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Caught my daughter masturbating, what should I do?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (7 November 2009) 20 Answers - (Newest, 15 December 2009)
A male United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I have 2 childern ages 13 and 10, both gilrs. One in Jr. high the other in grammar school. I left work early one day and got the shock of my life. I come in and hear "noises" in the family room. So when I walk down there I see my 13 year daughter in front of the computer. She's masturbating, but that is not the worst of it. She is barely clothed (only a shirt on) and is in front of the family computer looking at porn. She is in a very compromising position and is using her electric toothbrush.

I stood there shocked for a second, and turned around, walked back to the front door. I slam the door open/close and make as much noise as I can "I'm home", "Where is everyone?", etc. About 10 seconds later my daughter comes running out of the family room (clothed) and welcomes me home. I ask about school, etc, and it's as normal as can be. 15 min later our other daughter gets home from school.

Ok so I know young women masterbate. We've had talks with both daughters and know they are both good kids.

But here are our concerns.

1. She got to the porn even with adult blocks?

2. She watches her sister in the afternoon, who got home just a few minutes after me. What if she had walked in?

3. The thing with the toothbrush was very shocking. I looked later, and saw it was her toothbrush she was using.

My wife and I are concerned about what to say or do next. The first thing we did was get everyone new toothbrushes so it wouldn't be a scene. I think she kept the old one (I hope). I checked the computer, but didn't find anything to bad on there. I was a bit suprised that she had been to sites that had lesbian material on them. But she went to just as many plain old hetro sites (if not more).

So we are going to have another talk with her, but what do you say? My wife thinks I should talk to her, but I'm not sure that is best. I feel very uneasy about the whole incident.

View related questions: lesbian, porn

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 December 2009):

.... Wow! I was going to add in my 2 cents..

But i think eveyone pretty much has this covered! Lol!

.. Talk about SUPPORT!! GO TEAM!!xXx

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (17 November 2009):

I don't have a daughter,but i do have 2 sons, and masturbation is no different between male or female- it's totally natural and too often not discussed- my wife has confided with me that she would masturbate before every date with me before we were married so she wouldn't "lose control"-I don't know, go figure,but I do know that's natural, we all do it,and there is a reason for it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 November 2009):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks everyone for the help. We plan on having that internet discussion with her (again), and her sister just so they both know our concerns. I've gotten over the freak out state. I think I overreacted a bit because you never expect to see your kids doing that. It's kind of like kids "walking in" on their parents, only the shoe is on the other foot. So I think things will work out OK.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 November 2009):

I remember being a thirteen year old girl who didn't have her own computer and had to, er, make sure certain things got done when no one else was home. I personally see nothing wrong with it; if I had a daughter I'd much rather she worked with her hormones that way instead of coming home pregnant by some loser in her gym class. So I don't think you need to confront her about the masturbation, as far as I'm concerned, better that than the alternative (which, let's face it, is far more likely to be sexual activity with another person than just ignoring the urges).

However, I think the last anonymous poster on November 9 has a point -- a refresher course in Internet safety might be in order and certainly couldn't hurt. Instead of having a talk with her about masturbation, which seems awkward, creepy, and unnecessary since clearly she's got an idea of what to do, and she isn't hurting anyone by doing so, maybe have a discussion about what you've found in the Internet history; you can just mention you found some unsavory filenames when going through it and say you want to be sure she knows whatever rules for Internet access you've set. If she's anything like I was at that age, she'll just stare wide-eyed at you and say she has no idea where those files came from, but trust me, the message will stick.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 November 2009):

HEY DAD, firstly congratulate your wife and yourself about caring enough for your kids to post this.

