Leave it in the sink after cleaning it? Hahaha. Like teenage boys would even think about cleaning something.


I can see leaving it in the drainer to dry out after usage


I’m so glad my boys are all past this fraught age. From fourteen to sixteen seemed the most turbulent.


I am just relieved to see that a sex toy was all he asked for.


Fleshlights are vulgar. Get him a Tenga, instead. Way classier, plus, even if he does leave it in the sink (ew), it'll be more difficult for the average houseguest to i.d.


Fleshlights are way more hassle than they're worth. So he'll probably abandon it quickly and go back to his hand anyway.


My answer in this situation would be to give your kids “gift cards to get whatever you want.” Call me old-fashioned, but it feels like it’s crossing a boundary to me, For a parent to be so directly involved with children’s masturbation.


@ 8 Not many stores are going to sell sex toys to a 16 year old.


Frankly, any boy comfortable enough to ask his mother for a sex toy probably deserves one. But to SPM question, her son is not going to be disappointed with vaginal sex after using a Fleshlight, and vastly more likely not to get used to a grip not capable of by a vagina.

SPM real concern about this toy, is whether her son will be motivated to clean it properly.


@9 Have you heard of this new thing? It's called online shopping. You don't have to go into a sex toy store to buy a sex toy these days.


First, if there’s a father then where is he on all this?
Back to toy- fleshlight is not likely to do much damage if any at all. If cleanliness and ability to control pressure are your concerns then get him a fleshlight that opens up and one can place their penis in there while squeezing as they please. Some of them come with different inner textures for added excitement.
They can be opened up, allowing user to dump stuff in the toilet, and wash it, with a special soap, in the bathtub. (Tell him no sinks whatswoever.)
Make sure to also get proper lube and cleaner with this device.


@8: You're not old fashioned. Get back to being a Mother, Mom instead of acting like a teenage contemporary.


Interesting that’d you’d debunk the myth of vibrators desensitizing clits whilst propagating the myth of the “death grip” in male masturbation.

I’m sure you know very well medical science doesn’t recognize either of them because there is no proof either exist.

Your bias is showing, Dan.


Possibly the most cringe-worthy conversation with Mom ever. I think that any of the guys I knew at that age would have crawled under a rock & died before bringing that up.


Mom, but him some condoms, will save the mess and get him used to them. You know he won't clean it properly... also, buy him lube...


@15: Ditto
For the last 200,000 years or so human boys have figured out how to rub one out without Mom's help or injection molded plastic devices purchased on the Interwebs. Maybe a bit less sharing would be wise?


9b assumes facts not in evidence.


@4 LavaGirl: Lava, I think you deserve a medal.


Yes, most I knew about my sons’ sexual behaviours was the dried up socks in their drawers. Which I left exactly where they were.
Then I was so traumatised by Catholic bull I may have gone too far the other way. If they had talked with me about any of it, I’d have responded for sure. Positively. They just never did.


Before you think I searched thru my sons drawers, no. It was a one off as I looked for a pen.
My children had their and have their space. Except when the food started to go off. Then I had to do something.


Re @20; when one does it one assumes they all do it. I didn’t have brothers, so boys coming of age was a new one for me.


Is this flashlight going to be gift-wrapped and given at the party where there's cake and family and friends?

Because if not, forget the birthday present, get one for him tomorrow.


Either way, get him some lube. That can also help with working against the death grip. And fucking the fleshlight without lube won't be much fun as far as I can tell (I've never owned one).


@18/vennominon: I assume you are referring to my last sentence. That wasn't written as a guess to her feelings, but my sense as to what she should be worrying about if she decides to go ahead and purchase him this particular sex toy. If any, that was poor drafting, but since I wrote it at midnight, I give myself a pass.

Perhaps I would add now that SPM might also want to consider whether it is likely that her pre-teen daughter is going to come across this sex toy, and how to handle that situation (eventuality).




I'm going to line up with the crowd who believe this is just taking helicopter parenting a bit too far. The next step will be mom writing in asking if it's okay if SHE jerks off the kid.

I began masturbating at the age of 12 (before I could ejaculate) and somehow managed to do it successfully without help from my parents. Fortunately, my body came with a built-in Fleshlight. Two of them, in fact. A bit of hand lotion/moisturizer and a few tissues and I was good to go.

Oh, I can see where "death grip" could possibly exist among older men (55+). But for a kid? Nonsense. Pure nonsense.


