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Issues about masturbatory privacy: Getting "caught"

Nearly everyone agrees that masturbating should only be done in private, and do so. Nearly everyone would be mortified to be accidentally discovered masturbating, or to accidentally discover someone masturbating. This is an issue everyone worries about. People often delay or postpone masturbation when they feel they lack privacy, and people often stop masturbating while painfully close to orgasm when they hear a sound that threatens their privacy.

Concerns that someone will discover them masturbating are justified; more than half of those surveyed have said someone has accidentally discovered them masturbating at least once. Even people who have little guilt about masturbating in general feel ashamed to be discovered in the act; most refer to it as being "caught," as though they were doing something immoral or illegal.

Yet, there seems to be no consequence of being discovered. Few of the people who walk in on a masturbation session say anything about it, generally being too embarrassed themselves to say anything. Most of the people who discover someone masturbating are older and experienced with the practice themselves.

Being discovered by a spouse is different from being discovered by someone else, because the spouse is usually more concerned about the impact of a partner's masturbation on the couple's sexual life than about the act itself. This article, therefore, is concerned with being discovered by persons other than spouse or exclusive sexual partner.

Males are more likely than females to be discovered, if only due to the increased frequency at which males masturbate.

Another page on this site deals with privacy for masturbating in dorms and other shared living situations.

Here are some actual questions from readers of this site and the author's replies.

A few years back, I was home with only my younger sister; the rest of my family was out. She was going through a phase where she'd very rarely leave her room, so I felt safe in masturbating in the living room. I had my laptop set up and my headphones on and I was going at it when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my sister coming down the stairs in direct view of me. I covered up quickly, but she looked me in the eyes with some contempt. When I saw her go back in her room and close the door, I resumed my masturbation session until I finished. She never brought it up and neither did I, and my parents didn't find out, so it ended well. (age 20)

I don't think it ended well. Your sister saw you masturbating, which could have been prevented solely by your not masturbating in a public area of the house.

I work at a bank. Several years ago, I went to use the ladies' room. Needing some relief, I began to pleasure myself. Just as I was reaching orgasm, the door opened; apparently I hadn't locked it. A co-worker stood and stared for the longest time as I came. Then she just carefully closed the door.

Was it a Full-Service Bank?

We were at the beach last summer with my wife's extended family. I was showering with the door locked (I thought) and while in the shower I started masturbating. I couldn't have sex with my wife since our kids were sleeping in the same room. The shower had a clear glass half wall and a tile bench that was opposite the shower head. I was sitting on the bench leaning back with my eyes closed and about 90% to orgasm when I heard something over the noise of the fan and shower. I opened my eyes to find my 14-year-old nephew staring at me. I quickly got up and turned my back and asked him to leave and close the door. He said he needed to use the toilet which was separate from the shower. I said go ahead and waited for him to leave and close the door. While he was using the toilet he was laughing so I just said, "sorry about that, I thought the door was locked." He left the room and I stepped out to check the lock and the plunger on the door that catches in the door frame did not engage because the door was warped. I pushed hard on the door to get it closed. Certain that I was now safe, I went back to finish masturbating. Afterward we were out on the deck and I told my brother-in-law what had happened, just in case the topic came up with my nephew. He chuckled and said thanks for the heads up on the door. I decided to talk to my nephew to keep him from running his mouth. I said, "I know what you saw and I am sure you do it too, so just like doing it in private, let's keep this matter private." To which he snickered and said, "no problem."

Despite being in private and being in what I thought was a secure place, I still got caught. It is still embarrassing even at my age because it is a private matter. If you get caught it is not the end of the world. Parents can help a lot by discussing masturbation in a healthy and matter of fact way before kids start so that there is not a shroud of secrecy. As parents, our silence on the subject leaves kids to wonder why we did not see fit to pass on our thoughts and morals when we teach them everything else. (age 45)

I liked your story except for the part where you told your nephew you're sure he does it too. You don't know that and saying that could provoke him to tell when he wasn't planning to before.

I got caught masturbating by my babysitter. It was embarrassing. Actually, it's pretty embarrassing to be old enough to masturbate and even have a babysitter. So let me explain. The babysitter was not really for me. But my parents had a baby when I was 12. They did not think I was old enough to care for my sister even though they had no problem leaving me home when it was just me. So they would hire a babysitter when they went out, and it was understood that she was there to take care of my sister and that her sitting of me was more supervisory than hands-on.

