Original article| Volume 13, ISSUE 6, P508-510, November 2009

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Hand activities in infantile masturbation: A video analysis of 13 cases



      Infantile masturbation is considered a variant of normal behaviour. The abrupt and spontaneous onset, altered sensorium and autonomic phenomena during episodes may suggest an epileptic fit. Therefore, children with infantile masturbation are often admitted to hospital and undergo unnecessary tests. The purpose of the present study was to provide a detailed description of hand activities in infantile masturbation.


      The authors reviewed video recordings of 2 boys and 11 girls with infantile masturbation. Position, movements and activities of hands and fingers during episodes were registered.


      Five patterns of hand activities were registered: Fisting (four infants), grasping of toys, furniture or clothing (ten infants), chorea-like “piano playing” hand movements (two infants), pressure over the diaper/genital region (one infant) and bimanual manipulation of items (four infants). Fisting was primarily observed in the younger infants, and bimanual manipulation was primarily seen in the older infants.


      Recognizing one or more of the five distinct patterns of hand activities in infantile masturbation may help establishing the diagnosis.


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