Ugh, no. Give him cash, tell him to spend it on whatever he wants. For future, be glad your son is okay with talking about sex with you and guide him to independence by saying that he's to come to you if he's worried or unhappy, needs advice, or needs help navigating an appointment with a doctor, but for actual help masturbating, other than giving him privacy as part of the general course of living in the house, he's on his own. That's privacy meaning a bedroom door that closes and privacy meaning a place to put his things away, somewhere you won't clean or spy. He could keep a journal (as though anyone wrote on paper anymore) there too.

Same for a daughter and a vibrator.

Healthy boundaries leads to independent adults.

(I grew up with a mother who was only too glad to talk about sex with me. The examples of times she overstepped are appalling. Spent years in therapy getting over it.)


@16 right on to the condoms. Every boy should get used to the feel so they don't have issues later. Not only that they also need to know the proper way to put them on and especially remove them to avoid pregnancy. But too much of our efforts to educate our kids is about the technical aspects of sex as Dan often says.

As it happens a few years back I bought a Tenga Flip which is basically a fleshlight that looks like it is from the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm 54 and a VERY experienced masturbater. I bought into the idea that this device would be a great vagina alternative. They aren't. It doesn't feel anything like a vagina. As the inimitable Flavor Flav once said, "Don't Believe The Hype", heh, I guess Chuck D said it too. I never really got into it. One problem is that, like a vagina, you have to be sort of hard just to get inside it. So you end up wanking a little bit before you can use it. That might get lube on your hand, then the device is slippery and hard to hold. It is also pretty big and awkward. It doesn't feel better than my hand, it just feels different. Because it isn't my hand it is pretty difficult to control when orgasm happens, which might be good for some, but when I do get the chance to have a go, I prefer to make it last and that is much easier to do with my hand. It is also a pain in the ass to mess with. You have to use a ton of lube, cleanup is a bitch even though it opens up to clean out and dry. Now it just sits in one of my drawers unused. When I bought it the reviews said it was good for about 50 uses, which seemed low to me. I'd bet I've maybe used it 10 times in 5 years.

You also shouldn't try carrying one on a flight, I know this It looks like a pipe bomb, and the ONE time I did try to carry it on (my wife slipped it in my bag as a thoughtful surprise on a business trip), the TSA Agent held it over HER head and asked if any of her co-workers knew what it was. Then I had to explain it to her...shudder.


@26 Marty, oh dear. That’s the problem with any mother involving her self with her sons’ sex toys. Before long he expects her to clean it.
Not sure about this one. Buying sex toys for one’s children. I wouldn’t have done it, if a child had asked.


This is why we have Amazon gift cards. That site offers a bewildering array of Flashlights, including the Fleshlight Stamina Training Unit Male Masturbator, and the Fleshlight Alien Male Masturbator (which sounds perfect for a teenager).


@14 Except for all the letters he gets from people who used a tight grip and later struggled with vaginal intercourse. Also, the lack of a scientific study on something does not make it a myth. Finally, to suggest that Dan, a gay man with a rich history of enjoyable interaction with penises, is somehow biased against boys masturbating (what bias exactly are you suggesting he has, actually?), especially in the context of a letter where he responds by pointing out a mother's bias in the opposite direction of what you suggest, is quite frankly idiotic. Which is not to say that you are an idiot, but you sure do sound like one in that comment.


The kid needs to learn how to scheme to get things he wants but is not allowed to have just like all the other kids. It is an important life skill that will not be learned if he runs to mommy for everything. Generations before him found a way to score booze, porn, and drugs, and he has to learn as well.

Tell the boy to solve his own problems, and in the meantime, he can use his hand like his forefathers did before him. Teaches character.


@12 No sinks? Really? It's just semen, it's as safe and clean as any of the food you put on your table.

And to the people who think parents should treat masturbation as something shameful which should never be discussed - well, shame on you! But don't sex shame your kids, it's ignorant and nasty.


1 - is "Death Grip" a myth?

2 - this poor boy is going to experience new levels of humiliation when his friends find the fleshlight.


@32 meanwhile, what is it, 70% of women can't get off from vaginal intercourse? What's the number for men, 10%? The reason we get "all these letters" is because our society has normalized the idea that women don't get off during PIV but still ignores that men have any issues during sex other that "can't get it up" or "cums too quickly", so these guys are left with the idea that rather than being on the spectrum of normal, they're broken or dysfunctional in some manner.