So I was pretty much in the habit of doing as I pleased when the sitter was there, and I didn't go around asking her permission for things, telling her when I was going to bed, etc., and my friends came and went as usual. And this sitter had been here before, so she knew what the expectation was. One night when I was 13, after I had learned to masturbate, I went to bed and was doing my usual thing in bed. The sitter came in without knocking because she was trying to find something in the kitchen and didn't know where it was. She burst in and saw me stroking my penis (which was made easier because I had the bedroom light on). She was very flustered and just stammered and walked out. I finished what I was doing and then went out to talk to her. She was really super embarrassed and admitted that she had never seen an erection before. I was surprised by that because she was a senior and I just assumed that girls that age have seen it all. We made a deal that she wouldn't tell on me and I wouldn't tell on her and all would be cool. It has been so far. (age 14)

I like how you finished what you were doing before you went out to talk to her. I think you should make a point of letting the babysitter know when you're going to bed so she won't bother you after that. Not all people are sexually active by the time they're high school seniors (or even seniors in college); in fact, I would argue that the girls who babysit are less likely to be sexually active.

I haven't been caught yet, but sometimes I throw the harpoon back in my pants because I hear a noise. (age 21)

You are an adult and get to do what you want with the harpoon. If someone barges in, it's their problem, not yours.

Over Christmas Break, I wasn't really caught masturbating, much as in the process of cleaning up. It was 3:00 a.m. and usually no one is awake, so I decided to masturbate. I had just ejaculated, rested for a second and then went to the bathroom (which is right across the hall from my bedroom) to clean up. While masturbating I had kicked off my underwear, so while walking to the bathroom, I was naked from the waist down. Halfway to the bathroom, I noticed my mother in the hallway. I quickly darted into the bathroom. I tried to play it off like I was going to the bathroom, but I don't think I was very convincing. I'm very embarrassed as this is the first time I've ever been caught. I know I should have put on my underwear again, but it was 3:00 a.m. and I had semen on my hands. Should I have said anything to my mother? (age 19)

No, but I agree that you should have covered up before going to the bathroom. It would be a good idea to keep a rag (like an old shirt) in your bedroom for basic cleanup.

I think I may have been caught, but I'm not so sure. I was in my room and I reached the "point of no return" and my sister barged in. I wasn't using visual aids; I was having a fantasy just by daydreaming. I quickly covered up with my pants and ejaculated in them. Sometimes I don't think my sister realized what happened but other times I think she did. I was so embarrassed. (age 16)

She obviously saw something. You were caught.

I was home alone and I decided to masturbate in the living room. While I was masturbating, my sister opened the door and caught me. I've always had a good relationship with her so I knew she wouldn't tell my parents, but I was surprised that she got me a nude mag a few days later. (age 17)

Every male would agree he would be a lot more than surprised if his sister did that. Get her something from her online wish list.

I just got caught masturbating by my sister, and I am so embarrassed. I was already completely embarrassed that she saw me stroking my penis. But an hour or so afterward, I saw her in the house and she said, "I always figured you did that." (age 15)

Just laugh it off. As a reader, you know more about female sexuality than she knows about male sexuality.

I'm Jason. One night I felt really psyched up, and I needed to calm myself down, so I went into my bedroom to masturbate. I thought I was at home alone. But about 10 minutes later, my uncle walked into the room suddenly. He saw my penis. He just said "oh" and walked out again. Later I told him that I had an itch and was just looking to see what was causing it, and he said he understood. Do you think he knows what I was doing? (age 17)

Hi Jason. This is what I am able to state: Your uncle ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY, POSITIVELY knew that you were masturbating.

I just got caught about 30 minutes ago masturbating in the bathroom. (I forgot to lock the door.) I got caught by my little sister's boyfriend, who's 18. All I could do was stare at him like a deer in the headlights, and now I'm mortified. I don't want him telling my sister about this, and I don't know what to think of it. He apologized repeatedly, and he left within 5 seconds of catching me. The weird part is this happened while I was at work. I work for my parents in their house (where I learned to masturbate) doing office work, and I feel comfortable there. I don't get much privacy at my own house because of my roommates, so lately I've been doing it here. What do I do? (age 23)

I don't think you need to do anything. What difference does it make if he tells your sister? If she doesn't know that you masturbate, then she is dangerously ill-informed about male sexuality. She probably masturbates herself. Just be normal around the boyfriend and don't forever act like he has something on you. He doesn't.

