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Should masturbation be taught at school?

(28 Posts)
paintempurple Thu 02-May-19 16:12:32

I stumbled across this interview recently and wanted to know what you all think about masturbation being taught in schools.

East7thst Thu 08-Aug-19 16:03:32

Children masturbate. They may not realise what it is they are doing or what it is, especially in terms of sex. I did when I was a kid and I remember feeling so ashamed because I didnt know if it was normal.

Its not like they are teaching techniques, but just being mentioned that prety much everyone does it may take away the stigma.

KTay1982 Fri 09-Aug-19 12:18:44

Absolutely not!! If I found out anyone was talking to my kid about such a private matter I’d blow my top. This is a private discussion for at home. State schools are having a hard enough time delivering the fundamentals of academia , music, sport, creative arts etc etc etc we should not be burdening teachers with all this extra shit.

East7thst Fri 09-Aug-19 16:10:26

KTay1982 but it would be taught as part of the sex education programme - should that be kept at home also?

PriestessModwena Mon 12-Aug-19 03:54:30

I'm all for education, I think this is one for the children to figure out themselves.

I don't even know how teaching that would go.

BogglesGoggles Mon 12-Aug-19 04:10:11

@KTay1982 the discussions I and many of my friends had at hone revolves around masturbation being morally wrong (Muslim back grounds). This is common in many cultures - particularly in regards to wen and girls.

Meanwhile masturbation was on the curriculum at my catholic school (when I was 12). We were given a definition, told that it is not morally questionable and perfectly natural and taught the importance of good masturbatory hygiene. It only took ten minutes to cover as part of sex Ed. Why on earth would you object to that?

BogglesGoggles Mon 12-Aug-19 04:10:47

@PriestessModwena see above

PriestessModwena Mon 12-Aug-19 05:16:33

I read the article, I have to disagree with the woman. It reminds me of Ms Moran, who was really honest about her exploits growing up.

Totally up for normalising it, being there for your DC to answer any questions. I don't think I it's needed to know the mechanics of it though.

Something along the lines of you may feel ... that's totally normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.

I admire a friend who got drunk at a party, they were talking about something, nothing shocking in any way, this woman said it's not appropriate really in front of two teenage girls. They said in Holland & Scandinavia, families are really open about it, therefore teenage pregnancy rates are low etc. Making it taboo is only going to make you a Grandmother in the next few years.

I think they need to teach sex education earlier, I think we were 15 when we got the 'chat' & video. By that time, lots of girls hated themselves as it was: I've got this, you've got that, let's see how this works. If you watched a romantic comedy, they make it look like a divine experience, when for many it's not.

I do wonder if masturbation was more normalised, then that would be more of a focus than sex. Again from school days, I recall hearing a girl saying at 14 she had dry ... another boy it felt good. It was almost like she couldn't process it. I struggle to believe in an age of social media, parents are really prom and proper.

I've said this before, when eldest DC reached 9/10 I bought a few books on growing up. Was worried about it being hit & miss. They loved the books, I said any questions fire away. I didn't quite expect for my child to exclaim with glee, that they have testes where sperm lives and I have ovaries where ovum are made. Although I felt a tiny bit proud they were being quite mature.

They read the books a few times, I think it was being grown up enough to be told about such stuff, like a rite of passage.

I have wondered whether Mother's / parents, should celebrate say a girls first period, as the girl has had a pretty big thing happen, with her periods starting.

I had a parent who was quite open about most things, then another parent where everything was shrouded in secrecy.

I feel for teachers as they have lots to do, without holding them responsible for what a child knows about their body. I will look into Scandanavian models to see if it's normalised in schools too.

Imagine a school where you could access sanitary products, then in school having a clinic for those who have questions / want to go on contraception / are worried about something body wise. (Think heavy periods / endometriosis etc)

KTay1982 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:12:05

@BogglesGoggles @East7thst
YES I disagree entirely with sex education being taught in schools, and it’s not because I’m a prude - quite the opposite. We have a very open and age appropriate dialogue about sex in our house.

Firstly, as I said before, the school curriculum is overloaded. There are children in upper primary school who cannot read to an acceptable standard, for example. ALL subjects take up precious time and resources, even if it is only 10 minutes. It’s not a teacher’s job to teach children about sex and personal development, it’s the job of the family.

Secondly, I do not agree to any adult outside my home - essentially a stranger to me- opening up a dialogue about masturbation or sex or personal/intimate development with my child, especially when I am not present. It blurs the boundaries of appropriateness. I don’t care if they are a teacher, doctor, school counsellor, have a working with children check etc that all means nothing to me when it comes to the safety of my child.

