Sex With Emily - Best Of: How to Talk to Teens About Sex

Episode Date: June 11, 2024

QUESTION: If you’re a parent or caregiver, should you talk to your child about masturbation? I say absolutely! Even if it feels like you’re navigating a minefield, and even if your own parents lef...t you in the dark (because let’s face it, they probably did), I get it – finding the right words can be trickier than solving a Rubik’s Cube. That’s why today’s episode is your ultimate guide, packed with tools, scripts, and resources to help you tackle this touchy topic with confidence and maybe even a little humor. In a couple years, your kid will thank you! In this episode you’ll learn:  Why should you talk to your children, and teens specifically, about masturbation The truth behind masturbation myths  Specific verbiage to make these uncomfortable sex talks a little easier Show Notes: Join me for a Sexual Wellness Weekend in Canyon Ranch! Take the SWE Listener Survey Here! The Communication Guide (And Other Guides) SHOP WITH EMILY! (free shipping on orders over $99) For a limited time, you can save 20% off sitewide at with promo code: SEXWITHEMILY The only sex book you’ll ever need: Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure Want more? Sex With Emily: Home Let’s get social: Instagram | X | Facebook | TikTok  Let’s text: Sign Up Here Want me to slide into your inbox? Sign Up Here for sex tips on the regular. See the full show notes at

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Most of you are not going to get addicted to masturbation. As far as frequency, some people masturbate often, every day, more than once a day. Some people masturbate once a week, every few weeks, every now and then. Some people never masturbate and listen. That's fine too. I'm not a masturbation pusher, I just want you to be informed. All of these are totally normal. And masturbation only becomes too much, or you could use the word addicted if you'd like.
Starting point is 00:00:25 If there's consequences, if it gets in the way of your job, your responsibilities, your social life, your relationships, that's how we know there's a problem. You're listening to Sex with Emily. I'm Dr. Emily, and I'm here to help you prioritize your pleasure and liberate the conversation around sex. If you're a parent or caregiver, should you talk to your child about masturbation? Yes, you absolutely should, even if it's awkward, and even if your own parents didn't talk about it with you.
Starting point is 00:00:51 And let's be real, they probably didn't. But I get it. Finding the words can be hard, especially for such a touchy subject. Well, that's why today's episode is devoted entirely to giving you tools, scripts, and resources to help you. First, I give you the big why. Like, why should you talk to your children and teens specifically about masturbation?
Starting point is 00:01:10 Well, I give you several science-backed reasons why it's wise to do so. Next, we'll do some masturbation myth-busting to help alleviate any concerns on their part or yours. You know, that it's harmful or unhealthy. And great news, it's not. And finally, I'll walk you through how to have this conversation
Starting point is 00:01:27 with specific verbiage you can use to help put yourself and your child at ease. And don't worry caregivers, I got you. And in this episode, I'll also answer your questions about teens and sex. Should you talk to your teen about ethical porn? What should you do if your teen daughter starts asking for sex toys?
Starting point is 00:01:46 All this and more on today's show. Please rate and review Sex with Emily. Wherever you listen to the show, it just takes a few seconds. You can do it right now. Because when you do that, it helps get the show out to more people and you can even subscribe to the show.
Starting point is 00:01:59 We love it. You can also find me on all social media, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook. It's all at Sex With Emily. Don't forget to check out my new articles, How to Have or Give a Nipplegasm and How to Do Light Bondage. Those are up on along with all of our other articles. Check them out.
Starting point is 00:02:16 Okay, one more quick thing before we get into the episode. I'm so excited to announce that I'm doing something for the very first time and I hope you're going to join me. So I'm hosting an intimate women's retreat at Cannon Ranch Wellness Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona. It's coming up, it's June 27th to June 30th, 2024. So we're gonna spend four days and three nights together where I'm gonna answer all of your questions in person.
Starting point is 00:02:38 I'm so excited to meet you and have intimate discussions throughout the weekend about pleasure and sexuality, sexual intelligence. We'll have a special retail pop-up experience. We'll have cocktails. I'll also have all my favorite product recommendations. And I just hope you're going to join me. You can also experience all of Canyon Ranch's incredible offerings. They have over 200 wellness classes, courses, fitness journeys, all the things you want to do are at Canyon Ranch. So please join me. I'm gonna put a link in the show notes
Starting point is 00:03:07 and you can also find more information at slash live. That's slash live and I just can't wait to see you there. All right, everyone, enjoy this episode. To all the women who wanna spice things up this summer, I've got a suggestion. Do it with Promessence Warming Arousal Gel. Okay, imagine this.