I have been masturbating for 5 years and lately my frequency has gone up. I need to do it once a day at least and if I have the time and place, I do it twice a day sometimes. Last week I was at a friend's house where we secretly watched some very explicit pics on his laptop. Both us got boners and while my friend went to masturbate in the bathroom, I decided to do it in his bedroom. The door was bolted but the window was half open and he didn't tell me that his 11 year old sister was home. When I was close to finishing, I heard a gasp and then a giggle which made me jump as I saw she was watching. In my haste to cover up, I zipped up without ejaculating. Why did she reveal herself only when I was about to ejaculate? Since I didn't ejaculate despite being very close, will it cause any harm to my genitals, as I was painfully hard all the way home? (age 16)

You thought you had privacy, but you didn't. Windows aren't only for seeing out; people can see in too. Maybe his sister only saw you right at the point she gasped. By not ejaculating, you gave yourself blue balls. All males have to endure it occasionally. It will not cause you any harm.

I got into a habit of saving erotic images into a folder on the computer. As I only live with my mom and sister, to be courteous to them, I decided to move the folder onto a USB stick. I would store the USB in the top drawer of my desk and would use it when masturbating. One day recently I was in the mood and needed to access my stick. I went to get the USB from the drawer, but it was missing. I decided to go look in my sister's room for it, and it was on her dressing table. I quickly took it and went to check the folder. I saw she had put some files of her own on it. I hoped she hadn't looked, so I opened the folder, and everything was still there. At the bottom of the folder was a Notepad document titled "It's OK." It was a paragraph of text saying the usual things like, It's good to see you're finally growing up, it's normal, I'm glad you're looking at these images, don't worry I won't tell Mom, etc. etc. I was somewhat relieved but was no longer in the mood to masturbate. So I returned the USB to her dresser. (age 16)

That is more embarrassing for her, since she left evidence of violating your privacy. I think you should tell her you didn't appreciate the note she left on your USB stick.

A few weeks ago, my mom suggested that she thought I was masturbating. It wasn't like she was mad or anything, but I denied it. I'm not sure I was so convincing. Do you think she knows? (female, age 13)

You can know something only if it's impossible for you to be mistaken about it. If your mom doesn't know you masturbate, she strongly suspects. If she suspected correctly, then you don't need to worry about anything. If she suspected incorrectly, then you should feel unjustly accused.

Recently, I was up quite late, and my mom had gone to bed hours before, so I felt free to masturbate in peace. I was getting really close to orgasm when my bedroom door swung open and my sister poked her head in. I sat up straight and tried to cover myself, and she asked me to turn my sound down.

I'm not sure if she noticed what I was doing, since it was dark, but I can't help but feel she noticed what I was doing. I now always feel really paranoid when I masturbate and I haven't been able to enjoy masturbating ever since. How can I reduce my paranoia? I find your site amazing.

You were in the dark. She didn't see. Even if she did, who cares? She probably masturbates too. Don't let paranoia about something you don't even know happened interfere with your enjoyment of something you would otherwise find greatly pleasureable.

I was masturbating in bed last night and the door was open and I was listening for people coming and then my mom walked past but I stopped before she saw me but I didn't have the covers over me and I was naked. Do you think my mom saw me? She exclaimed and asked why I was still awake. I said my pj's were on backward and I was swapping sides. Is it believable? Please help! I don't want anyone to know! (age 13)

If she doesn't know, at least she can guess correctly. The story about reversing your pj's is not credible.

I've been caught masturbating three times in my life so far, and this one was the most embarrassing. I was 16 and working my first summer job at a restaurant. One of my classmates also worked there. We had a particularly busy Saturday night and it was a really hot evening. Our shift ended at 10 PM, and the other boy said he was going to head down to the beach for a swim. We didn't have our suits with us, but late night skinny dipping was normal. His girlfriend was picking him up from work and I ended up following them to the beach in my car. After swimming, we got out and got dressed and he said he and his girlfriend were going to take a walk down the beach. I figured they wanted to make out so I just said I was heading home. I went to my car and the thought of them making out on the beach got me horny so I decided to masturbate in my car before going home. I put the seat back, pulled down my pants, laid back and started to go at it. I had been masturbating no more than five minutes when I heard a shout and laughter. My classmate and his girlfriend were there; they had decided not to go for a walk. He teased me about it for probably a week or so, then all was forgotten. (age 47)

On the basis of some subtle details I've edited out, I think your story is a fake one. Never masturbate in public.

I was caught by my mom in one of those moments that I just couldn't stop masturbating because I was so close to orgasm. I was at my bed just with my panties on and was masturbating through them, when my mom opened the door and screamed at me. I was far too close for stopping so I just had to hear her screaming while I kept on masturbating for a few more seconds until I reached orgasm. She just left my room. She never mentioned it again. (age 17)

I find myself questioning whether your story is true. The point of no return (for males) is where a male has already brought himself to the moment when ejaculation will happen within a second. He can stop before that moment and not ejaculate. The closest parallel in a female would be where she has brought herself to the edge of orgasm and cannot stop herself from having an orgasm. If you needed a few more seconds to get to that point, you obviously could have stopped.