Thirdly - School curriculums are subject to change, without notice and without consultation. Say the government decided to take a more conservative approach to sex education. Like teaching abstinence, for example. Would you be ok with that? In any event parents would be forced to accept it because the delivery of sex education in schools has already been widely assented to. And who gets to decide what is appropriate to be taught? What I think is appropriate may not be what you think is appropriate.

Fourth - I don’t trust schools (the government, by proxy) to necessarily deliver the correct information. What if the government is delivering misinformation? Perhaps your child doesn’t mention it and you wouldn’t have the opportunity to correct it? The government has certainly been guilty of delivering misinformation in the past.

Fifth - kids will find out about sex and masturbation in due course, and sex education does NOT prevent teenage pregnancy, as another poster suggested. I grew up in a very liberal household, all open about sex and bodily functions, and yet my mother was a granny in her mid-late 30s as was 5 of her sisters and 2 of her brothers, as was their own mother.

Sixth - I do appreciate that not all household and cultures are open about sex, but I also think most parents act with best intentions. We are all free to raise our children as we see fit I am certainly doing many things differently to my parents.

Seven- I firmly believe that the schools (AKA the government) should remain out of citizens private lives in this particular circumstance. No real harm will come to a child from NOT hearing about masturbation at school. I know some posters have said they grew up with poor self image, feeling dirty or ashamed about sex because of lack of education; I have also felt these things about sex and my personal development, and I had overload of sex ed growing up! So go figure, I think we all feel bad about ourselves for myriad reasons.

So there’s my reasons, disagree if you like as is your prerogative. We’ve already decided that we will be opting our kids out of sex Ed when the time comes.

BogglesGoggles Mon 12-Aug-19 14:21:29

@KTay1982 let’s address each point in turn.

1. Arguably it’s more beneficial to society and to underprivileged children at government schools to prioritise teaching them how to prevent unwanted pregnancies over academics.

2. Parents also perpetrate sexual abuse. And they are more likely to get away with it by keeping their children ignorant. The best way to keep children safe is to make sure that they all know about sex and safety so they can stand up for themselves and watch out for their peers. Unfortunately parents cannot always be trusted to act in the best interests of their children. Schools act in loco parentis and therefore have an obligation to keep children safe. Sex Ed is an integral part of that.

3. This is a good point - perhaps a mandatory sex Ed curriculums should be set by an independent body of healthcare professionals. It’s still not a good enough reason to prohibit sex Ed though given that the scenario you pose is hypothetical.

4. How can you trust parents not to deliver misinformation. It is more likely to happen and almost impossible to track and deal with (unlike a uniform sex Ed program which the public may easily review). If you are concerned about misinformation then the best solution is a standardised science based sex Ed curriculum which can be reviewed and challenged by the public.

5. Sex Ed does prevent teenage pregnancy because it teaches contraception and hence prevents unwanted pregnancy. Of course there will be exceptions where the sex ed is not up to scratch - further pressing the importance of a science based standardised sex education program delivered to everyone (is the high rate of teen pregnancy in your family a result of misinformation?) or where the pregnancies are intentional (I’m an example of that).

6. Parents have all kinds of intentions. Their intentions are irrelevant. Children are people not objects which parents may raise however they intend.

7. Firstly schools do not equate to the government in all cases. My school had nothing to do with the government for instance. Not does my DC’s school. Yet schools have a profound effect on their students. By the very act of enrolling a child into a school, parents invite that organisation into the child’s private life where they will have a profound impact on that child’s development. If you are suspicious of the government (fair enough) then don’t put your child into a state school. Secondly, the state has an obligation to protect individual rights in order to ensure that individuals are free. Everyone has the right to knowledge about their body and their health, the government would permit parents to curtail the freedom of their children by not protecting this right thus giving parents the option to keep children ignorant (ignorance being form of intellectual slavery).

You say that if I disagree it’s my byt it shouldn’t be. My children have a right to knowledge. I should should not have the power to deny them.

Lumene Mon 12-Aug-19 14:23:19

Errrr no.

My children have a right to knowledge. I should should not have the power to deny them.

Sure they do but that doesn’t mean the entirety of all human information should by rights be taught to them at school.

KTay1982 Mon 12-Aug-19 16:02:39


1. Strongly disagree! Education is key to lifting one’s self out of poverty. Everybody needs to know how to read and write and do basic maths, it is a fundamental human right and these skills are essential for all jobs. Also to say poor kids need to know how to avoid pregnancy more than needing academics is very condescending! Consider perhaps that it is lack of education that leads to lack of direction and goals in life that leads to risky behaviour that leads to teen pregnancy. This is exactly the juxtaposition between me and my sister - I focused on my education, she did not. I went to University at 18, she was home with a baby at 18. And no it wasn’t a planned baby. We came out of the same house but she didn’t have the same choices at the same age as me because for myriad reasons her education was disregarded.

