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Old 12-28-2009, 06:04 PM
 
17 posts, read 394,783 times
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I am a regular poster here, but I decided to post this anonymously because I've mentioned who I am on my normal account and this is of a somewhat personal nature. Forgive me if I'm rambling a bit.

Earlier today I was taking a box of Christmas decorations out to the garage and when I entered, I discovered my 11 year old son and his friend with their pants down, performing mutual masturbation on each other. Everyone was embarrassed and surprised, but I tried not to show it and told them to come meet me in the living room, giving them a chance to get decent and calm down a little bit.

A few long minutes later my son shuffles in, blushing and staring at the floor. I ask where the friend is and am told he went home (a couple blocks, he's allowed to go alone, although he left his stuff from sleeping over last night). I took him up to his room (so we could speak more privately, since DD was also home) and told him that I wasn't angry, that he should not be ashamed, that I wanted him to stop doing this and continue being private in what he does about his sexuality, and that I wanted him always to be able to talk to me about anything.

For his part, he was clearly willing to talk to me. He answered my questions seemingly truthfully and expressed the various feelings and thoughts and desires he was having in perhaps-excessive detail. (This is not the first time where he has been so open and honest as to make us uncomfortable; we take this as a good sign!) Finally he told me that he would be continuing to do this if possible. He seemed more honest than defiant, I think trying to determine whether I was making it a serious rule. I told him we would have to discuss it more later.

DW has come home since and I told her everything, and the two of us still do not know how to proceed. We seem to have the same attitude, which we are willing to rethink. We would prefer our son not share his sexuality with anyone else, but we really don't care if he experiments with his friends. We are not worried this will cause any psychological damage. We are worried this will lead to more risky sexual behavior. We don't want to come down too hard on him because we fear that we could make him ashamed of his sexuality, which we suspect screws more people up than touching another boy's privates. We agree that if he had sworn he wouldn't do something like this again we would not have stopped letting him have sleepovers and such, so we do not want to punish him for honesty.

Does anyone have any insight for us? What should we do? Are we being altogether too liberal about this? Should we tell the other boy's parents? I really hate to tell them because we could imagine them overreacting and I would hate to be the cause of lots of grief for DS's friend. I could even imagine them blaming my son and "warning" other parents about him, spreading what should be very private information. Does anyone have any insight about the predicament?

 
Old 12-28-2009, 06:54 PM
 
13,477 posts, read 13,738,727 times
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goodness, I think maybe you are right to keep this in your family for the time being as it would not be good if your son was no longer allowed to play with other children because of this. does your son think he is gay and that is why he wants to continue this? or is his desire to continue just because it feels good? either way is not a problem per say. I would try very hard to get him to keep his sexual activities to himself. he is too young for sexual contact with any sex. I too would also worry about him or any boy or girl, at this age manipulating another for their own pleasure. many children manipulate others, for all sorts of reasons. I am not saying he is manipulating, just some children are leaders and others followers. is he a leader or a follower, is he a bully? in that assessment it may give you an idea of intent.
I might stop the sleep overs until you can really figure out more what is going on. is there any way you can find out how far he has taken this or if someone else has been with him to the point that he now has interest that he didn't have before. 11 is very young, many kids know at this age where their sexuality lays but it really is too young for a child to be sexually active unless it is with himself. you do not want to be so permissive that he thinks its ok to have relations so by the time he is 16 he has many lovers under his belt. but nor do you want him to be ashamed of who he is and how he expresses himself. I think you need more information. you sound like great parents to be so open with him. I would continue the openness and try to make him understand that sex is something you do when you have a committed relationship it is not a thing to do with your pals. good luck
 
Old 12-28-2009, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
14,017 posts, read 20,120,117 times
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I think 11 seems young to be experimenting, but that could be me. I would suggest talking to a therapist or pediatrician and see what is normal behavior for his age. I know if I found out my son was over at your house 'experimenting' and you knew about it and did not tell me, I would be extremely upset.