After seeing all these stories, I feel really lucky that I haven't been caught since I started jacking off when I was 9, and I do it an average of 17 times a week. I grew up with three sisters and a brother. I am lucky. (age 19)

Well, don't give yourself credit for winning the Powerball. You are young. The average male doesn't get caught until he's almost 30. At the rate you're going, there's a suddenly opened door and startled looks in your future.

I have been masturbating since I was 12. A couple days ago, my 17 year old brother walked in on and me now he jokes around with me in a manner that I think is really uncomfortable. What can I say to him that doesn't sound too mean but prevents him from acting this way around me? (age 14)

You could say, "You're making me really uncomfortable."

I have never been caught masturbating but my mom makes me keep my door unlocked and open at all hours. Should I tell her that I masturbate or need privacy or something so I can be alone? I hardly have any time home alone. (age 14)

I don't think you need to mention masturbating, but you would be within your rights to ask for privacy. You might also tell her that in case of fire, it's safer if people have their bedroom doors closed when they're sleeping.

When I masturbate, some preparation usually goes into it, like getting tissues or something at the ready for clean-up, but one night I was in a particularly horny mood. I had been browsing hot chicks. My mom was downstairs, with the TV up loud. So I thought took off my pants, obtained some arousing images and lay back to jerk it. Sometimes I like to just lie on my back on my bed, headphones on, eyes closed. I must've been masturbating for a decent 5-7 minutes, and opened my eyes, to get ready to catch my ejaculate. When I opened my eyes, Mom was standing in the doorway. I got such a fright and scrambled to cover myself, but still ejaculated. She apologized and closed my door. I still just jerk it even if she's around, being caught isn't something to be afraid of. Thank you for your great site! (age 16)

I've been doing this for a long time and I have a feeling that story is fake.

Long ago I when I was masturbating in the school shower, my friend caught me and he joined me and we jerked off together. We still masturbate together whenever he comes over to my place. I have noticed that my orgasms are more intense and more fun than when I masturbate solo. We both are pretty sure that we are straight and we masturbate together occasionally just for some fun. After reading your site, you seem to be quite against mutual masturbation. You say it's personal activity but once in a while doing it with your bud is fun. I don't think that masturbating with him has caused any noticeable change in my body. Am I missing something? Can you tell me with reason why are you against joint masturbation when it's so much FUN? (age 17)

I don't think I've said I'm against it; when young people ask me about it, I point out that it's being sexual, and most people are not sexual with their friends. If there is an age difference or some other kind of imbalance between the two, it is possible that one is trying to exploit the other. I would think by age 17 you would be better able to handle this than two 11 or 12 year olds would be, for example.

Today I fell asleep after masturbating, and my dad caught me with my hands in my pants. He didn't say anything, so I stood up and walked away, but I was so embarrassed that I cried in my room and I still can't muster up the courage to face my dad. Should I talk to him about this or should I pretend like nothing happened? (female, age 14)

Pretend nothing happened. Because not much did.

My neighbor lady was mowing their lawn yesterday in a bathing suit. This was nothing unusual to see. After a half hour she caught my eye once again. As she drove her riding lawn mower in just her bikini she was having too good of a time. She was definitely having an orgasm. She made great orgasm faces and clenched her shaking legs together. I just had to masturbate to it. I opened my blinds and rubbed my penis as I watched her. It was the greatest orgasm I've ever had. I think she briefly saw me. I now always try to be home when she is mowing their lawn. She sunbathes in her backyard regularly and just the sight of her in a bikini makes me orgasm harder than my girlfriend can make me. (age 21)

Yes, vibration will really do it for a woman, but it doesn't seem to do much for men. Be very careful masturbating where someone can see you, even at your own window. Maybe especially at your own window.

Earlier today I was going at it using pictures on my phone when I heard a knock on the door. I locked my phone and put it on my bed and told my female cousin to come in. We talked for a while and then I unlocked my phone. That picture I was jerking to was still on the screen. I don't know if she saw it. I quickly changed apps and she didn't say anything. Do you think she saw it? She was looking at my phone before I unlocked it. (age 14)

If she was looking at the phone after you unlocked it, then she saw it. Even if she saw the picture, she didn't necessarily connect it to you masturbating. But if she did, then she connected correctly.

