BOYS AND THEIR PENISES

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m at a loss sometimes when it comes to raising a boy. I didn’t grow up with brothers, or male cousins. I haven’t the faintest notion of how males work. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be single.

Girly things I can relate to. I know about getting periods, and breasts, and gynecological exams. I can do makeup, and hair, and clothing coordination.

I don’t know the first thing about penises, except that they’re demanding, and seem to take precedence over all things. For the past few days, my son, who’s almost ten, has been obsessed with his penis. He and I can be sitting on the couch, having a perfectly lovely conversation about reading, and suddenly he’ll pull down his pants and treat his penis like a finger puppet—making it speak and move. Sometimes, it’s a volcano, threatening to explode. (I don’t want to read too much into that one.)

When stuff like that happens, my brain goes off in a hundred different directions, trying to decide the best way to handle these situations.

A sexually-repressed mother would probably slap her son, and tell him to never let “that thing” out again—which may result in him growing up and unleashing “his thing” every chance he got.

A sexually-liberated mother might tell her son to embrace his penis, to never be ashamed of nudity—which may result in him growing up and embracing his penis every chance he got.

I find myself falling somewhere in the middle: I don’t want to see his penis, especially in our living room, but I don’t want him to be in therapy over it later on either. I realize he’s discovered his penis in a way that will now make it front and center his entire life. I also can’t help but think that if I had a daughter, I seriously doubt we’d be talking about her vagina in the third person.

Or maybe not. Maybe there are little girls out there who liken their vaginas to, oh, I don’t know, flowers, or walk around pretending their vaginas are meowing.

When your child’s genitalia takes on the importance of say, a best friend, how should a mother react?

I don’t want my son to be embarrassed or ashamed of his budding sexuality, but I also don’t want to have conversations with the “little guy,” if you know what I mean.

So far, I’ve humored my son, and told him to keep the little General in his pants, or I’ll chop it off and throw it in the dumpster. But then I wonder if joking about it may cause irrational fear of castration in his future.

When push comes to shove (no pun intended), all I really want is for my son to learn to use his penis for good, instead of evil.

Anyone have any helpful advice they’d like to share?

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Menopausalmama
    May 21, 2012 @ 11:37:30

    Right now I can’t think of any advice to leave because I’m laughing too hard after reading this!! Awesome blog post!

    Reply

  2. emptysack
    May 22, 2012 @ 03:19:07

    Us males are indeed sensitive about genitalia. And when parts thereof are gone, we do miss ’em.

    Reply

  3. Angeline
    May 28, 2012 @ 12:59:52

    Hmm…I don´t think my son ever did that, or maybe I have just decided to repress those memories…Actually I think your middle way is just fine. Getting the idea that the little fellow should be kept in the pants will hopefully stop someone else from chopping it off, which will happen if he keeps letting the beast out of the cage in public…
    I´ve had a few serious talks with my son about sex, girls, condomes, pregnancies, female orgasm etc through the last few years. My advice: be as honest as you can, because kids can spot a liar anyday and that will haunt you! But then I´m Swedish, and as the world knows – we are very outspoken in these matters and walk around nude all day long even in the wintertime:))

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      May 28, 2012 @ 20:59:37

      I think I will decide to repress certain select memories — like my son humping everything in sight…the couch, the dog, his DSI. He does it in a joking way, but I can’t help but think of an unneutered dog humping literally everything in its path! Ah, the joys of testosterone…

      Reply

  4. Grief Happens
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 14:30:54

    LOVE this post and as a mother to two boys, I deal with this sort of situation constantly. I keep it pretty relaxed but my boys are only 5 and 4 — hoping they’ll soon learn that public stroking is inappropriate. I’m big on the term “private activity” as in “I know that feels good and it’s perfectly normal, but like using the restroom, it’s a private activity and I’d rather you do it in your room or the restroom.” As long as we don’t have company, I just ignore it if they’re playing with it at home as long as we’re not at the table. My sexually repressed and always-appropriate Southern Belle mother could write the book on how NOT to handle penis parties of one. She was visiting once and my 5yo began fondling himself while watching TV. From the other side of the house I heard her scream, “Oh my dear lord in heaven, take your hands out of your pants and go straight to the bathroom — we need to wash off that filth.” I pretty much lost my mind and sent her packing a day early.

