Toddlers do masturbate!

Masturbation: all kids do it. They might not know what they are doing but they definitely know that it feels good and that they probably will do it again.

Actress Lena Dunham recently released a very controversial memoir. The title of the book is Not That Kind of Girl.

If you  haven't heard about it, it’s a compilation of stories about her growing up, things she faced as a kid and how she dealt with them and learned from them. 

At one stage in the book she talks about kids discovering themselves sexually, this happens so often it’s not even weird to think about any more. But what sparked the uneasiness was the story she wrote about how she used to masturbate as a little girl. She didn't know that’s what it was; she was basically just exploring her body. 

The story gets a little more uneasy; one night while lying next to her one-year-old sister, seven-year-old Lena masturbated. 

With or without you knowing, your child might be doing it too. Whether they’re exploring their own bodies their friend or sister’s body, they possibly are doing it. 

Makes you feel just a little uneasy? 

According to the Telegraph, child psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew says that this is completely normal. She also says that it’s a way that they find out about the world and how they fit in it. 

She later explains that it feels comfortable to them and that it rarely has a sexual element to it. All kids are basically after is that “good feeling” – it’s completely harmless. 

It’s about discovering new parts of their body as well. My nephew of three years old plays with his penis as well. While he’s watching cartoons you’ll see his hands wander and although we tell him not to, he eventually ends up with his hands in his pant. Though it's not masturbation as we know it, it still is called that. 

Each to his own of course, I mean I'm sure there are parents who feel uncomfortable at the thought of their kids messing with their private parts and some just feel it’s part of growing up.

This comes with being a kid; remember playing ‘doctor doctor’ and ‘mommy and daddy’, it’s really the same thing; well sort of. Small children do need to be taught hygiene, though, so even if you understand that the 'self-touching' is just play, it's still a good idea to remind your child about washing hands and other hygiene rules. In addition, other parents may not be as understanding, so your child does need to learn that it's not appropriate to touch other children in this way.

The point I'm trying to make is that, don’t be frazzled when your kid starts discovering themselves, it’s most likely their curiosity that's just getting the better of them. Its nature and it’s supposed to happen. If you feel uncomfortable with it, teach them not to and they will stop- until they’re old enough of course.

Does your toddler play with his/her penis/vagina? How do you feel about it?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24