Is There Ever A "Too Young" To Start Masturbating?

That totally disturbing story yesterday about parents masturbating their kids got me to thinking: What age do most kids begin doing the deed themselves? Although my relationship with my vibrator is one that I cherish (and one that got me through a dateless Valentine's last night) I was manual, not automatic, for most of my life. Because before my vibes, I had my hands, and before I used my hands I used various remote controls, and before the remote controls I had an intimate relationship with the arm of this ratty old chair in the playroom of my old house. Masturbation might just be the only thing in my life I've ever truly stuck with, succeeded at, and put 100% of my effort into. I'm no expert on child behavior (childish behavior, sure), so I don't really know what's the "norm," but I can honestly say that I can't for the life of me remember a time when I didn't play with myself.

I must've started not long after I was out of diapers. I think the first time that I actually orgasmed I was about 7 years old, maybe 6. It was by accident, and of course I had no idea that's what was going on. For me it was just a fun side activity while watching TV (and it still is). I became addicted.

Initially I didn't associate any shame with what I was doing, until I was about 8 or 9 and my mother caught me and yelled at me. That didn't stop me, I just knew it was something I had to do in private. Years of Catholic schooling later had me praying to God that I could find the strength to stop doing "that thing I do," but that was a very short lived period of my life before I stopped buying into the bag of bullshit the nuns were trying to sell me.

I would read about "mind-blowing" sex in Joan Collins and V.C. Andrews books, passages that likened women's orgasms to lightning strikes and bells sounding, so I had really hyped up sex in my mind. I knew I wouldn't come on my first couple tries at sex with a boy. Finally, after fooling around with my boyfriend for a month or two, I came while he was going down on me, and I remember being like, "Oh! That's what that is? I can do that better and faster by myself!" By then, I realized that what would happen when I touched myself was an orgasm, but for some reason I thought it would be different — or better — with a partner. And sometimes it is.

Related: 'Help Children Masturbate' [The Sun]

Paperback: The Dirty Bits — For Girls [Independent]