2. Correct, parents and relatives do perpetrate abuse. But still my point that I will be the one responsible for protecting my child and making sure they receive the correct information, not the school nor anyone else. Child abuse is a safeguarding and child protection issue and has none to do with sex education and certainly none to do with whether masturbation should be taught in schools. On the contrary - I say a kid who is being sexually abused already knows too much about sex and doesn’t need to hear any more about it, particularly if school is their only respite. There are ways of identifying kids who are being abused without going into discussions about sex and masturbation, the same ways that identify a kid who is being physically or psychologically abused.

3. It’s not a hypothetical scenario actually! It’s a very real possibility, abstinence has been taught before and can easily be revived. It’s naive to think that governments can’t and won’t change the curriculum, and perhaps change it to something you don’t agree with. It could go the other way too and become even more liberal with sex ed. Yes health bodies could make information available and kids can access it if they choose to, but it should kept out of school.

4. Sex ed does not prevent teen pregnancy. Take a walk down any high street and see so many young women with prams. Rates of STDs are out of control and seen a recent resurgence in cases of HIV. Look up the stats of you don’t believe me. Anecdotally, my husband chatting with some young blokes at the office told him they often sleep with 2 or more girls from tinder A DAY and don’t bother to use condoms and don’t ask if she’s on the pill. And they all get STDs on a regular basis and all have a favourite clinic to get treated. Make of that what you will but I think it’s obscene and hedonistic.
And no the high rate of teen pregnancy in my family is not a result of misinformation - we all grew up knowing how babies are made!!! It is 100% a result of lack of education and aspiration leading to risky behaviour.

5. Children need to be directed, your point is akin to letting a kid raise itself. All children are born into a home with its own culture and standards, whether they child ultimately chooses to accept those standards is up to them. In the meantime my kids have to do things my way.

6. Well you’re very fortunate to be able to afford private school, but some of us have to accept whatever the state schools have to offer. My kids go to a CofE Primary School and they are required to deliver the state curriculum. I do know that our local private school teaches minimal sex education and that their academic results are amazing. If I could afford it they would be there in a heartbeat. Meanwhile our little state school is struggling to deliver the main curriculum and overburdened by extra work that ought to be delivered by parents or as you say, healthcare professionals.

I never said to prohibit the information from children, just that schools should not be the mode of delivery. It’s interesting that you speak of intellectual slavery when you think it’s appropriate to deny poor kids academic education in favour of sex ed, lols.

HIVpos Mon 12-Aug-19 17:47:10

@KTay1982 Rates of STDs are out of control and seen a recent resurgence in cases of HIV. Look up the stats of you don’t believe me.

Some STIS are certainly on the increase - all the more reason for up to date sex ed to be taught in schools. A lot of parents do not know the facts or know about them to well enough inform their DC. Or they might, for whatever reason, just not discuss anything about sex in general with their kids.

As far as HIV goes though - I’d like to see your stats on the “resurgence”. Numbers have actually decreased over the last 3 years

@BogglesGoggles the way you were taught about masturbation at school sounds an excellent way to have it explained.

BogglesGoggles Tue 13-Aug-19 01:40:25


1. Quite frankly, unwanted children are just going to place more of a burden on the education system and are Likely to prevent one parent from getting a proper career so their education would be for nothing.

2. No, many abused children don’t know what is being done to them. I know of at least one case of abuse that was uncovered when a child came forward after a school sex Ed program. These children don’t need respite. These children need to be taught the skills to end the abuse.

3. It is hypothetical in Britain. But I do agree that it needs to be addressed. But I do not agree that it is a valid reason not to have sex Ed.

4. rates of STDs are up because the government stopped the public information campaigns they had during the aids outbreak not as a result of sex Ed. I struggled to find any stats that weren’t American. If you have any they would be much appreciated. In theory sex Ed should prevent unwanted teen pregnancy. Perhaps the issue then is access to goodforms of contraception/not enough social stigma to make it a big risk for teens whose lives aren’t going anywhere anyway.

5. Children do need to be directed. Schools have a duty to give some of that direction - I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but a lot of parents are shit.

6. Well perhaps you should have thought of that before having children. You can’t even earn enough to provide for your children yet you presume to dictate the way a free service should be provided?

It’s not about what you would do. I’m sure you wouldn’t keep your children ignorant. But a lot of parents do. A lot of parents are bad people. Schools have a degree of parental responsibility over children, as such they have a responsibility to pick up some of the slack. That’s why they have programs like sex Ed which aren’t purely academic but valuable lessons nonetheless.

