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Yup, that's the subject of an article on the Huffington Post this week: whether it is appropriate to buy your 12-year-old daughter a vibrator. The piece, by author Romi Lassally, is well-done, neither bashing the idea outright, nor endorsing it as the proper course for everyone. Isn't that what we learn as parents? That no two kids are the same? That they develop at different speeds and what might be appropriate for one might not go down for all?Being a sex educator and author, who happens to sell vibrators, who happens to have a� daughter who just turned 13, I decided I'd broach the vibrator question with her last night.� Some background first: I've tried to walk the talk in the sex ed department: correct names for genitals, instilling good body image, explaining sex, gender diversity, safe sex, giving her good books, etc.� She, however is intensely shy and private, so the conversation tends to be initiated by me, and is often mostly me talking. Oh, and yes, my daughter knows what I do and is profoundly embarrassed by it.So last night we talked about masturbation and sexual pleasure; and it was really clear that these two words were not in her lexicon or consciousness in any way. Yes, we've discussed masturbation before, but it didn't stick. This is something I've seen over and over again with my kids--they often don't absorb or retain the information we give them until they are ready for it. (I've got a 7-year-old who asks more about sexual intercourse than my older daughter, but as often as not, the answers go in one ear and out the other.)Back to the chat: After reviewing with my older daughter why a girl might want to masturbate or use a vibrator (to learn about what feels good, get familiar with her body, etc), I asked her if she wanted one and she said "no" with a slight scoff. We talked about whether there were any girls in her class who were sexually active (followed by some conjecture), and then I explained about how important it was to really know about your body, your feelings, and what to expect sexually, so that you could make smart decisions about your body as you grow up. For some girls and women (I was one), learning to orgasm is hard, and requires� much manual effort, but the payoff is tremendous. It was a big key to my sexual esteem and sexual agency, and the subsequent discovery of vibrators was the icing on the cake. And while from all outward appearances it seemed like my daughter was not there yet in her own solo sex explorations (I have to wonder if she'd even tell me if she was), I don't know when it will click in, so I want her to have access to whatever might help. Last night I didn't push the subject any further, but I did tell her I was going to leave another book and a� Laya Spot vibrator in her room to do with whatever she pleases, including shove them into the back of her closet.I recognize that my approach is not for everyone. At my house, there is no stigma attached to vibrators. I don't care if my daughter chooses not to use her hand when she masturbates (a vibrator at the age of 16 would've saved me countless hand cramps).� My beloved Hitachi lays by the side of my own bed, and is as much a fixture as the novel that sits next to it. I'm� grateful that this subject came up because it gave us a chance to focus on the fun part of sex education. Middle school is� a fascinating time: the kids are� going through puberty at different speeds, crushes among the kids run rampant, and the sex ed classes seemly oddly disconnected from all these exciting feelings with their focus on STDs and condom application. I have experienced intense judgement from some� parents for my approach, but it's not their reactions I care about. It's what comes from my own kids, and all their comments have simply led to "teachable moments" about sexuality. I am interested in providing two things for my kids when it comes to sex ed:� good information and positive self-esteem. I sincerely hope and believe that these two things will enable them to make good decisions whenever they do become sexually active. I think there are a lot of parents and well-intentioned adults who agree with this approach and you might be interested in joining the "cool aunt" campaign in progress right now.Finally, I have to say that the mere existence of this debate in such an open forum is encouraging! Talking to kids about sex, at whatever age, is great, in my book (share your own experiences on this great site). This discourse sure beats the hell out of discussing the appropriateness of marketing thong underwear to tweens (don't get me started)!sconnected from all these exciting feelings with their focus on STDs and condom application. I have experienced intense judgement from some� parents for my approach, but it's not their reactions I care about. It's what comes from my own kids, and all their comments have simply led to "teachable moments" about sexuality. I am interested in providing two things for my kids when it comes to sex ed:� good information and positive self-esteem. I sincerely hope and believe that these two things will enable them to make good decisions whenever they do become sexually active. I think there are a lot of parents and well-intentioned adults who agree with this approach and you might be interested in joining the "cool aunt" campaign in progress right now.Finally, I have to say that the mere existence of this debate in such an open forum is encouraging! Talking to kids about sex, at whatever age, is great, in my book (share your own experiences on this great site). This discourse sure beats the hell out of discussing the appropriateness of marketing thong underwear to tweens (don't get me started)!