I think you are handling it wonderfully so far, telling your son to not be ashamed and supporting him is THE most important thing.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
12,761 posts, read 22,821,038 times
Reputation: 12060
Would the concerns be the same if you had caught him doing this with a girl?
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:13 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 87,730,318 times
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I don't think this is experimenting. I think it's way too old for sex-exploration playing-doctor type behavior. This is sex. Period.

There is a possibility that this is different from heterosexual encounters between children. It MIGHT be the same thing, but I think you owe it to your son to get to the bottom of it. This could be the result of one of the boys acting out from being sexually abused. I wouldn't want to put a blind eye to that possibility. Be opened minded that it could be either child. I'd want to get to the bottom of WHY. The reality is that children who have been molested also act out with children their own age or younger. I think it's important to identify if it is normal homosexual experimentation on a mutual level. I think it's important to figure out who initiated it. If your son initiated it, I would want to find out if he's been molested in the past.

If you determine that you are confident that your son has not been molested in the past, then move on to treating this as you would early sex between heterosexual children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomePerson View Post
(This is not the first time where he has been so open and honest as to make us uncomfortable; we take this as a good sign!)
I think this could be a bad sign. Too much sexual detail that makes people uncomfortable is a trademark warning sign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomePerson View Post
(We don't want to come down too hard on him because we fear that we could make him ashamed of his sexuality, which we suspect screws more people up than touching another boy's privates.
I'm not saying you handled it wrong. I think it's wise that you didn't make a big deal about it when you caught them in the act. I also think it's wise you kept your son comfortable when you first talked to him. Not doing so could really screw up a kid's sexuality. However, I think more needs to be addressed going forward.

You can stop sleep overs at your house, but you are really in a place where you shouldn't allow him to go to other kids houses. Just think how other parents will react if they catch him with their son. THAT will screw him up sexually. You need to say, "Hey, sex is for marriage." I could care less if homosexuals can't get married. I highly doubt he's homosexual. I don't think you should allow them being the same sex to keep you from drawing a strong line about your expectations regarding sex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustSomePerson View Post
(Does anyone have any insight for us? What should we do? Are we being altogether too liberal about this? Should we tell the other boy's parents? I really hate to tell them because we could imagine them overreacting and I would hate to be the cause of lots of grief for DS's friend. I could even imagine them blaming my son and "warning" other parents about him, spreading what should be very private information. Does anyone have any insight about the predicament?
These are very real fears. I've known parents who have chosen to not tell about catching opposite sex playing doctor type behavior. Your son needs to be aware that even the boy himself might talk about him to other kids. If the other boy has any type of uncomfortable feelings about the encounter, he might react by telling other kids that your son is gay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Aguilar View Post
Would the concerns be the same if you had caught him doing this with a girl?
Good question. I think the OP would be harsher on the boy if he had found him with a girl. He would be lecturing about birth control, rubbers and safe sex. The safe sex, wait until you're married speech should still happen even though two boys can't get pregnant. Homosexuals need to have safe sex too. Homosexuals should wait for love too. All of these conversations shouldn't be tossed aside because it's not a heterosexual encounter. I think that's a mistake--especially when you consider it's highly likely that he's not homosexual. The message about safe sex won't reach him to apply to heterosexual sex. It's a unique double standard. And I doubt it's a double standard the OP intended.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
12,761 posts, read 22,821,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopes View Post
Good question. I think the OP would be harsher on the boy if he had found him with a girl. He would be lecturing about birth control, rubbers and safe sex. The safe sex, wait until you're married speech should still happen even though two boys can't get pregnant. Homosexuals need to have safe sex too. Homosexuals should wait for love too. All of these conversations shouldn't be tossed aside because it's not a heterosexual encounter. I think that's a mistake.
I think the same rules should apply, homo or hetero encounter.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:24 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 87,730,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Aguilar View Post
I think the same rules should apply, homo or hetero encounter.
Me too. I think the OP is approaching this differently than he would have if it was a girl. I think he's making a mistake in that regard.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: 60630
11,503 posts, read 16,721,395 times
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I say, Leave it alone. It is embarrassing enough for him. Let your son know that if he has any questions he can come to you and let him know you will be there for him and be supportive. 11 years old is still young.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 10:01 PM
 
Location: here
24,265 posts, read 28,206,342 times
Reputation: 30326
oh my! I think you've gotten some good advice so far and some good questions raised. I think it is normal to experiment by yourself at age 11, NOT with someone else. I think you should talk to him again and find out how this started. I think you should tell him that exploring alone in his room is ok. exploring with another person, male or female, is not (at this age).
 
