Pull out the toys and get your lotion ready! The United Nations has a new report out suggesting kids as young as five need to be taught about masturbation.
Officially it’s UNESCO, the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization which issued the report meant to encourage sex education for kids. Not suprisingly, social conservatives are up in arms.
One group is accusing the U.N. of promoting abortion and devaluing “traditional” marriage. Yawn.
Now back to the exciting stuff. The report, titled International Guidelines on Sexuality Education, suggests kids ages five through eight should learn that:
- Most children are curious about their bodies
- It is natural to explore and touch parts of one’s own body
- Bodies can feel good when touched
- Touching and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbation
- Some people masturbate and some do not
- Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private
For kids ages nine through twelve, they move on to:
- Human beings are born with the capacity of enjoying their sexuality
- Masturbation is often a person’s first experience of sexual pleasure
- Many boys and girls begin to masturbate during puberty
- Masturbation does not cause physical or emotional harm
- People in long-term relationships may still masturbate
- Most young people are curious about sexuality and have many questions
- It is acceptable to talk and ask questions about sexuality
- Definitions of sex, sexuality, gender, gender role, gender identity, and sexual orientation
- Cultural and gender role stereotypes affect sexual behaviour
- Importance of talking with trusted adult about sexuality
The topics get more in-depth as kids age, and masturbation is hardly the only topic explored – there’s everything from gender equality to “body rights.” And when read in context, it doesn’t sound nearly as exciting – or damning. Young kids masturbate – they touch, it feels good, they keep going. And doctors, by and large, advise parents to let it go. Teach them not to do it in public, perhaps, because it could lead to lewdness charges down the line, but they’re not doing anything WRONG.
By and large, the UNESCO plan puts sexuality in context in the human life cycle. Rather than encouraging it, the idea is to open up a conversation that lets children know something feeling good isn’t sin coursing through their veins (yes, I was raised Catholic, we heard that many a time).
Masturbation is against certain religions (hello, repressed Catholic here), but it’s not going to get kids pregnant or keep them from later on finding a partner and getting married. Is it so bad that a five-year-old may not be terrified when he figures out the seatbelt brushing against his manhood doesn’t feel half bad?