I'm 16, and I want a vibrator.

Advice on manners and morals.
Nov. 5 2009 7:01 AM

The Sex Toy Talk

Should a 16-year-old tell her mother she wants a vibrator?

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Dear Prudie,
I'm 16 years old and have an awkward dilemma. I'm thinking about buying a vibrator because I am very curious, but the thing is, I want to talk to my mom about it first. We have a very close and open relationship, and she says I can talk to her about anything. I'm just not sure about this. I'm scared that it will make her feel awkward (even though she's a nurse, so she likes talking about gross stuff). I already tried talking to one of my best friends about it, but she seemed pretty repulsed by the idea. I'm still a virgin and not planning to change that for quite some time, so it's not like I'm going to be romping around with teenage boys. The vibrator would be for my own private use, and having my mom to talk to first would be especially helpful to me. Should I tell her?

—Just Curious

Dear Curious,
If you want instructions on proper vibrator use, I can probably help you: Add batteries, aim, fire. If you want permission, I can help you, too: Masturbation is perfectly normal, and a teenager doesn't need to check in with her mother before engaging in it. It's wonderful that you and your mother are so close that you feel you can talk to her about this—but just because you can doesn't mean you should. Part of your job as a teenager is to start separating from your mother, and masturbation may be a good place for you to establish a zone of privacy. I'm sure your mother—since she's a nurse and all—would understand your desire for orgasms and appreciate the fact that you are seeking them solo. And if she hears a suspicious buzzing from your room, she probably won't conclude that you've taken up woodworking. Once you do become sexually active with more than an inanimate object, it's great that you'll feel able to turn to your mother for guidance because young women can use help making sure they're protected from disease, pregnancy, and bad choices. But your adventures in vibrator-land may be something you need to confide only to your diary.

—Prudie

Dear Prudence,
I'm 26 and engaged to a wonderful 33-year-old man. He's absolutely the person I want to spend the rest of my life and have a family with. We both want kids fairly soon, but there's one problem. For the past few years, my fiance has had some problems with a testicular infection, and the doctors say there's a chance that it has left him sterile. Having children is extremely important to me, but if it turned out that he couldn't have them, I'd work around it, i.e., adoption or sperm donation. However, not knowing is killing me. He says he doesn't want to get fertility testing until we're ready to start trying to get pregnant. Is it unreasonable to want to find out whether my future husband will be able to have children?

—In the Know

Dear In the Know,
When any two people marry, there's no guarantee that they won't face fertility problems. Your anxiety is understandable: When you conceive of your future together, you want to know your chances of conceiving. But to him, your insistence probably sounds less like a desire to know what's going to happen than a way of possibly getting out of the relationship before you marry someone who will not be able to father children. Let's say you had had a pelvic infection that might have harmed your fertility. Wouldn't you resent a fiance who wanted you to undergo a battery of tests prior to your marriage, just so he had a better idea of your ability to get pregnant? The doctors have only raised a possibility, not given you a definitive finding. If this is the man you want to commit to, accept that being together will make it easier to deal with all the surprises life has in store.