Female Masturbation/masturbation

QUESTION: Hello Ashley,

I don't know how or when I started masturbating. My guess is I was two years old or younger. My first memories of masturbation are that sometimes at nap time or bed time, I would lye under my blanket on my tummy, and with my hands between my legs, I would rock or bounce over them for several minutes. I was ashamed of what I was doing, I didn't know what it was. If anybody entered my bedroom, I'd quickly jump off of my hands, and pretend to already be asleep.

Then when I was in kindergarten, and grade one, there was this girl in school who often sat straight up in her desk sometimes and had her hands between her legs and seemed to bounce over top of them a lot. I always looked at her funny when I'd see her doing this, because I wondered what she was doing, and why she'd be doing that in front of others. And then one day, when we both had colds and were too sick to go outside for recess, we were both left unattended in the classroom. I saw her get up and go lye down on the carpet, and she humped her hands for several minutes, right there, just like what I did in secret at night time at home under my blanket. But I did not talk to her, I just watched her, and wondered why she did that, and why I did that in secret for that matter.

When I was 7 and a half, my sister was born. When she was about a year old, she started straddling in her car seat and high chair a lot. I wondered if that fidgety, straddling thing that she sometimes did felt good to her, just like that humping thing that I did felt good to me. I noticed when she turned three years old, I would have been ten by that time, she started humping her hands randomly, throughout the day, in any room of our house. I'd walk in on her and find her humping her hands while watching tv, or she'd be with me, and we'd both be watching tv, and then she'd go onto the floor, and just start doing it. Sometimes, she'd hump stuffed animals, or pillows, or other things, before humping her hands. Sometimes she'd do it for half an hour straight. I was shocked the first time I saw her do this. I wondered what she was doing, I wondered why I did it as well. I wondered if this humping thing had a name. I didn't even know the word masturbation yet, nor the word humping. What my mind called it was "playing with my private parts." Whenever I did it at night, I'd make sure my door was closed, and that my light was off, and that I was underneath my blanket. I didn't want anybody to see me. I was scared and fearful and ashamed of it. But my sister? Well, how come she isn't scared, and ashamed, and does this openly? In front of me, in front of my other siblings, in front of her friends, in front of my friends, even in front of our parents, she often did this activity openly, until she was about six years old. So from the ages of 3 to 6, she did it openly.

When I was 12 years old, I finally discovered what this activity is called. And then my fascination about it increased. I started masturbating sometimes up to 4 times a day, and I started to discover many other ways of doing it. I learned how to do it standing up, sitting down, laying down on my back, as well as how I've always done it as a kid, lying on my tummy. I also started doing it naked, instead of being fully clothed like I was when growing up. At the same time, my sister wasn't quite five yet, and she still humped her hands and stuffed animals openly for another couple of years yet. If people were around, I'd feel embarrassed for her and a kind of anxiety. If others weren't around and it was just me, I'd watch her humping her hands. For some reason it was cute to me, and mysterious. I'd remember being her age, and doing this same thing but in the quietness of my bedroom at night and doing it out of fear, but I'd be amazed at my sisters lack of shame about it I guess.

Anyways, I guess my question is kind of like, have you ever heard of any of these kinds of things happening? Most of the information out there suggests girls begin to masturbate at puberty, but what was I doing? What was my sister doing? How did we discover it? Why was I afraid to do it, but my sister not?

And also, it seems like all my life, I'd notice other girls if they play with themselves down there too. In public change rooms lots of girls (under five years old any way) often touch or play down there, and I seem attracted to that. Sometimes I see little girls straddling in their high chairs in restaurants, or sitting on their hands and straddling them. Sometimes, I see little girls standing or walking around while holding or squeezing their vulvas. And I have sometimes seen them humping their hands, just like how I did it when I was little. I'd never teach a little child how to masturbate, or try to get them too, or anything like that, it's just there's just something about their innocence about them doing something that adults would never do in public that I find fascinating. I don't go around thinking about little girls as masturbating all the time, just when I happen to notice one doing it somewhere, part of me gets excited. I don't know how to explain it. Is this attraction bad necessarily? Not sure why I have it, perhaps it has to do with the fact that I masturbated as a young girl too. In a way, it might be good that I discovered it at that age. If I hadn't, I'd probably think of it as gross and disgusting otherwise, when in fact it might even be normal for young children to engage in masturbation. What do you think of all this?


ANSWER: Hi Chelsea!
To me, what you're describing sounds normal. I've always had the belief that children still feel pleasure from interaction with their genitals, in fact some research says some children masturbate in the womb. But there's not enough research out there to really change the way we think about it, because we can't exactly have parents offering up their children for sexual research ;)
I believe the difference in shyness between you and your sister has less to do with sexual preference and more to do with just regular personality. Your sister is more extroverted and you're more of an introvert, am I right?
As far as feeling excited seeing others or even children touching themselves, that's normal. Witnessing something sexual turns us on, it's how we're wired, and it's the same for me when I see my pre-teen daughter masturbate.
I think you're quite normal!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply, Ashley!

I'm glad you think I'm normal, a lot of people think it's strange or that abuse has taken place just because a young girl has discovered masturbation. That and the fact that on most surveys about sexuality, most responses to the question when did you begin to masturbate, everybody says 11 or 12, or something, some people respond with 15 or 16, quite, late, and the earliest I've seen is 8 and 9, but never earlier. Perhaps people are too afraid to admit they started as a 2 or 3, or 4 years old?