I don’t see any body trying to shame here, ECarpenter@34... talking about appropriate distances between parents and children seems an apt subject, given the questions Dan has been choosing lately.
It is a cross over point, and parents have to act wisely.
How much a child shares with their parents varies, because look at all the responses. For a child to cross over into adult sexuality healthily, that never changes. How to achieve that is the focus. Not shame. This mother has a real question, about her sixteen year old son.
It feels dicey to me. This boy needs to leave his mother out of his sex from now on. Big shift time.
No is my vote. Don’t buy him a sex toy for his birthday.
Some good books.


Give him cash, point him towards and tell him to pick what he wants, but he's cleaning it himself, and also cleaning his room himself (if he isn't already) because now he's old enough for that.


If you are going to take on these more complex questions Dan, read up on the dynamics of a hetero-sexual family. What a mother shares with her daughter is very different to what she shares with her son. Didn’t need to give my sons the monthly bleed story, except in reverse.
A mother needs to step away from her son’s sexuality in a different way to how she is with her daughter. Not that my daughter was any more forth coming than my sons.
Yes talk with our kids about ethics and right behaviour and speech. Their sex, it’s got to be theirs to discover as we wave them off. It’s a change for a mother, when a son moves onto other people as their main object/s of affection. That’s how it has to be. Because we want our sons in their own orbit.
Hard core subjects.


Good thing we discuss penis-oriented sex toys., as they certainly don't get the coverage and reviews that vagina-clit toys get. As a result we have far smaller selection, and mostly Asian-made toys that cater to their own domestic market.


@38 Thank you for introducing me to that website and those comics.


You can purchase a prepaid Visa cards at practically any grocery store or Target nowadays. Give him one of those and say I’d rather not know what this is buying, because there are some things moms and sons need to keep separate just to be polite. Whatever you get, read the instructions and keep it clean or you will have a smelly, bacteria filled something rotting in your drawer, and that kind of defeats the purpose. Answering sex questions is different then being the direct agent for buying stuff like this, just as buying alcohol for underage teens is a bad idea. A caveat to that is I will let them have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner once they are mature enough, because I want them to learn that you don’t have to drink to oblivion, you can do it responsibly. Put enough money on the card to cover the purchase and shipping. A note: Fleshlights are expensive, but there are generic alternatives that cost less depending on what your budget is.




Oh smajor82 perhaps reading comprehension is not your thang.

Dan clearly believes death grip is a thing because he says so, “But if you want your son to arrive at partnered sex without a bad case of death grip syndrome, a Fleshlight is a safer option than a fist.”

Yet he goes on to cite a Bustle article debunking genital desensitization in women from the overuse of vibratory as a myth.

So men can desensitize their penises throrough too vigorous masturbation but women can’t?

Do explain the science of that to me please.

And I don’t care that Dan is a gay man. He can still be wrong.


Vibrator desensitization is absolutely a thing! I don't care what Dan or Dr Marin from that article say (and she never cites a source, anyway.) Having been gifted a vibrator at 16 by my big sister was great and taught me about my own pleasure. Tossing all my toys at 26 and learning to enjoy subtler sensations was the best thing I could have done for my sex life, though. My partner no longer has to get lockjaw trying to get me off. Now I can come just from pressing my thighs together.
No shame to anyone that's built different. But... if a man's junk can become desensitized, so can a woman's. Why pretend otherwise?


Once before Dan had a letter from someone who wanted to gift a teenager with a vibrator. Dan thought it was a fine idea. He retracted it when he got tons of email disagreeing. This is different since it's the teenager's request for the fleshlight. Still, it would seem the entire commentariat is in agreement that the mother getting her son the fleshlight is a bad idea. Mother/son privacy concerns is one issue.

The next issue is whether a fleshlight is a good idea for a 16 year old anyway. (The internet is filled with people spouting opinions in areas where they know nothing, and I generally strive not to be one more, so take that as my admission of guilt in what follows. I'm not experienced in this area.) I think the fleshlight is a bad idea. I have no problem with a mother assuring her son that masturbating is fine. Also that it's something to be done in private. Also that if hand, lube and picture (or hand, lube, and imagination) aren't enough, there might be something wrong.

I liked this article:


@16. Friartuck. Well said. She should get items actually used in sex, on the assumption that her son will soon be engaged in sexual intercourse.

@46. Fichu. I think the fleshlight is a fine idea. It smacks of being sex-negative to me for his mother to get him a book (another book!) when he asked for a toy. If she's actually got him this book (an action repressive and sanctimonious in context--however good the book might be), she should get him condoms, lube, three fleshlights and apologise for prescriptively offering something other than what he asked for. He's sort of making an experimental joke anyway, or testing the boundaries; it's unlikely this will be his main gift, given in front of the rest of the family, including his younger sister.

