Moms in Babeland

Q: How do I talk to my 5-year-old about masturbation?

Amy Lang, MA answers the Moms in Babeland’s questions about talking to kids about sex. She appears as part of our celebration of National Family Sex Education Month.

Q: How do I talk to my 5-year-old about masturbation? He loves to rub himself in public and I don’t want to stigmatize the act, but I want him to learn what’s appropriate.

Amy: He’s old enough now to know that people don’t touch their privates in public. I’m assuming he’s doing this at home — and it’s developmentally appropriate for both boys and girls — so you need to start there. And then be consistent when he’s doing it.

Say to him: “Hey! I know it feels good to touch your penis and it’s fine to do that, but you need to go in the bedroom or the bathroom when you do. Other people feel uncomfortable when someone’s doing that.”

Keep reminding him, lovingly, until he’s found some other way to self soothe! If none of this is working, talk to a professional. Stop it Now! will have some help for you.

Have an anecdote or a comment about talking to your kids about sex? You can win prizes by posting comments on Moms in Babeland during October. Details.

Amy Lang, MA Guest Blogger
A sexual health educator for over 20 years, Amy Lang teaches parents and other folks how to talk to kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She is the author of the Mom’s Choice Award®  winning Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships and The Ask ANYTHING Journal. She created the lively and engaging video Birds + Bees + Kids: The Basics so parents can learn how to talk to their kids about sex and values without leaving the couch! Sign up for her newsletter and teleclasses at

Related posts:

  1. Q: What should I do when my 12-year-old asks me invasive questions about my sex life?
  2. Q: Both my girls get all grossed out when I try to use sex terms. How can I help them get more comfortable with the subject?
  3. Q: At what age is it OK to tell my daughter where the stash of condoms is and invite her to use them?
  4. Q: I don’t want to make heterosexual intercourse the definition of “sex.” To me oral, anal, hand jobs, same gender sex: it’s all equally part of the deal. So how do I present it that way?
  5. Q: When (if ever) should I show my child a photograph of an aroused adult, or of adults having sex?

topics: Parenting

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