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Acta Paediatr. 2013 Jul;102(7):762-6. doi: 10.1111/apa.12231. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Girls who masturbate in early infancy: diagnostics, natural course and a long-term follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Falun Hospital, Falun, Sweden.



To evaluate the natural course, onset, diagnostics and long-term follow-up masturbation in infant girls, which up to now has only been described in case reports.


Nineteen consecutive healthy, masturbating girls, diagnosed in early infancy between three and 15 months, were followed up for an average of 8 years. All were diagnosed in the same Swedish hospital between May 1996 and June 2010. Ten girls were videotaped and/or directly observed while masturbating.


Mean age at onset of masturbation was 10.4 months. The diagnosis was based on history taking and clinical observation. Parents reported that masturbation ranged from a few times a week to two-to-fifty episodes a day. Twelve girls had stopped masturbating when this study was written, after a mean duration of 66 months. Their symptoms and diagnostics are described in detail.


This is the first follow-up study of girls who started masturbating in early infancy, with a mean duration of five-and-a-half years. Diagnosis may be difficult, but with awareness and knowledge of the condition, a normal physical and neurological examination, a detailed history from the parents and, in particular, video documentation, it can be settled without extensive investigations and the parents reassured.

©2013 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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