For a (male) teen, sex is alluring because it's transgressive and mold-breaking. It’s hot, strange, dirty and forbidden. Part of what's forbidden is imagining women and girls, for a straight or bi male, brusquely or reductively: as a set of genitals or a pair of tits. It’s a fantasy. Boys, as well as men, know you can't get sex by treating women purely as sexual playthings or appendages. You can't treat a person like that (it's both counterproductive and, more importantly, unethical). But boys can come into a sense of sexual capability and autonomy by fully fantasising sex as raunch--coming a lot into a visually or rather imaginatively arousing fleshlight. Hand, lube and imagination--how restrictive! You don't think 15 year-olds should watch porn? And you don't think they do?


@8. gayBoi. She's started out well by explaining what French kissing is and going over the basics at an age when her son was pre-sexual i.e. on the cusp of adolescence. But now, after having established trust, the difficulty level has risen, and she's fallen prey to embarrassment. Sure, get the fleshlight, warn about death grip and over-use and also counsel against actually objectifying people.


@23. seatackled. Well said--rational and incisive.

@28. Fichu. I was inculcated into exclusive sexual passivity as a teen by having a father who fucked round intimidatingly (and damagingly to my mother) and a mother who suffered and sat round and moped and prayed and resisted. And it was impossible to talk about any of this. I think it's important for a parent, or parents, to be able to say to kids that sex is something good, and something shared. In this case, SPM is already comfortable discussing sex with her son, and her son is the one who's requested a toy. Maybe a good response would be, 'oh, are you embarrassed going into a sex shop?' (depending on where they live). And then of course getting the fleshlight.


@34. E. Carpenter. I agree. I've been surprised by the sex-negativity of some of the comments.

@36. Sportlandia. Men with a range of sexual problems and dysfunctions should be pleased at the currency that the idea that 70% of women can't come from PIV has won (whether or not, privately, individual men think the percentage lower). It accepts that sex isn't always easy, while suggesting that sexual problems (often, those of a couple) aren't insuperable (they can be solved with kindness and patience; or there's a work-around).


@36 I struggle to see how anything you wrote was a response to anything I wrote, except in the most tangential way. Can you tell me what specifically I said that relates to 70% of women not being able to have an orgasm from vaginal intercourse? Or even what about what I wrote, which was about the accusation of Dan having some kind of bias relating to death-grip masturbation by men, relates to vaginal intercourse, vaginas, or people who don't have penises? The letter was from a mother dealing with her son's masturbation-related gift request, as I recall.


@51 Sure. You're defending the pathologizing of men who don't cum from PiV alone - blaming it on Death Grip, even though a) a vast majority of men can come from piv and b) death grip is common. Meanwhile, we have depathologized women who don't come from piv and actively dismissing "female death grip" (a vibrator) as a cause, despite significantly higher rates of women who don't have orgasms from PiV. That's the bias you, Dan, and others are exhibiting (among others)


nightscrawl: you're welcome.


I'm with the mother in being a little perturbed by him openly requesting a fleshlight. In no particular order, here's why:
1) We expect there to be a certain amount of distance between a parent (or any adult) and child regarding the child's sexual development. Typically, reductions in that distance are when a child is being groomed.
2) The "would you do it for your daughter" should also involve a reversal of the parent's gender. Namely, imagine a father buying a vibrator for his teenage daughter - wouldn't that throw off some alarm bells? Even if you learned the daughter asked her father for it, that brings us back to issue #1
3) The social difference in how boys and girls learn about their own pleasure and enjoyment is different. As Dan has pointed out, conventional sex ed does not go over pleasure leaving many women to enter partnered sex never having had an orgasm / knowing what their body likes. This is on top of sex negativity that falls heavily on women, but especially girls, that is obsessed with their virginity / keeping their hymen intact. For many girls sex toys carry the significance of telling our puritanical culture to go fuck itself and to start enjoying sexual activities.
Nothing like that really exists for boys.

Now, this does sound like a situation where the mother has simply done a good job of removing the stigma around sex / being sex positive, not anything to be worried about. Still, we should acknowledge that the red flags are not unreasonable.