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Starting point is 00:04:26 discreet delivery. Permessent is your one-stop shop for leveling up in the bedroom. That's slash Emily and get ready for pleasure. By now, you've probably heard my magic wand story. It's a brand that's been part of my personal journey for more than 20 years. But no matter how many times I sing magic wand's praises, I'll never be able to fully capture the story of this incredible brand. Well now, journalist and author Kate Sloan just completed a limited audio series documenting
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Starting point is 00:05:30 or on all popular podcast platforms. Just search for Making Magic or visit today. Today's show is about talking to your teens, kids about masturbation. So first let's just start why this conversation could be beneficial and I would argue is beneficial. So why talk to your teen about masturbation? And remember any teen in your life. It could be your child, it could be your niece, your nephew, your neighbor. And here's why. When we open up this conversation about masturbation, we're going to take away all that secrecy and
Starting point is 00:06:15 shame that a lot of us still harbor till this day around masturbation. So the goal of this is to help your teen understand that masturbation is just a normal, healthy behavior without shame. And for them to understand a positive goal of this is to help your teen understand that masturbation is just a normal, healthy behavior without shame. And for them to understand a positive understanding of self-touch is truly one of the best ways to help young people get to know their bodies so when they do become sexually active, more sexually active as adults, they'll just have more information and they'll be able to have much more healthier, communicative sex lives. Which is probably why a lot of you are listening to the show now. So I want
Starting point is 00:06:49 to help you bridge this gap. A lot of us were never talking about masturbation. So that's why we're doing this show here because listen, they're going to masturbate. So many studies have shown that girls and boys start masturbating between 13 and 14 and some a lot younger than that. But regardless of when they start, talking about masturbation with your child just helps to further normalize it so they don't feel like it's a dirty shameful thing that they have to hide. Which is side note why there's a lot of penis owners who are premature ejaculators because perhaps they were masturbating in the shower and
Starting point is 00:07:20 they felt like their mother was always gonna walk in or it was a very secretive thing or young women talk about their first masturbation experience was like rubbing against their stuffed animal. And again, that starts with shame. So the earlier we can talk about it, the better we can make this a healthy activity. So when we also talk to our teens about masturbation, this opens the floor to talk about other related topics
Starting point is 00:07:39 like sex, consent, and pleasure. So maybe I could think of this masturbation conversation like an on-ramp to other important conversation highways. There's a great group called Sex Positive Families and the founder explained the benefits of talking to young people about masturbation. Just simply when young people are more informed and confident about their bodies,
Starting point is 00:08:03 they are better positioned to advocate for consensual, safer, and more pleasurable sex as adults. And we do know that masturbation is the safest sex there is out there. So going back to sex consent and pleasure, if we talk about our sex education right now in the States, most places we mostly just talk about sexual health. Don't get pregnant, don't get an STD, but in places where they do teach comprehensive sex ed, this is what they talk about sex, consent, pleasure. So let's get into it. I think there is a fear talking to our teens about masturbation because we just think well it's a gateway. It's a slippery slope. I talked about
Starting point is 00:08:39 masturbation today and tomorrow they're gonna be pregnant and having orgies. So what we do instead is a lot of parents default to silence. We just we don't want to be open with them and a lot of times you don't even know what to say. But remember when we have this conversation you're helping your child lay the foundation for healthy sex practices going forward. Let's talk about porn for example. So many teens are raised with a smartphone in their hand or an iPad in their hand. So that means their arousal inputs came at a very young age and their arousal inputs might include porn and social media and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents are exposed to
Starting point is 00:09:17 14,000 sexual references a year in media. Whether or not they're even watching porn and I am NOT here at all to demonize porn but I just want you to note this that if mainstream porn is their first or primary form of sex ed it just might be an unrealistic picture of what part of sex is supposed to look like and then if consequences they just didn't intend. What I mean by this is let's say they're only seeing porn and so they're seeing a lot of heterosexual acts, sex only one way, they're not seeing the warm-up, the lubrication, the foreplay that talks about consent, the starting, the stopping, and so if they're not hearing anything about what real sex actually is, they're making assumptions that every sexual
