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Repost: The Sex Toy Talk

This is an interesting and cool question from Slate's Dear Prudence. If every young woman got a vibrator at 16, would the world be a better place? I'm wondering why she advises her not to talk to her mother about getting a vibrator. Not that it's something I'd ever talk to my mother about...

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.