Yesterday my boyfriend came over to visit and my mom sent him to my room. He came in without knocking and saw me sprawled out on my bed masturbating. I really just wanted to die! He went out to the living room and sat there and after a few minutes I came out and greeted him, but I just feel like things are not the same. I don't know if I'll ever be able to look him in the eye again. What should I do? (age 16)

I don't know that you need to do anything. He was the one who came in without knocking. He is probably more embarrassed than you are, or at least he should be. My first recommendation to you is that you just go on as usual and don't say anything about what happened yesterday. If you really feel you have to say something, start by saying, "I'd like to talk about what happened yesterday." Then let him talk. He probably masturbates more than you do and has perhaps been discovered himself. Either way, this shouldn't be an important issue in your relationship.

Iíve been masturbating since I was 11 but I share a bedroom with my younger sister. I don't like to masturbate in the bathroom. I'm not comfortable there. I get the most privacy at school in the library where I can masturbate under the desk. Often I wake up before my sister and do it. It makes me happy and relaxed for the school day.

Do you think I can get in trouble if Iím caught? I was caught by another student once but I just said she was making it up so nothing happened.

Is it normal for me to be this horny? Some days I feel like I just have to masturbate right then and I canít even think about schoolwork.

I read on here itís not good to look at porn until Iím older. I was just wondering why other than getting caught. (age 13)

I think what you're doing in the morning before your sister wakes up is the best solution for you. Not only do you have more privacy then (or at least you think you do), but it also keeps you satisfied throughout your school day when you'd otherwise be tempted to masturbate at school.

You can indeed get in a lot of trouble if you're caught masturbating at school, particularly out in the open in the library. You can bet that whoever took that report last time kept a record of it, and the allegation will be more likely to be believed if a second student (or worse yet, the librarian) report you. Never masturbate in a place where you don't have privacy.

Lots of people your age feel sexually aroused often. But that doesn't mean they have to masturbate every time they are. Wait until you get home. I advise against using porn at your age because you should be building your sexual imagination instead of importing other people's fantasies.

I am in the ninth grade now. I have had a tremendous urge to wank since I was a kid. I started masturbating when I was 8 and was able to orgasm without ejaculating. When I had just discovered the pleasure, I used to do it in class. One day one of my female classmates caught me red-handed when I was about to finish. That was six years ago. She told some of her female classmates, all of whom teased me to the hilt for the next few weeks. Now I masturbate only in absolute privacy but these classmates still keep jeering and teasing me about it. How can I make them stop? (age 15)

You illustrate profoundly one of the consequences of being caught masturbating in public, even though you might not have known better six years ago. At your age, most of the girls and nearly all of the boys have started masturbating themselves, so they should feel more empathy for you now. Instead of acting very bothered by being teased, simply say, "I don't do that at school anymore." That will do more to shut them up than by you getting flustered.

When I masturbate, I usually wait until everyone is asleep and pull my pants down underneath my blankets and rub my hand against my clitoris under the blankets. If someone comes in, I can then get my pants up really fast. I love your site. It's very helpful. (age 14)

OK, but it would be better if you could masturbate whenever you feel like it and not have to wait until everyone is asleep. You would also enjoy it more if you had more range of motion instead of being forced to do it underneath the blankets. A lock on your door or a better expectation of privacy would translate to more enjoyment for you.

I was on vacation and I walked in on my brother jerking off and watching porn. I walked out and went back to my room. I ended up closing and locking the door. I got really wet and started masturbating myself. I went to the kitchen for a second and noticed he had his door closed; I got kind of sad because I wanted to see it again. I know that's wrong. But later I told him don't worry about it, all guys do it. Now I find myself masturbating more than I used to. (female, age 14)

I think you handled it well.

I got caught masturbating at my friend's house while he was at the store buying donuts. His sister who is 18 caught me and at first she just stared, then she started laughing at me. The next week while my friend was asleep, I went to use the bathroom and she came out completely naked and I got an immediate erection and almost ejaculated. She just looked down and smiled. After that we made out. Then I finally used the bathroom. Then while I was walking back to my friend's, room I said goodnight to her and she was masturbating. I didn't say anything. Then the next morning my friend asked me why it took so long to use the bathroom. I just said because someone was in it. Should I tell him that I have feelings for his sister and that she has feelings for me too?

You might be reading too much into the situation. She might be only sexually curious about you and not have feelings. It would be better if you discussed the situation instead of just randomly exposing your privates to each other while you are supposedly there to visit her brother. After you have discussed it with her, you can tell your friend as much or little as you want. He doesn't get to decide anything.

