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A sexual behavioural expert has sparked outrage after appearing on TV to say she believes primary school children should be taught about masturbation.
Speaking to This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, Kate Dawson explained she normally works with secondary school-aged children, but also does work in primary schools with kids as young as eight.
Kate said: "I think it's really important to start talking about how it's normal to explore your own body in a private space, if that's something you want to do, and that it can feel nice.
"It's because we're meeting a lot of young girls particularly who are absolutely disgusted by their genitalia. We do this activity where we show a very realistic kind of illustration of the vulva and the penis. We take the penis out and there's a big laugh, everyone finds it really funny, and then we take the vulva out - you sometimes hear, 'Oh my god, that's disgusting'.
"I think there's a lot of pressure on young girls to have genitals to look a certain way."
Kate also said she thinks pornography plays a role in this mindset, as it helps bolster unrealistic expectations of male and female bodies.
She continued: "The only place we get to see other people's genitals is porn and people in porn are hired because of the type of bodies they have."
Kate added that masturbation is important to teach as it's 'something that most people do'.
She said: "Boys are definitely more comfortable talking about it.
"But when we're talking about self-pleasure and what it's like, and what might feel good for a person who has a vulva or a penis, it's really important for the person of the opposite gender I guess, can have an idea of what it might be like.
"Because sometimes we're talking to young girls and they're being really badly hurt by their partners who don't understand you have to be quite gentle with that part of the body. Physically hurt. Where their vagina might be bruised or cut even.
"Sometimes they just don't want to make their partner feel bad because they don't want to embarrass them so they don't say anything. What we do, it's really about giving people the skills so they can say, 'This is what I like and this is what I don't like' and how to communicate that."
Some viewers sided with Dawson, with one Twitter user posting: "WE NEED TO TEACH OUR KIDS THAT MASTURBATION IS NORMAL AND ITS OK!!!! IF YOU DON'T TOUCH YOURSELF YOU WON'T GET TO KNOW YOUR VAGINA!!! #ThisMorning."
However, not all people watching agreed, with many saying we should just 'let kids be kids'.
One tweeted: "Eight year olds do not need to be taught to masturbate!!! Let them enjoy their innocence until high school at least."
Another added: "Omg #ThisMorning no thank you, do not want my young child to learn about masturbation - can you let children be children please!"
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