Starting point is 00:10:00 image they've seen, 14,000, is actually what sex is. So you now get to give them the facts and a place to turn. And they do have questions. So let's talk about consent for a minute. So another reason to talk to your kids is to make sure they understand the concepts of affirmative consent and unsafe touch. And teaching them what words to use when communicating what they want
Starting point is 00:10:24 is a critical life skill beyond sex. Just knowing what they want and what feels good. And then being able to tell someone that is what I talk to a lot of you about every day as fully formed adults. Now some schools are starting to teach affirmative consent, but here's a basic overview. How we teach consent is that it must be informed, voluntary, and active. So remember IVA, meaning that through the demonstration of clear words or actions, a person has indicated permission, has given permission to engage in a mutually agreed upon sexual encounter. So in other words, rather than reading your no, listen for a
Starting point is 00:11:05 yes before you participate in sexual acts. So an example of consent might be, I want to do this right now. And non-consent is, I want to do this but not right now. Or no, I don't want to do this. So just teaching your teen how to give and receive affirmative consent and communicate about their sex and their bodies is laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthier and safer relationships. Now how they're teaching this in schools is kids like as young as kindergarten are told that you have to ask permission for a hug or a permission to hold someone's hand. We're just talking about touch. We're talking about do you want to be touched right
Starting point is 00:11:40 now? Is it okay? This is where you might be seeing this in schools right now is teaching consent at younger and younger ages, which I think is really important and setting our kids up for success. Now pleasure. Let's talk about the pleasure piece. There's a reason why self-pleasure is synonymous with masturbation is because it feels so good. So when we bring up any masturbation conversation and we talk about touch, it can help children better understand consent, masturbation, and pleasure. If you have younger children, you can help them start to build an awareness of what tactile
Starting point is 00:12:13 pleasure feels like. So you could say something like, when you're at the beach, do you like how the sand feels on your toes? I do, it tickles. Or the breeze on your face. What does that feel like? So using feeling words with your kids and saying, how does something feel?
Starting point is 00:12:28 Does it feel good? Does it feel bad? You can also talk to your children for hugs. So, you know, when they're too young, this is another way to model consent. Like I said, may I hug you right now? If they say no, I don't want to hug, then you respect their wishes.
Starting point is 00:12:39 Now this speaks volumes to a child that they get to say yes or no, receiving touch from other people. And I know this has been controversial. and I just mentioned they do this in some schools right now. I remember a friend of mine was doing this with her child at a young age like, do you want me to change your diaper? And I think that there was a controversy and people are like, oh, that's a crazy thing.
Starting point is 00:12:55 And I understand this is not something that is very well understood and you get to do this at whatever age you want with your kid and enact any of these things. But I'm trying to drill down for you why we do it. We do it so we can all have agency over our own bodies, our own decisions. And I can just tell even in talking to you about this, I so wish I knew more about this when I was younger. I could actually decide what felt good because then I wouldn't have had years of performative sex and faking orgasms and pretending things were okay when they weren't. That's why this talk, well, it's a lot that you might not have thought about or covered before
Starting point is 00:13:33 why it's so crucial to start having these conversations. And as your kids get older, you'll start having these more direct conversations around masturbation and addressing the pleasure component. Remember, when we're talking about masturbation, the reason why we masturbate is because it releases all these feel-good chemicals in the brain. You might see anything less clinical than that. You know, you'd have to say it so you could say masturbation is one of the many things people do for pleasure and
Starting point is 00:13:56 self-care and it's totally normal, safe, and healthy to enjoy it. And tone is everything here. I'm going to give you scripts momentarily, but it's your delivery. So make sure it feels authentic to you. So remember why we're having this conversation. It's going to create a larger dialogue around sexuality, consent, and pleasure with your teen in your life. And by sharing what you know, you're letting them know that they've got healthy options for sexual exploration. And that not everything they see online is how sex is supposed to go down. So let's get into masturbation myths and facts. So you probably know what masturbation is.
