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QUESTION: You answered a question for me before about my son, and I have some more.

I didn't feel like talking to him about masturbating but I put a box of Kleenex next to his bed and stocked his bathroom with hand lotion.  I notice that he's used some of the lotion.  I feel like it's this thing that is not being talked about now and I wonder if I should just tell him I know what he's been doing with the lotion.

ANSWER: If you didn't feel like talking to him about masturbating before, why now?  How much has changed in a few weeks or months?  You seem to know what he's doing with the lotion, so what is the point of telling him you know?  I don't see any benefit to him from you telling him that.  I suggest talking to him for the purpose of letting him know things he needs to know.

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

QUESTION: I've always had very good communication with my son, and I feel that by knowing he's masturbating but not letting him know I know, that I'm not being honest with him.  I also worry that I'm going to walk in on him doing it one of these days and I feel that if I gave him some warning then that would be less likely to happen.  It's just the kind of thing I worry about as a single mother.

Answer
You probably do all sorts of things you don't tell your son about.  Why would he think it's a communication problem if you don't tell him you know he's masturbating?  He doesn't tell you he's masturbating.  If you really want to protect him against your walking in on him, then put a lock on his door.  He will be grateful to you every day even if he doesn't say so.

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Doug Adams, Ph.D.

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I am happy to answer all kinds of questions about sexuality.

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