Yes, my sister is more extroverted, but is that why she was far less secretive about her humping when growing up? Could it be our parent's parenting styles have changed? I don't know how I discovered masturbating, perhaps,I too, straddled car seats and high chairs, and maybe when I began humping my hands, maybe it was on the floor, in front of people too, and maybe they shamed me about it? All before I could remember? Then my sister comes around, and resembles similar behaviour, and after having dealt with the issue with me, they maybe realized that this is in fact normal, and didn't want to shame her the way I might have been made to feel? But I don't know it's all speculation.

My sister is now a teenager, I'd love to start a conversation with her about masturbation. I wonder how she masturbates now, and what she thought of it when she was doing it in front of everyone, and if she ever thinks back about it and feels ashamed of it now. I wonder how far back her first memories are. I can remember her doing it in high chairs, she probably can't. If she's curious about it, I'd be able to tell her just how young she was when she was masturbating. As for me, I'm curious about how young I really was, and how I discovered it. Did I do it in front of people, just can't remember? I'd like to talk to my mom and find out. But I don't know how to do either of these things. I just for some reason want to know my history, and I think it would be fascinating to know for some reason. Not sure why I feel the need to know all this.

So you think it's normal and okay, that I sense excitement when I notice young children stimulating themselves? I've always worried that maybe it makes me a pervert or something worse. Most people, I think would find this disgusting! Even the thought! But again it's not like I think about it all the time, it's just if I were to notice a young girl straddling a monkey bar at a park to stimulate herself I'd feel some excitement. I once saw a young girl in a dress in a waiting room of a hair salon while her mom was getting her hair cut, she was sitting in her chair in such a way where she could lean forward and the fingers of both her hands would rub her vulva, and her older sister kept pulling them away from her, but she kept at it. I wanted her older sister to stop stopping her so I could completely see what she was doing. Another time, when I was working the drive thru at my restaurant, a girl in her car seat was wiggling and grinding in such a way that the buckle was giving her stimulation. But I was of course having to work, and couldn't look and notice much, but she was doing it the whole time her parents were paying for food, and waiting for it, and when I was handing it out back to them. And I didn't want the parents to see me staring at their girl doing it, but I tried to make some conversation with the dad that was at the steering wheel, while keeping the little girl in my peripheral vision. And once when I was in a grocery store, I noticed a girl in  a shopping cart grinding into the bar between her legs. And sometimes I have seen little girls grinding in their high chairs at restaurants. Sometimes even at the restaurant I work at. And sometimes I have seen girls holding their vulvas for dear life while standing or walking. The weirdest thing I've seen once was at walmart, where a three or four year old girl climbed onto the top of a yello wet floor cone shaped sign, and sat on the pointy top, and wiggled in a way that I could tell was giving her some stimulation. WHen her mom made her get off, she continued to walk, holding and squeezing her vulva with her left hand.

It's not like I look for these things, I just notice them. I wonder if I notice things others don't though. Maybe there are girls out there simply wiggling or being fidgetty, that I just think they are masturbating when maybe they aren't? Or maybe it's the other way around, maybe I KNOW they are masturbating, having been a really young masturbator myself, and having a young sister who openly masturbated at young even a bit older than young ages, and maybe it's other onlookers who if they would have seen the same things might have assumed it was just somebody wiggly and fidggetty? Maybe even the parents may also be naive and not know that this compulsive fidgettyness is actually their young child masturbating? Might that be true?

Either way, I hope I am not a pervert or anything. I have become to realize that it's normal for young girls to masturbate, and have come to terms that while I was afraid of doing it when I was younger, I don't need to be afraid, and shouldn't have been afraid about it. I just grew up in fear about it until I was 12 and found out that my activity was masturbation and there's nothing wrong with it. But now it's just that because I seem to be attracted to young girls masturbating and don't find it disgusting, that I worry that I'm a pervert, that's the fear I have yet to overcome.

You said when you see your preteen daughter masturbate, even you feel excited. How old is she?

If you walked into a room and saw a 3 yr old girl humping her hands on the floor, or noticed a 2 yr old suddenly going nuts grinding in her car seat, or if you were at a grocery store, and some kid was grinding in her shopping cart. Or let's say you were walking towards a store in the mall, and a girl was facing you walking towards a store in the opposite direction following her mom, but she had one hand clasped in front of herself squeezing her vulva, what would you be thinking in each of these situations? What would go through your mind? Would you want to watch and stare? Or look the other way and wish you never seen it?

Hi Hun,
My daughter is 12, and she is beautiful and very comfortable with her body. I'm a very lucky mom!
I don't think it's unnatural to be turned on by anyone, regardless of age masturbating. I've seen young girls masturbate in the mall or shopping center sometimes, or just be absentmindedly rubbing themselves, and I do get a little excited, although not as much as I do watching teenagers or adults, as I know their pleasure is more intense.
Obviously, keep your excitement in check, and don't attempt to help anyone that isn't old enough to understand, but I'm not worried about you, as I feel we all have a part of us that is interested in the sexual behaviors of others :)
Take Care,

Female Masturbation

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Ashley Morgan


I will do my best to answer your questions about female masturbation, including what healthy masturbation is or how it can become unhealthy, when you should consider masturbating with others and when that may cross the line to sex, and how to handle masturbation in your family whether it's your parents, siblings or children


I am a Master's Student in Developmental Psychology and have focused most of my classes and research on healthy sexual development. I have helped younger siblings, friends, cousins and now my pre-teen daughter embrace masturbation and safe sexuality in a healthy and vibrant way.

Church organizations, a counseling/soup kitchen volunteer organization and several teen puberty forums where I hope to offer advice

Class-specific college writing on Developmental and Sexual health

B.A. in Psychology at an Indiana University. One year of Masters classes.

Awards and Honors
Dean's list, 8 semesters.

Past/Present Clients
Family (siblings and my daughter), friends, cousins, and those I've met online

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