Starting point is 00:14:35 But let's say your child walks up to you and says, what's masturbation? Here's some words you can borrow. Masturbation is when people touch their bodies for sexual pleasure. Usually it's their genitals, but you can explore other areas. Now sometimes there's an orgasm, sometimes not. And what an orgasm is, it's going to feel really, really good. It's a spasm of your pelvic floor muscles. But if you don't have one right away, not to worry. The main goal when you're starting out is to explore and enjoy because it feels good. It's a pleasure. The reason why adolescents and teens are going to experiment sexually whether or not their parents say it's okay is because of puberty. And puberty as we know is a time when your reproductive system
Starting point is 00:15:15 is mature, there's hormonal changes in the body, you might notice you know young people experiencing wet dreams, you know when they go through puberty we all know what that is. So that's gonna happen. Also, you might be thinking, well, my child, they were had their hands on their pants when they were a toddler, two, three years old. That happens as well way before puberty. There's a lot of people who masturbate a really young age. I know I mean people like three years old, they remember rubbing on their stuffed animal or you know you might notice your kids masturbating too, putting their hands on their pants a lot. When they're that young, just know that that's okay too,
Starting point is 00:15:56 nothing to shame them about, but it's a self-soothing. It feels good to rub against a stuffed animal. You know for vulva owners, they might start to feel something at a young age. And for young penis owners, putting their hands on their genitals. So it's common. It happens way before the age of 10. So here we're talking about puberty, you know, when you're going to have the conversation. But I also want to note, and this is a really important note, that if you do see your kids at young ages, toddlers, three, four years old, with their hands on their pants and touching themselves.
Starting point is 00:16:25 You could say, yes, that does feel good, sweetie. I know it feels good. And just remember that's only something that you should do. I don't want anyone else to be touching you there. And let's do it in private. You know, like we eat our meals in the kitchen and we watch TV in the living room and you touch your body in your bedroom, all right?
Starting point is 00:16:42 And whatever it is, whenever they do it, whenever they're touching their genitals, no matter what age they are, remember, my whole goal here is for you to support them, not shame them and teach them healthy behaviors around self-touch and self-pleasure. Now, I get so many emails and calls from college students and even older adults. Sometimes they're asking the same questions and they're concerned that they're harming themselves in some ways if they masturbate. Let's put a few fears to rest, right? And I want to arm you with
Starting point is 00:17:09 some knowledge. So a question you might get asked, is masturbation harmful? On one of my podcast, Masturbation Pro Tips Part 1, we talked about all the health effects associated with masturbation and these effects are definitively the opposite of harmful. Here's why we masturbate. It helps you sleep better, boost your immune system, strengthens your pelvic floor muscles, and for the purpose of this conversation,
Starting point is 00:17:37 it allows you to explore pleasure and fantasy in a private, safe context. Another question, is it sinful or wrong to masturbate? Well you get to decide what's sinful but here's what's healthy and true. In addition to the health benefits you just heard, masturbation has been shown to increase self-esteem and body image, reduce stress, elevate your mood and help you understand your sexual wants and needs. So if all those things fit into your value system, well, I think we have the answer here. Masturbation is here to complement your values.
Starting point is 00:18:11 Can I get addicted to masturbation? Short answer here, no. I also touched on this in my masturbation pro tip episodes, but just suffice it to say you're not going to get addicted. Now, you could get habituated to a certain grip, a certain toy, a certain input, you know, like porn, but mostly you're not going to get addicted to masturbation. As far as frequency, some people masturbate often, every day, more than once a day. Some people masturbate once a week, every few weeks, every now and then.
Starting point is 00:18:36 Some people never masturbate and listen. That's fine too. I'm not a masturbation pusher. I just want you to be informed. All of these are totally normal. And masturbation only becomes too much or you could use the word addicted if you'd like. If there's consequences, if it gets in the way of your job, your responsibilities, your social life, your relationships, that's how we know there's a problem.
Starting point is 00:18:55 But most of us are not going to experience that. A lot of us have problems with masturbation right now because we have shame around it, which is what we're trying to get rid of. The last question is, will it desensitize my clitoris if I use a vibrator? Again, this is a no. Now if anything, here's the thing with a vibrator, it wakes up more neural pathways to pleasure. Because remember this,
Starting point is 00:19:13 some of these toys are able to access deeper, more internal nerve writings than a hand or a penis or anything else alone could access. So remember that, it's not that it's a substitute for it or it's a lesser kind of pleasure because you use something that vibrates or you use something external. I don't know where these messages came out
Starting point is 00:19:33 that it has to only be genitals or hands that are gonna give us pleasure. Not true. So you know how I feel about toys and loot. So now you know how to answer the top masturbation questions and dispel some of the information your kids might have heard. So how the hell do you kick off this conversation?
