Q: I know a man whose college-aged son is gay and curious mostly about masturbation it seems. When the child was much younger he had many questions about masturbation and wanted his dad to show him how to do it. Finally the dad consented (once) when the boy was a teenager. The son came out when he was a freshman in college and his family has supported him. His father has supplied him with condoms, lube, a g-string, open access to his apartment to watch porn, etc. The son continues to be curious about masturbation and has asked several times if his dad will do this with him again. The father is uncomfortable with this and doesn’t know how to approach the subject. Do you have suggestions or resources for both father and son, as I feel they are both unsure of how to navigate the son’s sexual curiosities?

 

A: While some of the information that you give raises red flags that your question could be fabricated, the scenario of a child being sexually interested in his or her parent isn’t totally unheard of. Often, children find themselves confusingly sexually attracted to their parents during passing stages of adolescence, which is normal. For some, those feelings are reciprocated. While sibling incest is the most common form of incest, parent-child incest is also prevalent. Sexual relationships between fathers and daughters is the most reported form of adult-child incest. Father-son incest is less common but no doubt happens, although I’d venture to guess that it’s almost always dad who’s the pursuer and not the kid.

Here’s something off-topic but related: When grown children reconnect with estranged parents in adulthood, they can experience something called Genetic Sexual Attraction. Roughly 50 percent of cases where estranged family members are reunited will result in these romantic feelings. This week, some lawmakers in New Jersey are trying to swiftly pass a bill that would re-criminalize adult incest. This is the result of a recent article in New York Magazine in which an anonymous woman described in detail her intimate relationship with her father after reuniting with him after 12 years. She also mentions the couple’s plan to move to New Jersey where adult incest is legal, hence the legislators scrambling to put a new law in place. While it’s illegal to marry your dad in all 50 states, there are a few that look the other way when it comes to sex between adult family members.

A shared masturbation session between a father and his underage son is against the law across the board. It could land dad on the sex offenders list and even compromise his rights to see his kid on a regular basis. I’m assuming your friend dodged that bullet, since you probably would have shared the information of his incarceration as well, probably somewhere between your “I have a friend” opening approach and the part about providing G-string underwear and unlimited access to gay porn (come on).

Nearly all boys start masturbating with intent to orgasm by age 12. By the time they’re teenagers, they’ve got it down pat. Throughout those years, parents should provide ongoing sexual education appropriate to each stage of maturity. It would be unusual for a dad to withhold the sex talk (or condoms) until his son was already in college, and that’s the final red flag for me. Though the scenario is believable, I don’t think your particular inquiry is genuine. In the event I’m way off and the information you provided about someone else’s family affairs is actually true, then I have four words for you: Mind your own business.