Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293
Hi Concerned Friend and Welcome to Scarleteen,
It's really terrific that you want to help your friend not feel so bad about something that we here at Scarleteen view as something typical and healthy should people choose to do it.
One thing for you to consider, though, is that depending on how old you are (if you're an adult, for example), and your relationship with this boy, and on where you both live, it might be legally iffy for you to be having extended conversations with him about masturbation or other sexual topics. It may be just fine (so long as you aren't explicit in your conversations) but I wanted to raise that, as, if his family found out and didn't like it, there could be some trouble for you.
What I would suggest is to point him towards some resources that offer him different points of view. It's pretty hard to change someone's mind when they've presumably been taught these things for many years.
we have several articles here at this site including:
At some point, there's only so much you can do to influence someone else's thoughts, you know? It sounds like you and your boyfriend are approaching this from a place of good intentions, and I think it's great to encourage someone to feel ok about masturbation, but this isn't necessarily the sort of thing where you can change someone's feelings just by presenting facts.
It may just be good, for now, to leave him with the information you've provided and bring up issues of healthy sexuality as they come up naturally in conversation. Over time his thoughts may change, or there may be another entrance into a conversation about masturbation that comes up in the future.
Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013
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Unfortunately, it's always challenging to help someone when he/she hasn't made the conscious decision him/herself that he/she wants to change their current state of belief and/or emotions. The ultimate answer to problems like this is to give the person time without trying to pressure them to get help when they're clearly not ready, and make sure that he/she knows he/she has a safe and supportive network he/she can turn to for help when he/she is ready. I think you're already doing a swell job by bringing him here to Scarleteen and looking out for him by coming to us.
That being said, it probably wouldn't hurt to try and engage him, too. Have you tried asking him why he feels the way he does, and if they are his feelings or beliefs that have been impinged on him via external sources, e.g. his parents, his favorite movie(s), best friend, person he looks up to? If it's the latter, let him know that just because the source he puts value in believes masturbation is bad doesn't mean he has to usurp his own judgement about the activity and feel the same way; after all, he is entitled to his own opinions and judgement. You might find that coming at him from this angle will help him realize, too, that he is not completely not in control of his body, but rather, it is the reverse. Just knowing that might set something off in him to start seeing things differently.
And if he's not into talking, perhaps he might like journaling? Just writing down one's thoughts and ideas onto paper can be therapeutic, and he doesn't have to share them if he doesn't want to.
Hope this helps.
-------------------- Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale Posts: 234 | From: Hawaii | Registered: Feb 2013
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