Question:

My son, who just turned 11, has small amounts of pubic hair. He takes long showers. Is he able to masturbate? Does he ejaculate?

Answer:

Any person is able to masturbate at any age; that is, any person is able to play with their genitals and cause sexual stimulation. Children generally do not do so because it doesn't enter their minds that it is possible unless someone they know tells them about it. Unfortunately, with the widespread information on the Internet, many children are learning things that destroy their innocence.

From your brief description, I'm guessing your son is in stage 2 of development as described by Dr. Tanner. A boy who has some pubic hair is already experiencing spontaneous erections. Thus, he is becoming more aware of sexual feelings and it is highly likely that he is exploring those new feelings created by his body. While each individual varies, about half of all boys are able to ejaculate by the middle of stage 2 and the other half won't start ejaculating until they reach stage 4. Stage 3 is when boys experience their growth spurt.

This would be a good time to beginning talking to your son about growth and development. Many ideas concerning sexual matters will not yet make sense but should be lightly touched upon in preparation for later discussions. For ideas about what to talk about, I would suggest the first three chapters of Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys. The chapters titled: "What is Happening to Me?", "Your Body," and "Care of the Body" would be particularly useful for your son at this stage.

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