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We can’t address touch and sexual desire without talking about the M word. Although most parents will cringe (or even stop reading right here!) at the thought of discussing masturbation with their child, most children have already discovered it to some degree.

You can ease into the conversation by mentioning that babies naturally touch their genitals at diaper changes or bath time because it is a pleasurable sensation and can even be self-soothing. As children get older, they begin to understand the notion of privacy, and they learn to control behaviors that should be kept private (like passing gas, picking their noses, and yes, masturbating).

In adolescence, your child at least deserves a conversation that acknowledges...