Starting point is 00:19:47 And I want to remind you, the sex talk is not reserved for a singular moment and it should be treated as a long-term ongoing conversation. It's not just one thing like here's the talk and then we're done, check it off the list. So when it comes to ideas for starting the conversation, here's what you can do. First set aside time to talk to your teen alone. And you wanna approach them in the calm, open manner. You might wanna use my timing, tone, and turf advice about having healthy conversations
Starting point is 00:20:14 or difficult conversations. The timing's important when you're hanging out with your teen in a good location and a good place. You're both connecting. There's not a lot of tension or stress. Your tone is light and curious. And on the turf is, for this case, is anywhere that you feel that it's a neutral territory. Maybe you're going for a walk, you're in the car, you're sitting at the dinner table.
Starting point is 00:20:34 It's important to use medically correct names for body parts. The penis, the vulva, the clitoris, and avoid using euphemisms like your hoo-ha, your happy place, your private parts because this is just going to perpetuate the idea that sex, masturbation, and our genitals are slightly shameful. We shouldn't discuss them openly so I'm gonna say your private parts and listen I was out with some friends the other night and they were talking about their kids and they were saying something about their private parts. That's what we do. Most of us default towards private parts. Hoo-ha, you know, the part that shall not be named.
Starting point is 00:21:06 We don't actually name the parts. We are starting a conversation that's just based in shame because they feel like if I can't name it, there must be something wrong with it. So that's why it's really important to use the names. But that's where you're gonna do it differently. You already got this. So now you set up a certain time,
Starting point is 00:21:23 you know how to use the body parts. Be direct with your teen about the purpose of the conversation so it might sound like this. Hey I want to talk to you about masturbation. I know this is one of those topics that might make you a little more nervous especially coming from me I know awkward but I want to talk to you about it because masturbation is a healthy part of your sexuality and then you can explain what you're learning here doesn't have any negative side effects. You could reference all the myth-busting we just did. Even play this episode for them. I would love if you listened to this episode with your team.
Starting point is 00:21:54 Sample script might sound like, listen, even though masturbation is normal, it's not going to harm you. It's a little bit like being given the keys to a car without driver's education. So I'm going to give you some information to help you better understand normal healthy masturbation. Because if you think about that's what we're really doing now with our kids and sex. We're not having these conversations where while they're hearing till the age of 18 I'm saying this is the majority of people they're hearing sex in the future is gonna be this really cool thing. When I learn to drive it's gonna be really cool right? When I learn to drive, it's going to be really cool, right?
Starting point is 00:22:26 Can't wait to get my driver's license. Can't wait to have sex. But all I know about sex is I might get pregnant. Might get someone pregnant. It's shameful. It's wrong. I should do it in a private place. I can't talk to my parents about it.
Starting point is 00:22:38 So all these years, that's what they're hearing. And then you go off and they go to college or wherever and you know they're having sex, but you still haven't talked to them. It is the same thing as saying, here's the keys, take my car and have a good day. You can let them know that this kind of explanation is private and you'll be respecting their privacy and they don't have to fear a world in which you'll be snooping on them and you're going to bust in their room and you're going to shame them for it. This conversation might sound like, listen, your body is your own.
Starting point is 00:23:07 You get to decide when to touch it. And masturbation is something people usually do in private and you'll want to find a private place, like your bedroom or the shower to explore. And you can also normalize masturbation by sharing your own experiences only if you feel comfortable. And I find this part to be very, very useful. Also, Kay to say here, here listen this is new for me my parents
Starting point is 00:23:28 didn't talk about this I'm sure a lot of your parents friends are not talking to you about this but I want to do it differently. What I have said to young people in my life I didn't learn about masturbation till my 20s and I assume the only way to experience sexual sensations was with a partner. That's why I'm talking to you about it now, because I want to let you know about your options for solo sex. You might share with them that you masturbated in shame. You might share with them that you hid from masturbating or that you felt wrong
Starting point is 00:23:56 about masturbating or whatever messages you heard about it. And you were disappointed because when you finally started masturbating and realizing it was healthy, it was a lot later in life. Right. So just be honest with them about what you know, how you're still learning together. Now, you can allow your child to choose whether or not they wanna talk and reassure them that nothing is wrong
Starting point is 00:24:14 if they've started exploring already. So I get it, your kids might say, Mom, no, mom, dad, I don't wanna hear this, this is gross, don't talk to me about it. But that doesn't mean that you don't keep trying to talk to them again and say, hey, remember that conversation we had? Because this is all about don't talk to me about it. But that doesn't mean that you don't keep trying to talk to them again and say, hey, remember that conversation we had? Because this is all about normalizing it.
