How do we feel about acknowledging or encouraging masturbation for developing children?  
 
Considering my non-theistic but uptight childhood it seemed touchy to encourage masturbation yet as a parent I discussed it at dinner table for my son and daughters.  It embarrassed them at first but when sex came up at all I took the occasion to say that everyone learns sooner or later to satisfy their natural sexual urges by rubbing themselves.   I would take the conversation as far as they were interested. 

Whenever crude sexual terms were mentioned I blandly translated them into semi-clinical terms, penis for prick, vagina for cunt etc. and then discussed sexuality as a natural and healthy part of life.  

I am curious how and why the masturbation taboo came to be so prevalent and so hush-hush.  Any ideas?


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I do freelance design for an adult novelty store, and they sell a vibe that's called "My First Vibrator." It's not too far from the Hello Kitty vibrator, in design. Very small, bright, girly and pretty.
If I had a daughter, I would so buy that for her 16th birthday.
I'm so not getting that Hello Kitty vibrator... *shifty eyes*
Why the masturbation taboo? I always thought it was sort of folded in with all the other prohibitions.

In a time of high infant mortality, a patriarchal family structure needs high birthrates, and that means forms of non-procreative sex are avoided in favor of sex that will result in legitimate (i. e. related through the father) births. Semen was also commonly thought to be a precious fluid that needed to be conserved.

From practical guidelines that ensured family lines survived developed over time into an abstract principle that sex for any other purpose than procreation within marriage was immoral and forbidden by god. From channeling sexual pleasure into socially useful outlets we became opposed to sexual pleasure on principle, and that's where the trouble started.

Your approach to talking to children about it seems about right.
I remember the old Boy Scout manual used to have a section about avoiding masturbation because you were supposed to conserve your bodily fluids. Of course, it was just an excuse. The religious infiltration of the Scouts had a lot more to do with it. Silly. Then there's the Kellogg family and the Grahams and the whole Seventh Day Adventist campaign against "self abuse." Did you know that Graham crackers were originally marketed as a masturbation prevention? It was thought that sugary, low fiber foods promoted masturbation. There's also the argument from the Old Testament with Onan, although to anyone "versed" in the Bible, it's obvious that Onan's sin wasn't masturbation, but coitus interruptus. He defied God's order to impregnate his brother's widow.

I don't have kids yet, but I would support any parent who wanted to be open and supportive of kids learning to take care of their own sexual needs. As Whitney Houston says, "learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all."
Conserve bodily fluids! that is too funny! Did they also discourage peeing, sweating, and nose blowing or was seamen the only bodily fluid that needed conserved? What was the explanation for this? Were they saving it for a rainy day?

When my kids are older, I will talk to them about it. For now, I tell them to keep it private.
All the rational advice I've heard about teaching kids about sex says that most parents err by over-explaining or under-explaining. What I've heard is that you should answer their questions truthfully and completely (for their age and maturity), but don't elaborate.

I agree with the admonition to keep it private. Even if you teach your kids that it's OK to touch themselves, it's still reasonable to tell them not to touch themselves in public.
Not to mention really embarrassing if they do! ROTFL!
Golly, I am 77 now and it, my weewee, hasn't fallen off even though I have given it a life long workout but if you all think I should stop now I won't because at my age it has a limited future and I don't want to miss what ever remains.
"It embarrassed them at first but when sex came up at all I took the occasion to say that everyone learns sooner or later to satisfy their natural sexual urges by rubbing themselves."

I wonder how long it would have taken me. Never thought to myself, "I should play with my underparts, they feel funny". I started not from desire or instinct but very purposely, and I had to be told distinctly what to do. I looked up everything I could on the "how", because when someone would tell me, "rub your clit", well... What the hell is a clit? Too embarrassed to ask, so naturally the interwebs.

You can tell I wasn't exactly sexually educated because part of my massive fear of masturbating was the thought that I could accidentally sex myself up with a tampon (scared to use them), and that something about the practice of masturbating would be ...uncontrollable? And loud.
When I did start, trying to conquer the fear so I could finally shirk off the bullshit romanticism about how my first romance should go, and with who, I found it... disappointing and very frustrating. I dedicated a lot of time to practicing. But somehow, it still remains lackluster. I can orgasm, but they're very small and short and leave me wondering why I wasted so much time for that.

It seems some people are more tuned to the practice than others and it would be interesting to learn all the different causes of that. To plenty it seems an instinct, and a lot of people (even girls) learn very young. I learned only a few months ago at 18 years old! After years of coaxing!
I must confess I prefer sex with others over sex with myself ;)

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