Please talk to her. it is not about embarressing her but making her aware of what she is viweing and her coming of age regading her sexual pleasure. i am concerned that the porn sites are available ( even though you have it blocked?)

have a frank/open talk with her. both you and your wife have to be present and both have to discuss openly your queries/concerns and any other important issue you have.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 November 2009):

I disagree about not talking to her. There is too much a child is exposed to on the internet. She is young and vulnerable. How do you know she is not communicating with a pedophile. It is a parents responsibility to parent and monitor their children. Your daughters are very, very young and impressionable. What else is this girl viewing? Has the ten year old seen any of it? If it were me I would have a discussion and limit computer time. I am surprised you would allow this kind of access to porn at her age.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 November 2009):

Don't embarrass her and don't say anything.

I know a lot of friends who like all types of porn but are still very straight.

The toothbrush is no big deal, don't be surprised if she used something else.

I would be sick if my dad brought this up to me.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (8 November 2009):

She will grow out of that. I did the same thing when I was that age! She will def. keep her old toothbrush and probably is happy she has a new one now too to use just on her teeth. lol. Also, I used to look at lesbian porn too, and I never understood why I liked it... I never really questioned over whether I was gay or straight or bi. I knew I was straight. Women are very sexually appealing/attractive, even to straight women! But that doesn't mean she likes women. Men are not very appealing to me in porn still today... and if you don't understand it... you probably never will cause you just aren't a female! There are things we just won't ever understand about eachother.. and plus, she is in a curious transitioning time in her life right now. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for all the advice. For now I think we will not bring anything up, maybe in the future. My wife agrees the lesbian stuff is not a big a deal as I think it is. She also thinks its curiosity about woman's bodies. I'm still very freaked out about the electric toothbrush. My wife told me its just a girl thing, but I just don't think it is appropriate at all.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for all the advice. For now I think we will not bring anything up, maybe in the future. My wife agrees the lesbian stuff is not a big a deal as I think it is. She also thinks its curiosity about woman's bodies. I'm still very freaked out about the electric toothbrush. My wife told me its just a girl thing, but I just don't think it is appropriate at all.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

http://www.amazon.com/Drug-New-Millennium-Internet-Pornography/product-reviews/0967776406/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Here is a link to a the first book that talked about the mind body connection to porn and how it is addicting.

It has some steps to protect your children and tips on how to talk to your children about porn.

In this day and age, I think it is a conversation that most parents should be having with their pre-teen children because let me tell you they are exposed to porn no matter the parental controls...it comes through spam messages on emails, and their friend's computers who are not monitored by their folks.

I am certain I will get some push back from people writing on DC as their are quite a few porn addicts purusing this site and the internet of course is where they usually go to get their fix, why not stop off here at good old DC.

Just to let you know there are a lot of people here who don't think porn is harmless, especially to teens whose brains are still developing. The parts of their brains that are responsible for impulse control and judgement are not even fully developed until around age 25, so what is ok for adults is definately not ok for kids.

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A male reader, Illithid United States +, writes (7 November 2009):

Illithid agony auntMy opinion? Talk to her about sex in general. Talk to her calmly and slowly about how important it is to wait, how easy it is to catch STDs or get pregnant, how easy it is to lose her reputation or friends or even self respect if she has sex early (because many 13 year olds ARE having sex these days, so it's definitely time to talk about it.) Let her know that even if she does have sex, you will ALWAYS love her, and that if she does (because even given your best intentions, she might some day), she HAS to make sure he wears a condom, but that there are inumerable benefits to waiting.

But make sure that at the end of the day, while she understands that porn (if you insist on bring that part up at all) is demeaning to the actors and leads to all sorts of problems later, sex itself is not shameful in a loving, mature, committed, and older relationship. If she walks away from your talk thinking that sex is bad, that will hurt her confidence and strain her marriage in the future. She shouldn't be ashamed of her body or of her sexuality. She just needs to be made aware of how serious sex is and now reserved she needs to be in doling it out.

A good line I like is that so many men want just sex, she needs to make sure she's the most important thing in the world to any man that even gets to second base. If he's not willing to DIE for her, he doesn't deserve her. THAT'S what you need her to understand. That he has to ALREADY be in love with her and willing to stay with her even without sex for her to even CONSIDER it (and even then not for years from now). Any man that she has to have sex with in order to keep isn't worth having in the first place.

