I DID discuss the issue with the pediatrician. When I talk about professional help, I am referring to child psychologists or psychiatrists, or child abuse experts.
The pediatrician did not seem to give too much relevance to the matter, here's why I started this thread. He said that most, if not all, the children her age practice some form of self-gratification. He said that sexual play between preschoolers can happen and is OK as long as it does not cross the line and frighten the child. He added that if she asks me to touch her there I have to gently and firmly refuse and explain. Nothing I didn't know.
It was Gilda that suggested that my daughter is obsessive/compulsive.
As I have already pointed out, I think that the major issue seems to be her bottomless need for attention and not the self-gratification in itself, which appears to me just as a symptom of loneliness and isolation.
I am not here to convince anyone that my daughter's behavior is normal. I am the first person to be worried about it. But I am also the person who knows all the facts and who did the whole investigation about her behavior and its possible sources.
Unlike my mother, I have always been a truth seeker. The way I was raised and the way I behaved when I lived with my parents until 10 years ago, does not represent my present life. Living with people who are in denial, esp. if they happen to be your parents, forces you to behave the same, but it does not shape you the same way. It is likely to do the contrary instead. My mother is in denial when my daughter spank the monkeys, and pretends not to notice/not to understand. I don't.
BTW, her behavior started before preschool. Should I assume I am the abuser then? I was the ONLY caregiver for 3 full years ( and yes, I mean ONLY ). I have always given her plenty of physical contact and roughhousing, which she enjoyed a lot. I have aplied the nappy cream in spite of the fact she was obviously enjoying it. Was that abuse? Now when we cuddle, or we engage in physical play, this play merges with her new self-exploration interest.
I have been very clear with her about the limits of our play, that she now often reminds me each time we cuddle, "mom remember to not ever touch my bottom, because it's a private part" . I have the sensation that all the whole investigating enforced her interest in playing with yourself, spanking the monkey, and took away spontaneity from our relationship and our play.
I will investigate this option, may I unwittingly be the sexually-abusing mother? for sure I did not teach her that some body parts are dirty or less worthwhile than others.