Many nights I stay at an accommodation for my work in another town. Some days back, I was in my room watching an erotic clip on my laptop. As it was late in the evening, I decided to masturbate. I was at it for a few minutes and was nearing orgasm when I noticed a pair of eyes reflecting in the mirror. I continued until I ejaculated. When I was walking up to the washroom to clean myself, I saw my landlord's 21-year-old daughter slipping away hurriedly from my window. The next day we met as usual but she gave me a knowing smile while chatting. I now feel that whenever our eyes meet, she gives me a mystic smile. I am wondering what do. How do I put an end to this? Should I say sorry to her or just let it be? (age 32)

Unless you're interested in her sexually, it would be a good idea to find another place to stay. If you have to stay at that place during your work week, then try to have as little contact with her as you can, and definitely don't let your eyes meet daily. She was the one who was peeping on you, and you have nothing to be sorry about.

I have been babysitting a 6 year old for the past few months. One late night, when he was fast asleep and I was feeling horny, I went to the other room and started to stimulate myself. I was fully clothed. I only unbuttoned my jeans and inserted my right hand inside my panties. I closed my eyes to enjoy the sensations and was extremely close to orgasm when I noticed, to my horror, the boy had gotten up. He was rubbing his sleepy eyes and was looking at me from the doorway. I could not stop until I orgasmed and hastily made myself presentable, as he wanted me to sit with him in his room. He did not ask me anything but I am extremely embarrassed as I was all flustered, sweaty and was chewing my lips during my fingering session. Do you think he realized what I was up to? (age 22)

No, I don't think he did. But to be perfectly safe, if you have an uncontrollable urge to masturbate again while you're babysitting, why don't you take it to the locked bathroom. His parents will understand that you occasionally need to use the bathroom for a few minutes at a time, especially when he's asleep, but they won't be cool with you masturbating in their living room.

I personally couldn't be caught masturbating and if I caught someone else doing so, boy or girl, I'd be cool about it, give them their privacy and unnoticably do what I can to make them less embarrassed.

If that person were to ask my advice, I would tell them not to worry partially because I also masturbate. But I don't want them thinking I do if I don't and I don't want to think anyone else does if they don't. I find it misleading to say for a fact that all parents are understanding about masturbation or that they've all done it when some people are the exact opposite. (age 20)

I think people who believe they'll never be caught masturbating are most likely to be. Now you're making me hope you'll get your comeuppance! Masturbating is normal, healthy, and fun, and even necessary for male sexual health. It is no worse to assume that someone who doesn't masturbate does than to assume that someone who masturbates doesn't. Playing the percentages, nearly all males past puberty masturbate regularly or used to do so, and so have a majority of adult females.

I masturbate every day at least once and I have a sister who is two years younger. Yesterday I did it right when I came home from school. Usually I do it at bedtime but yesterday I needed it right after school. I was doing it face down (yes, I know it's bad) and my sister came in to see if I was home. I stopped right away and she didn't see any private parts but she might have seen my butt moving. Do you think she knows? (age 16)

If she's 14, she probably knows that all boys and most girls your age masturbate often. Whether she connected the movement of your butt to your masturbating at that moment, I don't know. If she didn't see anything obvious like naked pictures or your penis, then you might have gotten away with it. And so you know, I urge you to give up prone masturbation ASAP.

I was masturbating the other day in the stairway to the terrace. Usually that's a very private space and I can hear someone climbing so I stop if I hear anyone climbing. This time I was much too engrossed in my masturbation when my 20 year old cousin came up. I was startled and so was she to see me in that position with my erection sticking out. I tried to make an excuse of severe genital itching and she told me to apply some medication. As I was climbing down, she went up and I saw her burst out laughing like anything. Did she realize what I was doing? She has been normal with me since that incident. (age 14)

She absolutely knew what you were doing. The stairway to your terrace is not a private space at all. I hope you've learned your lesson and will now masturbate only in truly private spaces like your bedroom or bathroom.

My bathroom window overlooks a residential apartment building. I was on it when I looked and saw my friend's younger sister looking through my window flashing torchlight. I felt so embarrassed. I was suicidal, and I don't know how to face her. (age 18)

There seem to be a lot of details missing from your message. I don't know what "flashing torchlight" means. Was she using a flashlight? To do what? Was she flashing you (i.e., exposing her privates)? You say you were "on it." On what? Were you masturbating? Since she was the one looking through your window, maybe she should be the one who is embarrassed. Don't be suicidal and just lift your head high and greet her when next you see her.