Havalina Tue 13-Aug-19 03:15:49

Why write a friggin essay on a forum post, nobody cares. Mumsnet is dying.

HIVpos Tue 13-Aug-19 10:37:01

@BogglesGoggles here you go -

Gonorrhoea and syphilis are the 2 STIs that are on the increase more than others. There’s a bit on page 12 about young people and STIs.

Sex Ed in schools, as well as teaching about safe sex, can also signpost to testing services, how someone can get tested for example, whether by going to a clinic, or by doing a self taken postal test. This way young people can learn that their privacy will be assured and the way it is taught can help to reduce stigma which prevents some people from getting tested.

BogglesGoggles Tue 13-Aug-19 10:51:15

Thanks @HIVpos that’s quite interesting. I didn’t realise that gonohrea had boomed but I suppose it’s quite obvious why.

Propertyofhood Tue 13-Aug-19 10:57:29

I think that children (well girls really, let's be honest) need to be taught that masturbation is totally normal and everyone does it. Boys don't need this really do they, they are almost proud of their wanking!

However, kids do not need to be taught how or anything like that do they? That's the point of masturbation isn't it, that you have fun figuring it out for yourself!

Peter Tatchell is all over this 'teaching children how to masturbate' thing as well isn't he? Urgh.

Lamahaha Sun 18-Aug-19 11:12:36

I think that children (well girls really, let's be honest) need to be taught that masturbation is totally normal and everyone does it. Boys don't need this really do they, they are almost proud of their wanking!

I HAD to pop in here just to say, no, everyone does not do it. It's a cultural thing. As a teenager (I was born 1951) I had never heard of girls masturbating, never did it, never had the urge, never had the urge as an adult. I'm pretty sure none of my (female, teenage) friends did it either, as they would have said so -- we talked about everything, I knew when and with whom the lost their virginity etc. I thought only boys masturbated.

As I said, it's a cultural thing. If we are told it's what everyone does and it's fantastic, of course most people will get curious and try it. But you don't have to.

Basically I agree with this:

Secondly, I do not agree to any adult outside my home - essentially a stranger to me- opening up a dialogue about masturbation or sex or personal/intimate development with my child, especially when I am not present. It blurs the boundaries of appropriateness. I don’t care if they are a teacher, doctor, school counsellor, have a working with children check etc that all means nothing to me when it comes to the safety of my child.

Endofthedays Sun 18-Aug-19 13:34:29

Schools should provide safeguarding for children.

They shouldn’t teach them how to masturbate. That’s something people learn for themselves.

Endofthedays Sun 18-Aug-19 13:37:30

Also, state education isn’t free. It’s paid for through taxation. It is not a charity it is a state body and as such should be critiqued by the public.

Rachelover40 Sun 18-Aug-19 13:42:08

I have no idea but I think if it was 'taught', there might be several kids who worry because they've never done it! I never did.

Merely teaching that masturbation is normal, is OK, I think.

Ringdonna Mon 16-Sep-19 11:23:36

I think it should be taught in schools and maybe eventually, it will remove the general prudery that affects the British public. I also feel schools know best.

UnderHisEyeBall Tue 24-Sep-19 20:58:16

I don't know how to discuss porn, which is basically a masturbation aid, without talking about masturbation?

HerondaleDucks Tue 24-Sep-19 21:17:54

I definitely think that sexual education needs to be more in depth and taught from an earlier age than 15!
I definitely think that girls especially need to be told that masterbation is normal and that it's good to know your body.
I'm sure there are thousands of women out there who have never had an orgasm because they think it's a man's job to give them one. How will a man ever know what she likes, if she doesn't know?
I think that more emphasis should be placed on safe sex and ways to access contraception and places to get tested. I think that its vital that children have a safe place to go to talk about these things as parents are not always proactive at teaching their kids about these things or find them embarrassing.
I also agree that this is part and parcel of safeguarding against child sexual exploitation CSE. Because a lesson or a session with a safe confidential environment can open dialogue to explose unhealthy sexual behaviours or potential abuse.

When I was growing up my mother was very open about sex, body developing and hormones. I knew all about the mechanics by 10 due to early periods. By the time I was 14 my mum gave me a book with more information and encouraged me to get to know my body. It was more about me understanding my body and knowing it was healthy rather than sex or masterbation. But that followed naturally on my own prerogative. When I talked to friends about it, they said I was disgusting and that only a boy should touch you down there etc. I used to get confused. But now as an adult it helps me to understand why there are women with such unhealthy attitudes towards their bodies and sex. We live in a world where feminism is a thing... why should we allow this myth that knowing your body is wrong or dirty?

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