Lux Alptraum of Boinkology wrote this post this morning:

I got my first vibrator when I was seventeen. It was pink, glittery, and penis shaped — and really, nothing to write home about. But it was still my first vibrator. I bought it at Babeland, took it home… and thus began my love affair with marital aids.

On some level, seventeen seems a little old to be discovering the joys of enhanced self love — but actually, it was technically too young. In my home state of New York, eighteen is the minimum age for sex toy purchases — and in other places, it goes as high as twenty-one.

Given our country’s stand on teen pregnancy (we hate it) and teen sex (not too fond of that one, either), it boggles my mind that we’re similarly opposed to teen masturbation. After all, teenagers are walking balls of hormones, full of vim, vigor, and sexual energy (mostly the latter): if we don’t want them to have sex, surely masturbation is an excellent way for them to deal with all those unwholesome urges.

But there’s more to it than that. For young people — and especially for young women — masturbation is an excellent way to learn about one’s body and sexual response, a way to discover what you like (and what gets you off) before you explore with a partner. Throw in a dildo or vibrator, and well — let’s just say it’s advanced exploration.

So given all of that, I’m tempted to say that girls should be given vibrators as soon as they hit high school age — or maybe even before (puberty rite of passage, anyone?). After all, what better way to celebrate emerging womanhood than with a big heaping helping of self love?

Of course, it’s not quite that simple: there’s that pesky little matter of state law, which complicates things a bit. But why are we so opposed to teens having vibes and dildos — and really, is it so bad for teens to know some electronic love? When would you recommend that a person get their first sex toy? Hey, inquiring minds want to know.

And here’s how I responded:

The problem, Lux, is that our society does not just dislike teenagers having sex because it may produce babies or spread disease – they dislike teenagers, particularly girls, having sex because it acknowledges the the teenager as a sexual being. And follow that train of thought to this point: Teenage girls masturbating acknowledges them as sexual beings too. Maybe even more than just sex – because that might have been at the prompting of a boy. Masturbation is purely about the young woman’s own sexual desires, which we’re scared shirtless about.

As to when a young woman should receive her first vibrator? Well, the problem with going too young is that it might just scare her off masturbation entirely. In general, I would probably suggest when she turns sixteen.

However, with the caveat that some girls will put them to good use younger. Girls who are particularly vocal or active about their sexuality could probably use one much younger.

And all this led me to another thing I’ve been pondering for some time now: Should teenage boys be given a masturbation sleeve, much like teenage girls should be given a vibrator?  I’m not very familiar with masturbation sleeves, nor have I ever had a conversation with someone who is.  I’d love to be enlightened about them – please pass on anything you know!