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Human Sexuality & Behaviour @ uOttawa

As a part of my human sexuality & behaviour course in Dr. Kleinpatz’s class, at the University of Ottawa, I wrote an essay on a prompt that was given:

Here is the essay from the summer of 2015 in response to the prompt above, with some additions from where my mind is at now.

PSY 3122 A — University of Ottawa

Masturbation in adolescence is a natural exploration of one’s own sexuality. Seeing how your son is starting to explore this side of himself at the age of 12, this age falls completely in line with the rest of the male population in Western society. It seems that you are aware that your child must feel comfortable enough with his parents to talk to them about sexually related experiences that he is going through. An important aspect the parents must remember of adolescent development and the ideal progression of male sexual maturation are to acquire and implement proper child rearing techniques (ie. lifestyle) that instill within the boy an ever expanding intuitive moral compass & sense of empowerment. This helps facilitate open, clear, and honest communication between the child and the parent.

Adolescent sexuality must be dealt with carefully. A child’s mind is very perceptive and receptive to minute emotions that the parents elicit. Adults often don’t realize the influence they exert over adolescents; they should use their power for positive youth development (Clary, 2006). Being the adult, you must never make the child feel inadequate or evoke feelings of shame or guilt in regards to sexuality (Aneja, 2015). That means, if you as the parent feels shameful or have feelings of guilt when it comes to masturbation or sexuality, intuitively that will transfer to your child, whether or not if it is verbalized. The home environment of the child must be conducive to open communication in regards to the subject of sexuality. The most important thing that you can do is to meet the child at his level of understanding and view the world from his perspective. Be compassionate in that regard. As a parent you are naturally empathic towards your child.

“…programs promote positive youth development when they instill in youth attributes of competence, such as self-efficacy, resilience, or social, cognitive, behavioural, and moral competence, attributes of confidence, such as self-determination and a clear and positive identity; attributes of social connection, such as bonding; and attributes of character, such as spirituality and a belief in the future…” (Catalano et al., 1999)

Open communication is the central aspect of healthy sexual development. There should not be anything that is off limits to talk about within the household. The parents need to communicate to the child by not just making empty promises or saying that it is okay to about anything, however, by actually fostering a lifestyle themselves that exemplifies and embodies authentic communication. There is a vast and intuitively noticeable difference between just saying you are allowed to talk about anything and actual honest and authentic communication, both verbal and non-verbal. A child’s sexual development will be proportional to the degree of sexual development to that of the parents, because that is where he or she will learn the majority of their decision making when it comes to sexuality (Wang, 2013).Your boy may need you to approach him at his level of communication and you should be able compassionately to guide his sexual curiosity to that where it makes sense and fits in with his world view and sexual script. His sexual script can be whatever he may identify with in relation to the people around him and society overall. Subsequently while still providing valuable advice and experiences you have learned from in your past.

As a by-product of open communication, sexual risk can be mitigated. Sexual discovery in adolescence can be a wonderful journey and open communication can help facilitate that. As a parent you can help mitigate sexual risk through sexual communication (Margaretha, 2015). As a result, sexual communication can not only help the child when it comes to his own sexuality, but also allows him to be more aware of the risk he may face in the future, such as unplanned pregnancies and contracting sexual diseases. According to a study done on parental monitoring and communication, “Parents have an opportunity to play an important role in preventing their youth from engaging in risky behaviour during this critical period of early to middle adolescence by providing constructive parental monitoring and effective parent-youth communication” (Wang, 2013). Parent — adolescent sexual communication is where parents can educate and help socialize their children, and the children can raise any questions or concerns related to sexuality. In the Netherlands, the societal and cultural narratives on adolescent sexuality are vastly more liberal and open-minded than most places in the world, and thus they enjoy the benefit of having the fewest number of unplanned pregnancies and lowest rates of sexual infections (Margaretha, 2015).

Sexual communications, social anxiety, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction are very closely linked (Monetsi, 2011). When masturbation is considered by both the child and parents to be a healthy response to sexual development, it will benefit the child in many ways. Your son will have lower levels of social anxiety, greater intimacy and sexual satisfaction in the future if he is able to adopt and embody an honest and authentic dialog pertaining to his sexuality.

As you can see masturbation in adolescence is a complicated subject to navigate and must be approached with care as a parent. Being the parent you must first be aware of all the intricacies that come with masturbation and how it affects the person physically, but more so, psychologically, and to not pervert it with pornography. To allow your son to properly expand his sexual awareness, you must question your parenting style so as to not impose feelings of guilt or shame around any form of healthy sexual expression. Authentic and open communication between you and your child is the most important facet that will help your son answer any questions that he may be searching for. It is your job to inform him when he is seeking for that knowledge.

UPDATE FROM 04–05–2022:

The average human, in the West, in 2022 masturbates roughly 7–10+times per week. A book published in 1984, written by Mantak Chia & Michael Winn, in the Kinsey report, the average North American man or woman masturbates approximately 10,000+ in their lifetimes. If we live for roughly 80 years, that’s an ejaculation once every 2-3 days. However, that number has increased dramatically due to the rise in pornographic material on Earth, especially online. Check the numbers. Check the stats. Porn on a screen leads to one thing and one thing only, orgasm. Don’t tempt your genitalexics. The younger you are, the more likely you are to masturbate. The older you are, the less likely. All I can say is that the West needs to update their sexual script, take a look at the East — India. A glimpse into the Kamasutra will open your eyes to sacred & ancient sexual practices, or dip your feet in with Tantra first if the sutras are too taboo at first glance.

Citations & References:

PSY3122 — HUMAN SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR

Aneja, J. Grover, S., Avasthi, A. , Mahajan, S. Pokhrel, P., & Triveni, D. (2015). Can Masturbatory Guilt Lead to Severe Pyschopathology: A Case Series. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 37(1), 81–86. doi:10.4103/0253–7176.150848

Chesser, E. (1972). Reich and sexual freedom. London: Vision Press

Clary, E. Gil, Rhodes, Jean E. (2006). Mobilizing Adults for Positive Youth Development: Strategies for Closing the Gap between Beliefs and Behaviors. The Research Institute

Davis, Maxine, (1958). Sex and the adolescent: A guide for young people and their parents., (pp. 79–91). New York, NY, US: The Dial Press, 217 pp.

Kühn S, Gallinat J. (2014) Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn . JAMA Psychiatry. 2014; 71(7):827–834. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93.

Laier, C., Schulte, F. P. , & Brand, M. (2013). Pornographic Picture Processing Interferes with Working Memory Performance. Journal of Sex Research, 50(7), 642–652. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.716873

Montesi, J., Conner, B., Gordon, E., Fauber, R., Kim, K., & Heimberg, R. (2013). On the relationship among social anxiety, intimacy, sexual communication, and sexual satisfaction in young couples. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 42(1), 81–91. doi:10.1007/s10508–012–9929–3

Sun, Chyng, Bridges, Ana, Johnason, Jennifer, & Ezzell, Matt. (2014) Pornography and the male sexual script: An analysis of consumption and sexual relations.

Wang, B., Stanton, B., Li, X., Cottrell, L., Deveaux, L., & Kaljee, L. (2013). The influence of parental monitoring and parent-adolescent communication on bohemian adolescent risk involvement: A three-year longitudinal examination. Social Science & Medicine, 97(Complete), 161–169. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.08.013

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Ashish Darji

Ashish Darji peripherally internal | BSc Honours Double Major Biochemistry & Computer Science. Brahminmaxin’ out.