But leave her masturbation out of it. Let her explore.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

Here are some worthwhile articles to read and consider,

I am sure there are books written about this subject as well, which you can do a search for. I don't envy parents raising young children in today's world, it is unchartered territory for sure and quite disturbing.

http://www.focusas.com/SexualBehavior.html

http://www.quitpornaddiction.com/true-stories/a-womans-experience-of-porn-addiction-ls-story/

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/1550797/ReThinking-PeopleNology-Teenagers-and-their-Parents-by-Gregory-Bodenhamer-PhD

http://www.netnanny.com/learn_center/article/149

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

I don't think you should say anything at all to her about it.

I do think you need to put a password/lock on the family computer and it is off limits unless parents are home.

That will keep her off the porn sights. I don't think porn is ever acceptable for a 13 year old, but now that she has found it I wouldn't go into an accusatory discussion with her as I think it would make her feel ashamed about her own body and her own sexual exploration. She won't get that porn is not acceptable to watch at her age. I mean do you want her getting addicted to porn, it happens to women just as much as it does men. It becomes a disgusting, time waisting habit. At least I think it is disgusting to be watching that all the time like a monkey at the zoo. She may become so desensitized by the porn that she will be doing it in front of a web cam and post her video on the internet....so put a lock on the computer.

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A male reader, generalist India +, writes (7 November 2009):

hey...its normal and let her be on her own..believe me...this gen is too smarts and get into lot of things and learnings too early compared the last generation...

dont worry and she will be fine...LET HER ON HER OWN...

for god seck dont tell u saw her or she will remain embarassed for the entire life..

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

You need to consider her reation to anything you say before you say anything. I fear for her being wounded and embarased by being found out. I'm less concerned about her accessing porn, as this is somewhat to be expected, and her looking at both hetro and lesbian sites is also to be expected- I belive that most girls check out other girls not because they are sexually attracted to them, but to see what they look like as well as to admire their form- the vast majority are NOT lusting after them, but admiring their looks.

I would recommend that your wife continue to have regualr simple conversations with your daughter to simply establish a safe environment where your daughter is comfortable in asking questions and assured that she is normal and loved.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

If you have a talk with her I don't think you should tell her you saw her. She will probably be absolutely mortified and might never get over it. I don't think you necessarily need to do anything at all. But...

But you do have two legitimate concerns; one that she's supposed to watch her sister and that her sister might have walked in on her. But you said she didn't come home until after you, so maybe she knows what time her sister is due home and plans her activities accordingly.

The other is more serious I think, that a thirteen year old is accessing adult material. Maybe you could broach the subject in the context of a wider discussion about cyber safety, including chat room safety and things like that. You could mention that you'd discovered the websites on the computer but don't accuse her of looking at them. "I just want to make sure you're aware of the dangers." and "Is there anything you'd like to ask me." blah blah blah.

By the way I think you handled the situation of catching her at it very well, in sneaking away and pretending you didn't see her. Many parents would have just freaked on the spot and made a huge production out of it, and that's the sort of thing people tell their psychiatrists about in later life. So mad props.

Good luck.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

i have some adivice.

im 14 and if my parent approched me about that id be extreamly embarrassed and not want to be around them.

i say just leave it at new tooth brushes and put a password on the comp so only you and yer wife know the password.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (7 November 2009):

Don't be too surprise that she looked at both lesbian and hetro porn. She is properly wandering what other girls look like too.

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A male reader, Gurner69 United Kingdom +, writes (7 November 2009):

Please dont say anything because masterbation is part of life and she is only curious at her age. Times are changing and people mature differently from when you where young. Porn can be a good thing, atleast shes not going into the world blind. I think if you confront her it will be an awkward and none advancing situation, let her have fun and experiment shes not hurting herself or anyone else.

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