Women’s bodies have long been a taboo subject. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what a woman’s body should do, how they should be dressed, and more.
Sometimes even parents decide for their daughters what should be acceptable with rules that often aren’t shared with male offspring.
One father discovered he has a very different outlook on what his daughter should be able to do with her body when his very conservative wife walked in on their daughter exploring her own anatomy.
Redditor “throwRAkximskx” shared his concern on the “Relationship Advice” subReddit after his wife had what he believed was an unreasonable reaction to their daughter’s self exploration.
The Redditor wrote in:
“My wife wants to punish our daughter for touching herself.”
The father explained how his wife caught their daughter in her room.
“I (30) have a daughter (6) and a wife (28)”
“Last night my wife walked into our daughters room and caught her with her hands down her pants.”
He explained his wife is extremely conservative.
“My wife is very religious and thinks that masturbation is a sin.”
“She scolded our daughter and asked me what a good punishment would be for her. I told her that she shouldn’t be punished and needs to go and apologize to her for scolding her.”
His wife did not agree with his sentiment.
“This started an argument between us where she accused me of allowing sinful behavior and said that our daughter needs to be spanked. I took my daughter with me to stay at my brother’s house because I don’t want my wife to punish her for something completely natural.”
“[I should mention] we never spoke about this during our discussion on how we would raise her.”
After going to his brother’s house, his wife continued to argue with him.
“She text bombed me all night and I’m having second thoughts on our marriage.”
“What should I do?”
Fellow Redditors responded to the OP’s (Original Poster’s) situation, sharing their thoughts on the daughter’s behavior as well as the wife’s reaction.
Some agreed with the OP’s concerns about his marriage and suggested he end it for his daughter’s sake.
“This poor kid might even have been scratching [or] sore.”
“Your wife has serious psychological issues and unless she’s prepared to get intense therapy, I think you need to separate for the sake of your child.”
“This is horror story stuff, quite frankly. Can you imagine how your wife is going to deal with your daughter’s eventual puberty?”
“I imagine your wife herself suffered religious oppression and abusive parenting, but that’s no excuse to perpetuate it on a another generation.” – istara
“Follow your gut on this. Explain to your daughter that she’s perfectly fine, it’s natural to be curious and explore your own body, and emphasize she’s done absolutely nothing wrong or shame worthy.”
“This is a huge difference in parenting and I can imagine as your daughter grows your wife will give her some serious issues if y’all don’t get on the same page.”
“ETA you’re an amazing dad for making the decision to leave. Kudos friend.” – rustyshackleford1301
“Follow your gut! I have a sister who doesn’t allow her kids to touch themselves bc of sin, but she doesn’t spank them. She says we don’t do that. And redirects their attention.”
“I disagree with this tactic as well and we had a discussion about it and she won’t change her mind.”
“My son went through his phase and we just explained to him that it is a private time activity and he should do it alone in his room and that he needs to make sure he washes his hands after touching himself. He is 10, so I am sure he will be soon getting back to the newly rediscovered joys of touching himself.”
“Definitely do not allow her to hit your daughter.” – loujules17
Others pointed out how detrimental the mother’s reaction could be to the daughter’s reaction to changes in her body and eventual sexual relationships.
“This exact scenario happened to me as a child, and I never got over it. I still have to fight off feelings of immense shame, despite knowing it’s nothing to be ashamed of at all. It still affects my everyday life.”
“My parents really meant no harm. Quite the opposite, actually. But it was a painfully defining moment anyway. Do not let your wife do this to your child. This is the hill you die on.” – cherrycoke260
“The child is 6. She doesn’t even know what’s she doing. Many children her age and younger touch themselves as a way of exploring their body, its not sexual for them.”
“If you punish her for it she’s going to have very warped views on sex when she is older and it will damage her in relationships, leading her to feel disgusting when she engages in sexual behavior.”
“You really need to talk to your wife about it. Would any kind of couple therapy help? I don’t know, your wife is obviously very into her beliefs it will be a hard thing to change.”
“If you do divorce who will look after your daughter? She will be able to punish her for these things if your not in the picture as much” – Bellissimabee
“ALSO; VERY IMPORTANT; Children who are taught that their bodies and sex are NOT taboo/bad/gross/weird to talk about; are more likely to come forward IMMEDIATELY if someone close to them is abusing them sexually in secret (which unfortunately happens more often than not). Having healthy open lines of communication about this sort of stuff with children is so so so important.” – undercookedricex
Some agreed, sharing how they grew up in similar households and still struggle with their relationship with sex.
“As someone who’s own mother had really stupid views on sex, and now has a very complicated relationship with their own sexuality, I hope you do. It’s gross that your wife is sexualizing your 6yr old like that as well.” – Butt_y_though
“Can confirm that this is normal. I got shamed at 4 for doing it and I’ve never had a healthy sex life since. Still working on it. Protect her.” – ElbowDeepInAFeline
“Saaaaame. I got caught looking at porn when I was like 10, I didn’t even really know what I was looking at. I heard someone on the bus mention Playboy and I thought it was like a Game Boy website or something.”
“From that day on all of my internet traffic got monitored and then when I was older in high school my parents would randomly take my phone and go through it.”
“They never talked to me about sex or anything even remotely related, always changed the channel when anything even close to racy came on, made us leave our doors open, so I just grew up with this shameful association with it.”
“I had my first girlfriend at 17 and straight up had ED for like the first 6 months because my brain couldn’t figure out if intimacy was good or bad. I’m 99% sure they had a dead bedroom, so maybe that’s why.”
“I’m 27 now and I get incredibly anxious any time anyone asks to use my phone or my computer, and I’m not an anxious person. It comes across like I’m hiding something, which I’m not, it’s just a knee jerk visceral response. I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.” – 7evenCircles
No matter what decision the father makes about his own relationship, it’s clear that more conversations need to happen in his household, so his daughter can have the healthiest possible relationship with her body.
As some Redditors pointed out, the mother’s discomfort could have been passed down from her own upbringing. Perhaps further discussions would help her to heal a bit, too.