Yes unknown @54. What is with that? Took me a long time to find my own pleasure.
Have never used a vibrator, so no idea re desensitised clit. It’s so nice to touch, I’ve never wanted to use anything else. Lucky I found out early that by fucking cow girl I could reach orgasm easily because the clit had all that male fleshy tummy to rub against.
I thought most sixteen yr old Americans got cars?
Or how about a new xbox.
There is nothing here which indicates any issue re mother/ son. My take is that it is in the mother’s court to draw a line in the sand. He gets his own stuff sorted for his sexual pleasure.
It might not concern him now, later that toy might take on a strange vibe, if it’s the one his mother bought him.


I would think the son is saying different, perhaps contradictory things in asking for the toy from his mother: 'I'm still a child and need help with awkward or adult situations' and also something like 'as I get older, I will individuate more and become more independent; and one of the ways in which this will manifest is in my becoming sexually mature. You may find this more challenging or disquieting than my proto-sexuality as a child and tween taking explanations from you'.

Sure--if she wants to put distance between them, she can say, 'your sexuality has to be something for you' and get him an Amazon voucher. To me, he isn't ashamed of sex; and SPM has done well to have made sex something not to be ashamed of in an intergenerational context.


Obviously you’re answering to my comment Harriet. Yours I’ve just skimmed.

Every Mother/ Son relationship is unique. And each mother has to work out her own path, as a mother to a boy who will become a man. The boy also has his own path.
My boys kicked me out of the bathroom re being involved with their bathing habits, them being naked, from the age of six. None of them circumcised. I took my cues from them, and pretty much from then on.. their sexual development and me parted ways. I hope they shared stuff with their father. I didn’t enquire.
Like I said, the Catholics did me good. Though I escaped any abuse/ seduction by the clergy, I was around All the twisted sex vibes. Took me four yrs of psychotherapy with a wonderful therapist to even start to disentangle from the sludge, the lies, the truth of how our fifties/ sixties family lived.
So. My way is not the only way.

I still feel this is not appropriate for a mother to buy her son a sex toy for his sixteenth birthday. It’s a two way relationship, and for many, the primary one. The unconscious model for all the relationships ahead, the primary ones.


@Lava 55, I'm too old to have gotten an XBox and was too poor to have gotten a car.

I have no kids myself so I don't really have a dog in this fight. FWIW, I think if my husband told me that his mom bought him his first sex toy, I'd be fascinated but not grossed out.


Biggie @29: "One problem is that, like a vagina, you have to be sort of hard just to get inside it. So you end up wanking a little bit before you can use it." That may be true for a 54-year-old experienced masturbator but I doubt it would be an issue for a 16-year-old boy.

SMajor @32: Thank you, saved me the trouble of writing a needed smackdown.

Coco @44, you couldn't just accept the smackdown. I suggest you browse this column's archives where you will find many letters FROM MEN stating that they can't come in a woman's vagina because they have learned to come using "death grip" masturbation techniques, and Dan has to offer tips on how they can retrain themselves to masturbate without resulting in that being the only way they can come. Dan's experience is showing in his advice, not his bias. I see no reason to think Dan would have made up these letters to further some anti-masturbation agenda.

Fichu @46: Since the son specifically asked for a fleshlight, I don't see why it would be a bad idea to give one to him. I think a gift card would be a better idea, but I don't think saying "here you go, son, keep it clean" would be a bad response to the son's request. Note, I don't have kids.

Harriet @47: "Boys, as well as men, know you can't get sex by treating women purely as sexual playthings or appendages." Ha! A hell of a lot of straight men would find this news to them.
"Hand, lube and imagination--how restrictive! You don't think 15 year-olds should watch porn?" I think the point was that nothing more should be NEEDED. Enhancing, sure. But if one is ever, say, on a camping trip with no mobile reception and one finds oneself horny, the idea that one would have to wait until the end of the trip to jerk off is laughable.

Sportlandia @52: The majority of women who don't come from PIV don't come because PIV does not directly stimulate the clitoris. Using a vibrator versus not will not alter this fact in the slightest.


@59 obviously not the point.


I wasn't actually engaging with Lava's comment. I don't disagree with her idea that boys come to acquire their adult sexual identity by separating from, or no longer involving, their mother.

@59. Bi. Of course it would be unusual if a 15yo boy needed porn or toys to jerk off successfully. I would think the reason a teen would find wanking into a fleshlight more arousing than the simplicity of_a mano_is that it allows him to imagine he's having sex with someone (i.e. it's not a better physical experience). My read was that Fichu's impuse, or starting point, was that a mother probably shouldn't be au fait with what her son does in the bedroom.

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