitoris to any real extent. I was just checking stuff out. I was feeling the folds and the different textures of my labia. Every night, my dad would come tuck me in. He would smell my hands to see if I had been touching myself and scold me for doing so. It didn't stop me, but it sure made me feel like a vile, horrible human being. And I felt ashamed.
When I was a teenager, I was caught masturbating with a back massager. Privacy and boundaries were no-nos in our home, so my parents walked in and out of my room, even if the door was shut, freely and with complete entitlement. I was never talked with, never told that what I was doing was OK. Instead, while I was at school the next day, they found and threw away that tool in the outside garbage can, even going to the extreme of making sure it was hidden under other trash in the receptacle. It didn't stop me, but it sure made me feel like a vile, horrible human being. And I felt ashamed.
As an adult with my first few sexual partners, I had no idea that mutual masturbation was not only OK, but GOOD and FUN and seen as a plus. I hid the fact that I masturbated. And I hid the fact that I was intimately familiar with my body, that I knew what felt good to me. As a result, I was probably not as active a partner as I could've been in those very early years of sexual activity.
Luckily, I'm a fast learner. Masturbation is fantastic! Masturbation is most certainly not shameful in any way for anybody. Masturbation is fun for kids of all ages, you know, like Monopoly, but not.
The bottom line is this: masturbation is normal and natural. And your kids won't know otherwise unless YOU teach them otherwise. Don't. Just don't. You get the choice whether to perpetuate or break the cycle. Choose to break it.