Self-pleasure is considered one of the most uncomfortable topics between parents and kids, but it doesn’t have to be. Here, Danny helps parents and boys start a respectful and important conversation.
Recently I saw the following note in an article shared in my Twitter feed. It was from a mother who has had enough of her son using the towels for some, shall we say, “special time”.
PLEASE STOP MASTURBATING ON THE TOWELS!
CLEAN UP WITH A TISSUE OR IN THE SINK WITH SOAP AND WATER!
YOU WERE TALKED TO ABOUT THIS ONCE BEFORE, THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING.
ONE MORE TIME, AND THIS BATHROOM WILL HAVE JUSTIN BEIBER TOWELS AND MY LITTLE PONY DECOR!
One of the folks who I was talking to about this on Twitter is a woman who has two sons and she expressed a little hesitation about when they get to this point in their lives. I thought about how I felt when I was a young guy just learning about my body. And as such I think I may be of service to the moms and sons out there on this subject that can get quite touchy (yes that pun was totally intended).
Such a threat as replacing the towels and decor with Justin Beiber and My Little Pony seems to be a bit of a shaming tactic. It sounds like she is trying to get him to stop using the towels for masturbation by either trying to shame him by bombarding him with material that could be seen as gay, or surrounding him with immature kiddie stuff so that he feels too disgusted to masturbate with it.
I don’t think that’s a very good way to go about approaching this topic. But how would I do it differently?
I plan to split this up into two letters, one for parents and one for sons.
Your son will reach a point where he will begin to explore his body sexually. Likely you don’t have a problem with him masturbating, and that’s a good thing because your son may not be fully informed on the subject. With that in mind, this is an opportunity to sit down and have a real talk about masturbation with your son.
This is a chance for you to bring up your concerns and a chance for him to bring up his questions and concerns. It might be a good idea to talk among yourselves before going to talk to your son. This will give you the opportunity to work out exactly what you want to talk about, to think about what your son may want to talk about, and to get an idea of how you will answer his questions. And more importantly, you can discover (and hopefully work out) any differences in how the two of you—as parents—feel on certain topics.
Obviously this can be a pretty embarrassing and confusing time for your son. Mom, you may not understand just how embarrassing and confusing it is for boys—Dad, chances are you do, so draw on that experience. This is a time where he’s just learning what an erection is and probably doesn’t know much more about sexual pleasure other than tugging on his penis will feel very good after a while, and that afterward there is this sticky mess that needs to be dealt with.
I can’t tell you exactly how far into details to go with him, however you must bear in mind that semen and masturbation are a part of sexual education, and he is reaching that age where he will be constantly surrounded by other influences that could sway his mind in unhealthy ways. This is your chance to inform him and prepare him for these other influences.
It may help to instill in him the awareness that while there is nothing wrong with masturbating, it is something that he should keep private at this point in his life. He has to learn that there are some things that others may not want to know about. To this end you may want to talk to him about where and when its okay and not okay. Talk about suitable places (like his bedroom) and unsuitable places (like the living room and bathroom).
Also of importance is what he is thinking about or what material he is using, if any, while masturbating. He may be into some things that you don’t approve of or some material that is not necessarily bad but requires a bit of discussion. Remember that this is a part of his overall sexual education and masturbation material could have far-reaching consequences and implications.
There is one other thing you have to be prepared for. There is a very real chance that he will not want to talk to you, which is probably more likely to happen to you, Mom, simply because you are not a man/boy.
Please do not take it as a personal slight. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like women or hates you as parents. It’s just that he doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you about this. Please do not try to force the conversation. He may take it as being intrusive and close himself off on the subject.
Mom, if you are running into trouble trying to get the conversation going don’t be afraid to seek out a male proxy to have the conversation with your son. This male proxy is going to be an older guy that you trust who has an understanding of what I’m going over with you in this letter. Your son may feel more comfortable having a conversation with another guy instead of his mom. It may help to talk to some of your male relatives before approaching your son just to get an idea of what you may face.
