Rubber soul

Pub date April 28, 2010 Blog

Dear Andrea:

I have memories from early childhood onward of masturbating. (I’m a woman.) I’m talking when I was four years old or possibly even younger. I remember doing it in public too, like in front of family members.

It always took the form of rubbing myself against objects or the floor. I’m pretty sure I experienced orgasm too. Is it normal for a child to experiment sexually like this? And do you think it’s appropriate to discuss it with my boyfriend? I’m sure I wasn’t harmed by the experiences, but it seems like I started sexually expressing myself awfully young!


Rub It In

Dear Rub:

Pish tosh. Four-year-old (and younger) girls are well-known frotteurs, and often show an interest in ride-on toys, coin-operated bucking broncos, broomstick ponies, and the like keen enough to discomfit nearby adults. The fact that we, the adults, may be discomfited oughtn’t in any way imply that the kids are doing anything wrong. You certainly weren’t.

Every child develops on his own schedule, of course, but it’s well-documented that male fetuses can get erections in utero, and certainly infants produce them regularly (although infants are too busy learning where their feet are to bother much with genitals yet). Toddler and preschool boys, will proudly indicate theirs while crowing “Penis! Penis!” and they won’t stop without some sort of (gently diplomatic) intervention. With boys or girls, it’s best to show no emotional reaction but simply suggest that erections or frotting be achieved, displayed, and investigated in private. Adults are certainly entitled to their reactions (often amusement, sometimes shock or dismay) but in the interest of not scarring one’s children for life, it’s best to hide those.

What you were doing as a kid was perfectly normal and totally harmless and I’m really sorry you had to go through that whole guilt and repression phase. I’m kind of cheered, though, to see that it didn’t take. While it probably wouldn’t be great for either you or your boyfriend for you to have only one route to orgasm, and that rather solitary. Rubbing is a perfectly good addition to one’s repertoire.

So, yes, it was normal to do what you did when you were doing it, and many adult women continue the practice, and I can’t think of a single reason not to mention it to your boyfriend. I imagine he will counter with some similar confession and you will both laugh and yet find yourselves just a bit turned on as well. I can’t promise that either of you will be able to come up with a good, non-awkward way to incorporate rubbing against inanimate objects into your partnered sex, but have you by any chance considered adapting your formerly solitary practice to your current situation? That is to say, you have a perfectly good object for your rubbing right there next to you, provided he doesn’t mind being called an object. If he is anything like any other heterosexual male I have encountered either personally or professionally, he will not mind in the least having an attractive and in this case already beloved female grind her pelvis against him.



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