Starting point is 00:24:28 I don't accept they're gonna be great mom, I've been waiting for this conversation. Dad, let's have this talk. But that's what we're trying to break through here. And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to set up this so it does become normal. And how things become normalized is by continuing to talk about it.
Starting point is 00:24:44 So another script might look like, listen, if you started exploring already, totally normal. When you hit puberty, your body's going to give you signals that you're ready to develop this part of your health. And my hope for you is that you can explore without shame. And then you can ask your teen if they have any questions about it. And then check in with them later to see if they've got any new questions. It could be next week, next month, but remember it's an ongoing conversation. Now another note is you can create an atmosphere of sex communication by weaving in intentional pop culture references like the show's
Starting point is 00:25:16 Big Mouth and Sex Education. They're both on Netflix. We're gonna put links to a ton of resources in our show notes. Now remember this, sometimes it takes a village approach is the best way because some teens just may not want to talk to their parents about sex and masturbation. That's okay. Because cultivating trusted adults in your life, aunts, uncles, you know adult role models can also help fill this role. I know I do this with my nieces. I've talked to them from a young age, my friends kids, so it's okay to outsource it but I think this will also bring you and your child closer together and you'll feel like you have more
Starting point is 00:25:53 connection, you have more information and you'll be able to be a trusted source for them going forward. We'll be right back after a break for our sponsors but real quick I got to tell you about Just Thrive Probiotic because just like how it can feel daunting to talk to your kids about sex but you have to approach it openly and honestly, well same thing goes for those bedroom conversations. Especially when we're having those awkward moments in the bedroom like gas and bloating and indigestion or when you feel just too sluggish to get it on. Well my secret weapon for combating all those things and a key step in my sexual wellness routine is Just Thrive.
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Starting point is 00:26:44 I've had zero issues, feel way more regular and lighter. I also love their focus gummies, by the way, and I take their probiotic gummies. I love a gummy. With Just Thrive, you're nourishing your gut microbiome and fueling your mind, body, and soul for an enhanced libido, more pleasure, and just wellness all around. You can try Just Thrive 100% risk-free by visiting and entering promo code SEX WITH EMILY at checkout to save 20% on a 90-day bottle of Just Thrive probiotic. That's and enter code SEX WITH EMILY. Or just click the link in the show notes. talk about the ins and outs of intimacy and now it's your turn to spill the tea in a survey form of course. I'm conducting a survey that's all about you and your thoughts on sex with Emily. Why? Because your opinions are the secret
Starting point is 00:27:53 sauce to our success and I'm all about growth both in and out of the bedroom and I'm always looking to expand the SWE brand and your insights are the VIP pass to making that journey even more thrilling. Head over to slash swe and let me know how I can continue to be your go-to source for all things sexy. It's quick, it's easy, and so appreciated. Remember this survey is all about you so don't be shy, get involved, and let's make some magic together. And your responses can remain anonymous. That's slash SWE, or just click the link in our show notes. So keep it hot, keep it honest,
Starting point is 00:28:32 and as always keep it sexy. I cannot wait to hear from you. All right, this email is from Bonnie. Hey Dr. Emily, I'm in the medical field and I have a teenage son getting ready to go to college. I've never really had a sex talk with my son other than to use protection and always have consent. My question is, what's the best way to talk to him about sex?
Starting point is 00:28:58 I want to have a conversation to normalize it for him, teach him not to be a selfish lover and make sure he's taking care of his partner. Any tips? He has one girlfriend and to the best of my knowledge, he's still a virgin. Love your podcast. Thank you." All right. He's going to college and we still think he's a virgin.
Starting point is 00:29:14 All right. Let's talk about this. First, I love that you're asking this question about teaching your son how to become an attentive lover. Let's just add this to the list of things we talk to our kids about. So you listen to the podcast and you know how important it is to educate ourselves about how to be present and giving and loving partners.