Dad, it is likely that you went through what he is going through now. Hiding your erections, dealing with nocturnal emissions, trying to clean up your own stains. You also likely didn’t have a very comprehensive education about sex but instead were left to figure it out on your own because you’re a guy. This is an opportunity to save your son from such experiences. And even though you are a guy, it may still be worth talking to other guys ahead of time just so you can hear some different experiences.
Try offering to talk things out with him or instructing him on what is acceptable and not acceptable when it comes to masturbating in your house rather than threatening him with some sort of “punishment”. You could teach him how to wash the towels he uses, which would involve teaching him about doing laundry in general, a worthwhile skill that a man could use. Perhaps even use the laundry lessons as time to talk things over.
In closing, just let me say that this is very sensitive time for him and also a golden opportunity to give him a head start on educating him on masturbation and sex in general.
Parents—Was there anything else I should have included in this letter? Something I should have left out? Are you a parent that’s about to approach this point in their son’s life and are a bit fearful? What do you think?
This next letter is to sons with some advice on talking to their parents about masturbation and some direct advice as well. Visit this link to read the original note that inspired this letter.
Boys, you’re at a time in your lives where you are beginning to notice changes in your bodies and you may have noticed that certain parts of your body, when touched, make your body feel good. These changes are completely natural and normal parts of growing up and there is nothing wrong with recognizing that touching yourselves feels good. You may refer to such touching as jacking off, beating your meat, or choking your chicken. All in all these terms are slang for masturbation.
As I say there is nothing wrong with masturbation in and of itself. There is no reason to be feel embarrassed or ashamed about doing. You may not be aware of the entire picture on the subject. However there are sources for information that could help you understand things a whole lot better.
Now I’m sure that something so private as your genitals may be something that you don’t want to talk to your parents about but please hear them out. Remember that at some point your parents were kids themselves and may have had some of the same feelings. It would be worth it to go to them with any questions, feelings, and concerns you may have.
For example after you masturbate there is this substance that comes out of your penis. That is called semen. Do you know what it is, what it does, how to clean it up when you’re finished, etc…? If nothing else, be considerate about how you are cleaning up when you finish. Masturbating into tissues that can be thrown away or you hand which can wash is a good idea. Using towels that other members of your family use is not a good idea.
You may be thinking about when and where it is appropriate to masturbate. For the most part you want to keep such an activity to yourself. This isn’t because there is something wrong with masturbation but because it’s something that other people don’t want to know about or see and thus it’s something that is generally kept private.
Are you thinking about people when you masturbate? Again there is nothing necessarily bad about doing that. It’s just that depending on who you are imagining and how you are imagining them is something you have to be mindful of. There is material out there that, if you just take it in without thinking about it, could cause you to have pretty unhealthy sexual attitudes about people later on.
I won’t pretend that these are the only things that you may have on your mind about this. You should be able to talk to your parents about any questions or concerns you have about this. When it comes to speaking to your parents there are a few things to be aware of.
You probably feel as if talking to your parents about this is embarrassing. Try not to feel embarrassed by this because, as I said, this is a perfectly normal activity that may require a bit of guidance. In fact, your parents are the exact people who you should be able to talk to about this. If they bring it up first please don’t feel like they are trying to talk to you for the sake of knowing all of your business. They are just doing what parents are supposed to do. Help their children.
More than likely you feel that since your mom was never a boy there is no reason to talk to her, and that since your dad was a boy you must talk to him and him only. That’s not really the case. While your mom may not know exactly what you are going through at this time in your life as a boy, remember that as your mom she loves you and cares about you and will do what she can to help you through this. Likewise you can’t just assume that even though your dad was a boy he went through exactly what you are going through now. In other words, try not to close your mom out and assume that your dad is the only one you can go to about this.
There is one last thing you need to be aware of. Even though masturbation is a sexual activity that you do by yourself it is still a sexual activity. A lot of what you learn about your body will have an impact on the sex that you have with other people later on in life. That means that you shouldn’t limit your conversations with your parents to masturbation, but should be open to talking about sex in general.
Did I miss an important piece of info? Should I have left something out of these letters?
Are you a son that’s about to approach this point in your life and are a bit fearful? What do you think?