This morning I felt really horny, and my mom was out of the house, so I sat down at our shared computer and retrieved some porn, and I masturbated. I have done this many times and am very careful not to get caught, I always stop and look if I hear a noise. I put cream on my penis for lubrication. I was about to ejaculate listening to the moans of porn, and then I heard the door open. I quickly exited the porn and threw pants on and hid the cream. When I masturbate, I get really red on my chest and face (is this normal?) and I forgot to put on a shirt. My mom came in and asked me what happened and she was getting mad at me and asking me what I did. I just flat out told her I was masturbating and she said, "oh, why didn't you just say so then." and then she acted like it was no big deal. I am an only child and my mom is a single parent, and it just feels so weird looking at her and talking to her now. (age 16)

The redness is called sex flush. It is harmless, but people can figure out what you've been doing if they see it on you. It shouldn't be weird talking to your mom now, since she was so cool about it. It also shouldn't be a problem for you to get your own computer or other device to use in your own bedroom.

Earlier today, my mom was at work so I decided to have a special extended masturbation session. I closed all the windows and blinds, locked the doors, and prepared a towel for my shower for when I was finished. I found some exciting material on the Internet and masturbated twice. Shortly after my second orgasm, I decided to finish the video and head to the shower. Then I heard my mom unlocking the door. I jumped up, closed out the window as quickly as I could, and ran into the shower. Luckily, my mom left shortly after I had gotten into the shower. She came home later that day and said nothing until she was off to bed. She said that she understood what I was doing, but if she caught me looking at porn (not masturbating) again she would do something about it. I'm glad the situation is resolved, but I don't know what to do in the future. Any suggestions for keeping it private? (age 15)

Your mom's issue is not with you masturbating but with your watching porn. I advise males your age to use their imaginations to masturbate anyway. If you can respect her wishes not to use porn in her house, I don't think you will have trouble keeping it private.

I went to my girlfriend's house to go swimming for the day. She told me she invited a few our friends. I arrived when I was supposed to and her mother said she was watching TV in her room waiting for someone to show up and said I could go get her. Her door was closed and I said it was me. I heard her mumble something that sound like come in. When I went in, she was fully naked rubbing herself and moaning a little. I realized what she was doing after what was only a second and said sorry and closed her door. She called me back in. She said she was bored and wanted to have some fun. She invited me to have some fun too. As I started masturbating, she quickly was getting louder and she kept looking at me. I ejaculated into a tissue (she had some in her room) and then she suddenly stopped and asked if i wanted to "do it." I kind of shrugged and said I don't know, I would have to think about it. Then all day at the pool she was making advances toward me. One time she came around me from behind and grabbed my crotch. What should I do? Should I do it with her to pleasure her even though this would feel wrong to me? Or should I tell her I'm not really comfortable with it. I'm sure I would like sex, but I have morals and would regret it afterward. (age 14)

You should be honest with her that you're not planning to have sex anytime soon. She will probably understand.

I have been masturbating for about a year and a half, and I've been keeping it very secret and private. However, sometimes, I just look at porn without masturbating just to get aroused. My parents are divorced. Yesterday, I was at my mom's house, and I was really bored. I was in my room, so I decided to look at some porn, but I wasn't masturbating. My mom walked in and demanded to look at what I was doing. I tried to close the tab but she saw it anyway. Instead of saying "it's natural, never mind" like most parents would, she immediately starts yelling about how I've lost her trust and it's unnatural and bad for you and blah blah blah. She grounded me for a week, refusing to listen to any arguments in my defense. What should I do? (age 15)

You should be glad you weren't masturbating and apologize for looking at the porn. Tell her you'd be happy to listen to her guidelines for web site use.

A few days ago, I was watching anime on YouTube and got a spontaneous erection. I thought I had locked my door, so I just paused the video, opened some photos that help me, and started masturbating. Well, the door wasn't locked, as it turns out, and my mom walked in. I quickly closed the porn tab, but then my anime tab was still open, and the shot was paused on a frame of the shirtless male protagonist. My pants and underwear were, of course, still down.

I don't know how to approach this. My mom caught me masturbating, which I would ordinarily just leave alone, but for all she knows, I was masturbating to same-sex anime porn. I really want to clarify that wasn't the case, but I have no idea how to do that.

It is best if you don't say anything. She might have seen you close the porn tab. Anime is nothing but a cartoon, and your mom probably doesn't connect it to masturbating.

I got a lock on my door by telling my dad I needed one because I only wear underwear when I'm in my room and I don't want anyone walking in. (age 19)

Good tip. And remind him that sometimes you don't wear even that much.

I have been caught twice. The first time was by my dad, when I was wanking in the shower. He looked at me weird, then went out and told both my brothers that I was wanking in the shower. I did not find that to be cool. The next time I was caught was by my brother, but he was cool about it because he was also experienced at masturbating. (age 42)

Being experienced at masturbating did not make your brother cool, because your dad is also experienced. Your brother just knew how to handle the situation more tactfully.