Starting point is 00:29:35 And since we know that so many young people learn about sex through porn or movies, which don't necessarily portray anyone being that attentive or listening or giving pleasure, especially to their Volvo owning partners first. We don't see that. So what might work here is him telling your own story of how you learned how to become an unselfish lover. Was there a time in your life
Starting point is 00:29:57 where you weren't the most giving, where someone wasn't the most giving to you? What does it look like to be selfish versus unselfish or a generous lover? Which I love this conversation for them because then they can really understand what you're talking about. You know, a selfish lover, for example, does the head push, only cares about their orgasm, doesn't care about the orgasm gap, doesn't pay attention to your needs, like that would be selfish. And a generous lover asks questions, pays attention,
Starting point is 00:30:23 cares about your needs, checks in, healthy communication. A lot of this is storytelling, explaining to them what works, what doesn't, what it looks like, being honest and authentic and real and vulnerable and what it looked like for you. And I think if you're having this conversation with them, Bonnie, what a great time to find out if he actually has had sex, if he doesn't have information yet about any of this stuff, it's never too late to even talk to him about masturbation. Why it's important? Why it's healthy? Because the absence of masturbation and sex talks shows up as shame and confusion for most people.
Starting point is 00:30:57 I'm going to say it. Any conversation you can have with him with accurate information right now, Bonnie, will be super helpful as you send him off to college. So great question, thanks Bonnie. This is from Courtney 29 in Australia. Hi Dr. Emily, I have a six year old son who recently discovered that playing with his penis feels good. How could I have the conversation with him
Starting point is 00:31:16 and tell him it's normal, but should be done in private? That it's not only age appropriate, but also explains it's a natural part of life. I definitely don't want to shame him or have him feel what he's doing is wrong, but I want to educate him and normalize sex so it's something he feels comfortable talking about. Thank you. All right, great question and definitely time to start talking about these topics with your child.
Starting point is 00:31:39 So as a reminder, use anatomical terms and give the correct information on sex. So you could say, I notice you touching your penis. I feel that feels good when you touch yourself, but that's something that should be done in private, for example, in your bedroom or in the bathroom. You can let them know that at a young age. Again, you guys, give the food example. You're not handing them a plate of food when you're driving them to school. You're not having your meals in the car.
Starting point is 00:32:02 Masturbation is in the bedroom. So I think that's a great way to teach a six-year-old about the privacy element. You can also touch on consent and let him know that his penis is his own and other people should not be touching it unless it's his doctor. And a reminder, can't say enough, it's an ongoing, not a one-time conversation. So just laying the groundwork and saying what he's doing is okay, meeting where he's at, ask if he has any questions about his penis, and just know that you don't have to discuss it all at once. Keep it simple and come back to the topic at point. Remember be relatable, real, honest, vulnerable,
Starting point is 00:32:38 authentic with your child because they'll know otherwise. They know when you're not being that way, I'll tell you that. This is from Michelle Forte in Oregon. Hey Dr. Emily, my husband and I recently found out that our 14-year-old son is looking at pictures of women on Instagram to masturbate. He has filters on his computer and smartphone, but I'm not too naive to know he can probably work around them. We try to be very sex positive and talk openly about sex and masturbation. I am not against porn, but I understand the challenges that come with it, especially at a young age and with it as available as it is now. Would it be appropriate of us to provide him access to ethical pornography? Are there sites available that have some level of
Starting point is 00:33:16 filters or maybe a magazine? It doesn't seem right to share porn sites with my son, but I also don't want him to be exploring some of the very terrible and degrading stuff that's available. I'm so glad that you're already talking to him openly about sex and masturbation. That's so great because I think this really does start with many conversations. So what he's doing right now is normal. And have you talked to him yet about porn in addition to sex and masturbation? You know, like we've covered, he may have already been exposed to pornographic images and media, so you just want to check in. Does he have any
Starting point is 00:33:47 reactions or thoughts? What are his opinions about the experience? And you can just explain, listen, there's a lot of porn on the internet and there are some issues with the way they depict gender roles. It's more rigid in porn. It's more along gender lines. You know, there's not a lot about consent. Let him know that it is totally normal also to want to look at images as he becomes more interested in sex. But just let him know that if he wants to consume more porn, be helpful to talk to you so you can send him websites that will set him up for success in the future. If you both agree that he should be able to watch
Starting point is 00:34:22 ethical porn, you don't need to watch or show him specific videos. Instead, send him an email or text with the website and login credentials. I have no problem with that. Keep having the conversations with them. You can let them know that looking at porn can become a compulsion for some people. So use his own discretion about the frequency and his intentions behind using it and be an open resource for him. So thanks Michelle for your great question. I just think this is helping so many of our listeners. Thank you. Okay we have Marie. Hi Dr. Emily. I have a question regarding encouraging healthy sexuality with my children, especially my girls 15 and 17. I've encouraged them both to follow your page to learn more
Starting point is 00:35:01 about sex and pleasure and to ask me if they have questions about anything and one girl wants to purchase her first toy. I am torn here. I'm thrilled they're looking to focus on themselves first, versus only focusing on pleasing others, and I fully support self-exploration and learning your body. But I don't know if I feel comfortable purchasing them a toy. I don't know that it's appropriate or legal to take them to a sex shop or even help them choose a first toy.
