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How do we manage son’s masturbation?

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My husband and I are really concerned about our 10 year old son who is masturbating with his stuffed animals. He does this in his bedroom and it is happening like every day. Our son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, so we are not sure if he is completely understanding what he is doing. Is this normal behavior? My husband and I are afraid that he may begin to touch girls since he is touching himself this much. My husband has been taking his stuffed animals from him, should he? What should we do?

How do we manage son’s masturbation?

Answered by on -


Masturbation this frequently is unusual in a 10 year old. Although he is doing it in the privacy of his bedroom (which is what you want him to do), he is doing it so that you know — even though he knows it troubles his parents. Complicating our ability to understand is that he has autism. Autistic kids often fall on to a habit of some kind of self-stimulation that helps them self-soothe.

If I were his counselor, I’d be exploring several concerns: I’d be wondering if someone took advantage of him, thinking that since he is autistic, the boy wouldn’t be able to tell anyone. Maybe your son is trying to tell you something in the only way he knows how. I’d also wonder if an older kid had shown him this neat trick called masturbation that makes him feel good and now the boy is repeating it because it does, in fact, feel good. Yet another possibility is that he is in a fight with you and has found the perfect way to upset you. Needless to say, I’d need to know a whole lot more to know which might make sense.

I think you need to talk to a counselor who has expertise in autism to help you figure out what is going on and what to do to help your son. Please don’t wait. If the cause of this behavior is that he was hurt by someone, he needs your help now. Your city has many resources for parents. Go to for a listing of organizations.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How do we manage son’s masturbation?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How do we manage son’s masturbation?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.