We all have a basic human need for physical affection – to be touched in ways that feel safe and comforting, or sometimes in ways that simply create pleasure.
A back rub can be relaxing. 👍🏼
A long hug – nourishing. 😌
Scratching an itch – incredibly satisfying. 😬
And whether someone else is helping, or we’re handling it ourselves, there are some things that just feel sooooooooo gooood. Right? 😊
So, we need to talk about self-touch. Masturbation. It’s a topic that so many parents tell me they have trouble with – especially when they think about their little girl having big girl desires. 😳
But let me help reduce some of the awkwardness by reminding you that your adolescent is already aware that touching her own genitals feels great. She’s known since she was a baby.
We tend to smile knowingly when our babies discover their genitals during diaper changes. And I’ve definitely laughed with other moms over the ways we discovered our preschoolers asleep with their favorite lovie stuffed in their underwear. 🧸
Little kids are unapologetic about the pleasure of masturbation (that’s why we had to teach them where and when it’s appropriate).
It’s a self-soothing behavior for children.
It’s the same for adolescents, and it only becomes awkward if we make it that way. So I encourage you to have a matter-of-fact conversation about it with your budding teen.
No, you don’t have to teach them HOW.
You don’t even have to encourage it.
But I do suggest that you have a conversation about it so you can acknowledge that it’s normal, offer permission, and reassure her that she should have no embarrassment about exploring her body in a way that feels good to her.
As my own daughters entered the teen years and began to show interest in romantic affection with a partner, I made a point to tell each one that she could probably make her body feel better sexually than an awkward teenaged partner could – and that it’s perfectly fine and even preferred for her to figure out “those feelings” on her own before letting someone else try to figure it out for her.
It may feel awkward to share that as a parent, but it’s true – so why not reassure her that it’s not only fine, it’s a good idea when sexual desires emerge (which is developmentally NORMAL & EXPECTED).
Girls who grow up feeling aware and informed about their bodies and how they work have greater confidence and feel more agency over their own bodies as they enter future relationships. 💪🏼
Did you know Girlology has grade-by-grade playlists listing on-demand video and downloadable content to support her and you through the entire journey? Learn More