    Just discovered your great blog. Love your writing & look forward to reading more.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Nov 28, 2012 @ 20:35:45

      Welcome, and thank you! Wow, two boys under the age of 6–kudos to you for still having your sanity. On the one hand, it’s great for them to play together and on the other hand…well, you’ll have to fill in that blank. I laughed at “penis parties of one.” That’s an excellent way to describe it. The problem with reactions such as the one your mother had is that the child grows up to think that what he’s doing is dirty or something to be ashamed of–and sometimes deviant behavior can come of it. That’s why I try not to make a huge deal about it, either, or take the route, “You’re going to burn in hell if you…”

      The only trump card I use is the Santa one, but not over penis issues. It’s more like, “If you keep speaking to me disrespectfully Santa will bring you coal, or only an orange.” Sadly that only works for the month of December.

      Reply

  5. Angela Bousin
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 10:49:17

    Your son is just a normal 10 year old boy discovering his own body. Let him go through this natural part of his life, he will play, he will question.. just answer him with not much fuss or signs of being ashamed. Make him feel comfortable to talk to you about it. He’s soon going to go through puberty and if he feels secure talking to you and asking you what’s going on, he will grow up knowing the right aspects of life and will not depend on equally pubescent friends who will have learned from playboy-like magazines. Enjoy your son as much as you can… they grow up too fast!!!

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Mar 06, 2013 @ 15:11:42

      I agree with you 100% about not making him feel ashamed or uncomfortable. The last thing I want is for him to be embarrassed over his budding sexuality. Although sometimes I just have to laugh at how “penis-oriented” boys are. I was never so obsessed over my lady parts growing up! Except for my period. My best friend and I were extremely obsessed over who would get theirs first. (I did!)

      Reply

  6. Janice
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 11:29:44

    My 8 boys range in age from 11 to 28, all boys YES, all boys. They are always talking about their penises, sharing events, experiences, first ejaculations are usually rather spectacular and the word spreads rapidly. They all see each other naked constantly, the older ones let the little ones look and touch and check out so they know what to expect as they grow up, its all healthy. What better person to explain about your lil buddy than your big brother. The oldest had the youngest in his room with both their pants down, little guy had a boner, big guy was explaining all about it. I walked in, older yelled MOM GET OUT OF HERE ! Whoops… As each one finishes puberty, its his job to teach the next one coming up about masturbating, and getting hairs, and wet dreams and all. Boys are awesome, they work in packs and take care of each other, not like girls who work in cliques and trash anyone who isnt in the inner circle. Boys are better….

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Sep 27, 2013 @ 15:57:47

      Thanks for being so open and honest. I love everything you’ve said. What should I do if there’s no male figure around to talk to him about this stuff though? I’m not sure how comfortable I feel patting him on the back after his first wet dream or successful ejaculation. Do you have a blog? Anyone with 8 boys should have a blog. Or a Facebook page. Or have written a book on the subject. Or have a shrine erected in your honor. Seriously. I have much I could learn from you.

      Reply

  7. Richard Todger
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 04:34:57

    I find it hilarious reading your comments ladies. Great stuff. The thing is boys don’t change at all with respect to their penis when they become men. I am taking a development approach with my two boys that they should give their mind the same attention as their penis and am expecting great things from them.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Oct 10, 2014 @ 11:17:28

      I wish you luck! With my 12 year old right now it’s all about the penis and his budding fascination with girls. It’s a wonder boys can concentrate at all in their classes since all the blood flow seems to be going toward those 3 inches between his legs!

      Reply

  8. pupscout
    Jun 01, 2016 @ 22:50:00

    Talking from a male perspective, and remembering when I was young, my advice is that is be respectful, ie: there is a time and place, for example don’t discourage his exploration instead redirect, and that the time and place is say the bathroom or his room. And I love what Janice commented above. It is perfectly heathy.

    Reply

  9. Ezekiel
    Sep 16, 2017 @ 17:15:25

    Male perspective. Tell him it’s natural and normal and to go somewhere private. Also get a male that he can relate to (uncle, friend, neighbour, his male doctor or a Big Brother) and let them do the puberty talk for the next few years. LOL. Testosterone is stronger than estrogen in regards to sexual urges. Bare in mind that you really don’t want to know everything in regards to where his penis goes, has gone and what he does with it. A female could never understand how magical a penis is.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Sep 18, 2017 @ 09:38:56

      Ah yes, the magical penis. I’m starting to truly understand how very “important” it is to a male. We’re starting to establish boundaries finally. I don’t get an announcement anymore that he’s “going to masturbate, so don’t come in.” That’s progress, I think.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your .02.

      Reply

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