Mom taught me early on that masturbation was a healthy, fun and safe and was best done in private. She caught once when I was 18, while I was by our private pool. I didn't realize she was home. She quickly turned around, and said "Ooops!" We both then laughed about it. Mom had come out to tell me that we had visitors on the way. Glad they didn't catch me. (age 19)

Most likely, so are they!

About an hour ago, I was masturbating with my girlfriend on webcam when my dad opened the closed door and walked in. (He only saw me, and I didn't have any bottoms on.) He just stood there and said, "Keep the door open for the cat." Then he walked away, without closing the door. Now I feel like it's really awkward. What do I do? Luckily, I wasn't near the point of ejaculation. (age 14)

Tell your dad you think it would be OK for the cat if you closed the door for a half hour at a time occasionally. He will probably agree.

A few days ago, my mother used my computer in my room, and today while I was on it, I saw that a link to a porn site I was on was clearly visible. Ever since then, my mom has been making me keep my bedroom door open to "let heat in." Do you think she caught me?

More likely she thought it was cold when she used your computer.

I started masturbating a year and a half ago. One night I was in my bed and felt very horny. The door was partially locked and I instantly started to masturbate, and all of a sudden I heard someone coming. I got worried because it was 2:05 a.m. So I stopped until the footsteps went away. It was my sister, 3 years younger, who wanted to ask something about her schoolwork. It was the first time that I was close to getting caught. (age 15)

That is not a getting caught story at all. You were only interrupted, and barely. Worse nights are ahead.

I have read on that after you start ejaculating, you can't stop, but I never believed it until last week. I forgot to lock my door and my mom walked in when just as I started squirting. She just said oops, sorry. When I came downstairs, she was extra nice to me. She is so cool. (age 16)

Hooray for you!

A couple of months ago, I was masturbating in my living room (I was the only one home), and I had just finished and cleaned up and I got to to go to the kitchen. When I got up, I put my penis back in my pants and zipped up, to realize that my neighbor was at my door (which is mostly see-through glass). I don't know how long she had been there or what she had seen. I let her in, but then realized that my laptop was still open with porn on it on my coffee table. I hopped over the couch to close it. She asked me about shoveling her driveway, then left. Do you think she knew? (age 14)

No, I don't think she did. But be more careful.

I started masturbating a few weeks ago and have been doing it every night at around 2:00 a.m. (Everyone goes to bed at 10:00 p.m.). As usual, I opened up some porn and started at it. I was at the point of no return when I heard my door being opened (my door handle has a broken lock). My sister walked in before I could do anything and she saw the porn; I don't think she saw me. I feel really awkward. (age 12)

People have to feel awkward sometime. Be glad you've found something new that you enjoy. I know you enjoy it because you only started a few weeks ago and are already doing it every night.

I have been thinking it over and the real problem when it comes to being caught masturbating is not being seen but rather the semen. It gets on stuff and cannot always be cleaned up fully. Eventually someone will notice. (age 15)

You did not ask a question. Nearly everyone who has supplied a story about being caught to was seen or interrupted by someone. I can't remember a story about someone finding semen that didn't get cleaned up. That doesn't mean it hasn't happened; but really, who is going to inspect your space for signs of semen? I don't think the semen is the real problem. Semen is good.

I was caught while I was masturbating. I imagined she was in the yard so I found the moment for masturbating but she was actually in her bed. I don't know if she saw me or not. What should I do? Does she forget about it? I just want to die! (age 18)

If you don't know if she saw you or not, why do you think you were caught? You will not die but you will masturbate again thousands of times. Just forget about this incident and be more careful the next 5000 times.

So I'm in the living room and my mom sleeps in the room it's late at night and I can't see the corridor where my mom's at but if she peeked she could see me since it's lighter in the living room. She just entered the bathroom I'm not even sure if when she got out, she washed her hands, but she went back to the room and turned off the Internet. I go to the room and ask her to keep it on and she just softly said OK which she usually yells when I wake her up at night so I'm not sure really.

I'm not sure either. I thought your message was going to be about getting caught masturbating, but you didn't mention anything about masturbating or being caught. Try to express your ideas more clearly than that.

The only place I can masturbate is the bathroom. I was doing my thing there and my mom walked in. I got up quick, and I was in a squatting position next to the toilet and she never saw me lying down, but I can't shake the feeling that she suspected at least what I was doing. (I had a shirt on but no pants.) What are your thoughts? She won't get me a lock on my door. (female, age 13)

You were caught and your mother knows that you masturbate. I suggest doing it in bed where it's more comfortable, and you now have one fewer reason to worry about being caught.

Do you have a story to tell about being discovered masturbating?

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