The Teen Doctor

Answers to your questions about adolescents

I Walked in on My Teen Masturbating

I don't know how to handle my teen's masturbating

Dar Dr. G.,

I have an embarrassing situation going on in my home. My son is 15 and during the past month I have walked in to my home while he was masturbating in the living room on one occasion and just yesterday he fell asleep after doing it on his bed with the door open. I am noticing lotion or spray on his shirts etc. I don't know how to handle this. Should I just let this go for now or confront him about it? 

Anonymous

 

Dear Mother, 

You ask some very sensitive and thoughtful questions. First, it is normal for your teenage son to be exploring his sexuality by masturbating. I can assure you that he is in the good and plentiful company of teens everywhere. Like you I am concerned that he is doing this publicly in the living room and in his bedroom with the door open.

I do think that you must talk to him but obviously not in a way that shames and embarrasses him but rather in a way that educates him. In a calm and sensitive manner,sensitive to his budding sexuality, talk to him about how masturbation is normal but that it is a private behavior and that he should confine it to private spaces with the door closed. Let him know that you will knock on his bedroom door before entering to ensure his privacy.

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I am not sure why he is masturbating in public parts of the house. Is it possible that he wants feedback about whether or not his behavior is normal or that he simply hasn't learned about "masturbation etiquette?"

He may be using the lotion as a lubricant and perhaps the spray is his best attempt to remove stains. I am not sure but I don't think that it is necessary to inquire about this.

Good luck as you approach this very sensitive topic. 

My Best,

Dr. G.

For more articles like this please look at my websites:

http://www.drbarbaragreenberg.com/index.html

Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents.

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