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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
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More COVID-19 Updates

My 1-Year-Old Son Always Tries to Touch His Penis. Is This Masturbation?

My 1-Year-Old Son Always Tries to Touch His Penis. Is This Masturbation?

Lately, when I change my 1-year-old son'sdiaper, he reaches for his penis. Is that normal? Is that masturbation?
- Janice

Many concerned parents call their doctors because their kids touch their genitals during diaper changes or their baby boys have frequent erections. They're reassured that these behaviors are perfectly normal — even the youngest children naturally explore their bodies.

How you react — your voice, the words you use, your facial expressions — is one of your child's first lessons in sexuality. By responding without anger, surprise, or disapproving words, you teach your son that this curiosity about his body is just a normal part of life.

Toilet teaching, when it starts, will present another great opportunity to reinforce accepting attitudes about your child's anatomy.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013