miss phoenix's picture

so last night when we were reading before bed DD (almost 4) kept fiddling around and rubbing her crotch so i asked her why and she said "because i like to. it feels all smudgey and good."

i totally didn't expect to have to be giving my three year old a talk about masturbation. i told her that most of us think it feels good to touch our vaginas and penises and it's nice to do sometimes, but that it's a private thing and it can make other people uncomfortable if we do it around them. i told her she can do it whenever she wants as long as it's in private, and she was like "oh, okay." and we moved on and finished the book.

i'm not worried about it, but it totally throws me off that she discovered this so early. i don't think i realized i could make good stuff happen down there until i was 8 or 9. it's inevitable, kids become sexual beings eventually, but damn...nobody told me that some of the dora the explorer set like to touch themselves. i looked it up online out of curiosity and was shocked to see how many people were worried about it and looking for ways to make their young daughters stop touching themselves. i was also surprised at how many people commented that they think it's a symptom of sexual abuse. my instinct was that it's just a normal part of development, nothing to be concerned about at all.

just curious and looking for some hip mama input about this. would you be worried in this case?


maggles's picture
Submitted by maggles on

btw my son was very sexual around age 3 - 4.5. I was worried. posted on here. some peeps sent me worrisome feedback that i should be concerned, yada yada. his dad tried to tell me not to let him have his "little mermaid book" that was a visual connection at the time, even in private. i put boundaries around it- it's private, in your room, not when people are over, etc. he totally handled it, would say"I'm going to have some quiet time" once in awhile for awhile (once a week?). it has now happened maybe once every six mos. they go through sexual discovcery then, then in latency years it abates, then resurges. i wish i had not sweated it.

best to you and your fully alive child, a good thing.

cricketsong's picture

LOVE her description. That is so delightful.

I wouldn't be worried, and btw you handled it really respectfully. Babies and toddlers often do this...isn't there some suggestion that it happens in utero, even?

I prefer to think of it as sensual discovery, not sexual - cos sexual has soooo many adult connotations around it that can make it tricky.

And you *might* have discovered that earlier for yourself, but forgotten, or had it handled differently by your parents and so stopped.

The connection with sexual abuse has been taken very much out of context. I'm not aware of any literature that says that kind of play - in the absence of any other factors, and happily engaged with oneself/innocently done in front of a safe person, e.g. you - is indicative of sexual abuse...

Will be interesting to hear if anyone knows otherwise.

But yeah, in the meantime, relax and be happy with your girl's comfort/delight in her body, and confident in your parenting...

sunflower's picture
Submitted by sunflower on

I just took my psych shelf (end of rotation) exam, and one of the sections was on sexuality. It is completely normal for a child to masturbate (i.e. touch their genitalia for pleasure, not necessarily to orgasm) as early as age one.

Don't sweat it. Sounds like you handled it like a pro.

Sunflower the unflower

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