Rutgers School of Public Health department of urban-global public health chair, Dr. Leslie Kantor, was quoted in the health section of the New York Times by noted pediatrician Dr. Perri Klass.
Dr. Kantor provided expert comment to parents on speaking with their children about masturbation, a topic that there is surprisingly little guidance or information on in pediatric literature. This lack of information and the general discomfort most parents may feel broaching the topic, has led a normal developmental behavior to be perceived as pathological.
“Young children, older children, adolescents and adults touching their genitals is perfectly normal, there are actually images of fetuses where you can see they’re touching the penis or touching the vulva,” said Dr. Kantor. “Where we culturally get confused is that when younger children are touching their genitals they’re doing it because it feels good,” just as other sensual experiences feel good, like stripping down and running through the sprinkler, but parents interpret it as overtly sexual.
Overall, Dr. Kantor along with other experts quoted for the piece, recommend a continued conversation with children and adolescents.
“You always have a chance to go back and provide additional information,” Dr. Kantor said.
“Why Is Children’s Masturbation Such a Secret?” by Dr. Perri Klass, recently ran in the New York Times.