Old 12-28-2009, 10:55 PM
 
17 posts, read 394,783 times
Reputation: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by hothulamaui View Post
goodness, I think maybe you are right to keep this in your family for the time being as it would not be good if your son was no longer allowed to play with other children because of this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by veuvegirl View Post
I think 11 seems young to be experimenting, but that could be me. I would suggest talking to a therapist or pediatrician and see what is normal behavior for his age. I know if I found out my son was over at your house 'experimenting' and you knew about it and did not tell me, I would be extremely upset.

I think you are handling it wonderfully so far, telling your son to not be ashamed and supporting him is THE most important thing.
I appreciate the encouragement from both of you. The conflicting advice about whether to tell the other boy's parents is difficult to deal with. DW and DS dropped off the boy's overnight bag after dinner and we decided not to say anything for now, but still may.

Though we are justifying it to ourselves as protecting our son's privacy, but a big part of not wanting to tell the parents is that we do not approve of how we think they wish to parent their son. We know this is not our place, but we also don't want to be involved in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hothulamaui View Post
does your son think he is gay and that is why he wants to continue this? or is his desire to continue just because it feels good? either way is not a problem per say. I would try very hard to get him to keep his sexual activities to himself. he is too young for sexual contact with any sex. I too would also worry about him or any boy or girl, at this age manipulating another for their own pleasure. many children manipulate others, for all sorts of reasons. I am not saying he is manipulating, just some children are leaders and others followers. is he a leader or a follower, is he a bully? in that assessment it may give you an idea of intent.
I might stop the sleep overs until you can really figure out more what is going on. is there any way you can find out how far he has taken this or if someone else has been with him to the point that he now has interest that he didn't have before. 11 is very young, many kids know at this age where their sexuality lays but it really is too young for a child to be sexually active unless it is with himself. you do not want to be so permissive that he thinks its ok to have relations so by the time he is 16 he has many lovers under his belt. but nor do you want him to be ashamed of who he is and how he expresses himself. I think you need more information. you sound like great parents to be so open with him. I would continue the openness and try to make him understand that sex is something you do when you have a committed relationship it is not a thing to do with your pals. good luck
He did not say anything about being gay and I elected not to ask so far. I considered assuring him that doing this does not mean he is gay, but I did not want to address a concern that wasn't there. (My wife and I do not care whether he ends up gay, straight, or whatever else.)

I do not think my son is manipulating the other boy. To the extent there is a power imbalance in this friendship, the other boy is the leader. The stuff that DS said he liked about touching his friends neared submissive: his friend's larger genitals and statur and greater pubic hair and (in his mind) attractiveness. (This is what I meant by uncomfortable, excessive detail.) However, I believe this indicates an obsession with the changes he is just starting to experience more than anything, as it sounds like this is a major part of early-adolescent sexuality.

The only way I can think to "find out how far he has taken this" is to ask. He says he has touched his friend a few times and they have masturbated in each other's presence several times, usually after discussing "sex and girls and stuff". He claims never to have had oral or other sex. He says he has masturbated in the presence of one other friend; it sounds like there was porn involved. (He would not say with whom, but it's easy enough to guess.) I believe he was honest with me, though it was hard to tell at times because he was understandably embarrassed. He hesitated when I brought up oral sex so I am not sure if he was lying; I am worried he may be engaging in unprotected oral sex and think I will press the issue.

Anyhow, there are lots of the details. I don't know how many are necessary, but we're trying to think through them all. DW and I discussed the idea of letting DS talk to a therapist, but we really don't want to make a big deal out of this incident. I think we would have been a lot quicker to put it behind us if DS had not made it clear he wished to continue the behavior. And I think the difference between him and other kids in the same situation is just his honesty.
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