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Female Masturbation/masturbation in children

My 5 year old daughter started humping her hands once in a while in her crib when she was eleven months. By the time she was two, she was doing this thing every time we'd put her to bed for the night or for her naps. She would always rock over her hands for about five to ten minutes or so. I was told that this is normal but never the less have always worried about it. If this was an occasional thing; I wouldn't worry, but since she's done it every night since she was two, I can't seem to not worry that maybe she can't actually fall asleep without doing it.

For the last six months, she spends more and more time doing it at night before going to bed. What used to take her ten minutes or so, now takes her half an hour or more. She gets very much into it.

I've never talked to her about it, never encouraged or discouraged this. But now I have to do something.

Apart from everything else I'm worried about this for, she started kindergarten last week, and I got a letter yesterday from her teacher that she's been doing her rocking thing at nap time in school on the floor there. I felt embarrassed but when I phoned the teacher back she told me it's okay and that nothing is wrong, and that in fact usually every year there are two or three girls in her kindergarten class that do what my daughter does and that some of them even do it a whole lot more and in other places, like their desks, or the play structures outside, the library, or the gym change room. She wants me to have a talk to her about not doing this rocking thing in school and after I talk to her, if she still does this in school, the teacher will re-inforce what I tell her she shouldn't do it in school.

But I have no idea how to bring this up, and what to say. I've always worried about her masturbating, but have always ignored it as she's never done it in front of people, but now she does it each day in school.


Hi Lorilee!
First I want to apologize for the delay in my response. I've had some family situations that needed attending to and have been away from my work for a while.
Second, I want to confirm that this behavior is normal. Your daughter is just responding to a good feeling, the way she would respond to eating when she's hungry or scratching an itch, it feels good so she does it, and does not understand that it is a taboo in our culture to give in to certain feelings.
While the hormones and excessive emotions that come with sexuality in the early teen years are not present yet, her body has developed its sexual organs and their respective nerve endings, so of course it will feel good when that area is stimulated.

I doubt she is incapable of falling asleep without masturbating, more likely it's just become a routine and she does it when she's not all that tired. Trust me, when she's truly tired, her body will not need that stimulation to fall asleep.

As far as your talk with her, be open and honest. Use words she can understand. There's no need to go into the full discussion of masturbation or the birds and the bees, simply talk about how it feels good for you when you touch between your legs and it's OK if it does for her too, but it's something us girls only do in private, not around others, especially not in school. Don't make her feel bad about the act, just set the guideline that it's only OK in private. Try to tie in your own experiences, make it clear that all girls, even you, do it, and that will help avoid her feeling like she's miss-behaving.
Good luck!!

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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