Starting point is 00:35:25 I'm a cool honest open mom who discusses sexuality and relationships with all my children, but I don't want to do something harmful and appropriate. I don't know what's normal here as I grew up in a very strict religious home where the talk never happened and I was a victim of chronic sexual assault in the home. I don't think I have a solid grasp on what is supportive versus what could be harmful. As far as encouraging my children to do this safely, would love suggestions or tips on how to support my girls and their choices and help them keep safe without crossing lines or inappropriateness. Okay, so first let me say this. I can't speak to the legality of where you live. I do know that my advice here is going to help you wherever anyone lives, Okay? So
Starting point is 00:36:05 first, props to you and being so open with your children on their sexuality. So it sounds like you really have laid the groundwork for discussing healthy sex and masturbation, which seems like you've done this and it's acceptable. I do believe it's acceptable by your daughter, a starter vibe. And so especially having a trusted parent give their daughter a vibrator can give them the level of permission so they don't have negative views around sex. They'll understand their bodies and pleasure, which is not often emphasized in our culture as you know.
Starting point is 00:36:37 What you could try to do will make you feel good about this conversation is give your daughter a spending limit and have her pick it out for herself. You can give her a few options to choose from, pick it out together, or you could select it, you know, and give it to her. But I think it's great for young people to have agency over their first toy. I like the idea of shopping together. I do recommend a small external clitoral vibe to start. You might want to talk to her about how she can use the toy or send her a couple resources like our website and have her explore on her own. So I think you're doing all the right things. Before we leave this, let me just tell you this. There's a great article my friend Ann Hodder who's a sex educator was quoted in and she just said masturbation is a healthy and normal part of growing up.
Starting point is 00:37:20 However, female masturbation remains a taboo subject with many young women growing up to believe it's actually wrong for them to enjoy it or even do it. So like I said, having a trusted parent by it gives them the permission to reframe any negative ideas she may carry about masturbation and significantly reduce the level of shame she feels around her sexuality. It is the first step towards raising a sexually healthy and aware young adult. All right, so you have my permission here, Marie. Keep having the talks and keep being the most excellent loving mother that you are.
Starting point is 00:37:52 All right, that's it for our Teens and Masturbation episode. Before you click away, I'm putting a ton of resources in this episode's show notes, including my favorite books on teens and masturbation, helpful Instagram accounts, sex educators who do a fantastic job educating young people on masturbation, helpful Instagram accounts, sex educators who do a fantastic job educating young people on masturbation, consent, pleasure, porn, boundaries, and more. Share this episode with any parent or caregiver who might find this conversation useful.
Starting point is 00:38:17 And as always, talk to me. I'd love to hear your success stories, as well as the ongoing questions you have on teens and masturbation. Thanks for listening to Sex with Emily! That's it for today's episode. See you on Friday. Thanks for listening to Sex with Emily, and be sure to like, subscribe, and give us a
Starting point is 00:38:39 review wherever you listen to the podcast and share this with a friend or a partner. You can find me on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, or X and Facebook all at Sex With Emily. Oh, and I've been told I give really good emails, so sign up at And while you're there, check out my free guides and articles for more ways to prioritize your pleasure. And if you want to ask me about your sex life, dating, or relationships, call my hotline 559-TALK-SEX.
Starting point is 00:39:03 That's 559-825-5739. Or go to slash Ask Emily. Was it good for you? Email me. Feedback at

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