Jocelyn Elders was the US Surgeon General in 1993 until 1994. She was an outspoken and accomplished person, the first black woman in her medical class. During her career, she was a forceful advocate for health and well being. She fought hard for things she believed in and took a holistic approach to the health of individuals, communities and her country.
She was a controversial woman – her health policies included the decriminalization of marijuana and sexual health education in classrooms. Masturbation ended her tenure as Surgeon General.
She didn’t get caught masturbating, she got caught promoting it! At the 1994 World AIDS Day, while speaking at the UN, Jocelyn was asked whether or not masturbation ought to be taught in schools. Her answer was a resounding ‘YES!’ Soon after, the Clinton Administration removed her from her post.
Jocelyn argued that self love never got anyone pregnant or caused anyone to have a disease. No one ever grew hair on their palms from wanking. Or went blind. Playing with yourself won’t make you go crazy. And, Jocelyn rightly said, at least you know you’re having sex with somebody you love.
It seems like a crazy act of foreshadowing that Bill Clinton didn’t better listen to what Jocelyn had to say. The whole ‘I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman’ thing could have been avoided if Bill had just taken it in hand.
Since masturbation is a healthy thing to do, as parents we ought to be able to talk to our kids about it. Dare I say, we can even encourage it?
Talking points about juicing the fruit and polishing the sword:
- Our bodies are designed to give us pleasure. Some people like back tickles, some like back scratches. Some people like their hair played with or their feet massaged. Our genitals are designed to give us pleasure too. Introducing: the clitoris and erect penis.
- Masturbating is a great way to get to know your body and determine what feels good to you.
- For some people, masturbating helps them start the day, for others its a great way to get ready for sleep. And then there is fabulous day time masturbating.
Ways to introduce Jerkin’ the Gerkin and Rollin’ the Marble:
At ages 3,4, 5, 6 or 7
- When girls are looking at their vulvas (in the bath, while getting dressed, it’s great to offer a hand mirror for a better viewpoint) you can talk them through what they are looking at “This is your vagina – when you are grown up, if you want to have a baby, this is where a baby will come out of your uterus. This is the opening to your urethra- that’s where the pee comes out. And this area- above your urethra – it’s called your clitoris. For a lot of girls and women, this is a spot that makes you feel really good”.
- When boys have an erection, you can say “You see how your penis is hard? That’s called an erection at it happens to all people with penises. Men sometimes find that it feels good having erections and touching their penises.”
- Feeling good from touching your penis or clitoris is healthy and lots of people do it. But touching or rubbing your clitoris/vulva or penis is private. You can do it, and if you do, you should do it in your room when you are by yourself (or wherever you deem appropriate).
At ages 8,9,10,11 or 12
- Have you ever heard about masturbating? It’s something that some boys and girls do to make themselves feel good.
- If you hear a euphemism… “Do you know what ‘blank’ means? It means masturbating which is when a person touches or rubs their genitals (penis/vulva/clitoris) to make themselves feel good. It’s totally normal and healthy.
At ages 13,14,15,16,17…
- Have you ever heard about masturbating? It’s something that many people do to make themselves feel good.
- It’s normal and healthy and in fact is a great way to figure out what your body likes sexually. Then, when you’re with a sexual partner, you have information about your body that you can share with them. Since open communication is really important in an intimate, sexual relationship, talking about what feels good to you makes perfect sense.