**One of the most frequently asked questions I get revolves around masturbation, or young children who have explored their body and now have a habit of stimulating themselves.  These parents believe that masturbation and habitual self-stimulation is not a form of healthy sexuality.  Mental and other health professionals have varying opinions on this topic.  All parents are entitled to their own beliefs.  This page discusses how to discourage self-stimulation, if you do not agree with this position, feel free to skip this post.**

While there is much to discuss on this topic, today’s questions is:

How do I explain that habitual self-stimulation is not a part of healthy sexuality when my young child says “it feels good?”

I like using analogies to help young children understand complex or difficult topics.  Self-stimulation can seem tricky, since with young children they are not masturbating or arousing themselves sexually, but it does feel good.  Help your child consider that sometimes things that are not okay may still seem fun, or feel good.  It may be helpful to talk about picking your nose, or stealing and eating a chocolate cake.

“What if someone thought it was super fun to pick their nose and it tasted super yummy to eat their boogers?  Would that make it okay, just because they liked it?  No.  How about stealing and eating a chocolate cake?  Is that okay?  No.  But what if it tasted amazing and you really wanted to, is it okay then?  No.  You’re right.  Some things may seem fun or feel good, but just because we think they are doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do.

God gave us our bodies as a special gift and He wants us to use our bodies in the way He has designed them to be used.  It feels good to touch yourself there (your vulva/penis) because your body is preparing to be a good husband/wife and father/mother.  That is the time God has designed those special parts of our body to be used.  [If the child is very young and you have not explained the process of sex yet:  When you get older we will teach you more about this.]  So even if it feels good, it is important to do what God asks—which is to save those feelings for later/marriage—because He is the one who gave us our bodies and teaches us about taking care of them.”