HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Everybody Masturbates
Author: Cristian YoungMiller
Illustrator: Andrew Toutant
Publisher: RateABull Publishing, 2010
Related website: http://www.RateABull.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Said to be for ages 8 to 80
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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YoungMiller, Cristian. Everybody Masturbates (published in 2010 by RateABull Books). I recently received two books that deal with a very delicate and sensitive subject to review as to whether they would be helpful for Christian fathers to use in talking to their sons about the facts of life. In the first, Billy—the story says he is eight years old, but the back of the book says ten—lives with his dad, mom, older brother Tommy, and baby sister Sam. But Billy is very unhappy. Tommy, age thirteen, saw him doing something in the shower and told him that he was going to grow hair on his hands and he would go blind. Dad notices that Billy has been crying and takes him for a walk to talk with him. What had Billy been doing? And what does Dad tell him? Masturbation was a topic that simply was not discussed when I was growing up–period. Today there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of websites that talk about it openly. Personally, the only way I learned about it as a youngster was through those books about “how boys develop” or “growing up for boys” in our local library. And in our small-town library in the mid-1960s, almost all of those had been written in the 1950s or before. About all they did was say that it is self-stimulation and suggest ways to avoid or reduce it. Everyone seems to agree that the Bible says nothing specifically about masturbation, either for or against it. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily prove anything. The Bible doesn’t specifically mention rape by name, but it does contain principles which clearly condemn it. So the question is, are there any Biblical principles by which we can determine whether masturbation is right or wrong? The traditional, religious, “Christian” view of masturbation is that it’s wrong, sinful, a violation of God’s will for human sexuality. And from the “Christian” websites I’ve looked at, there are still many who hold that position.
However, in his book Preparing for Adolescence (1980, Tyndale), evangelical psychologist and founder of Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson said, “It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God. It’s a normal part of adolescence—and Jesus did not mention it in the Bible.” To those kids who do masturbate, Dobson says, “You should not struggle with guilt over it.” Of course, not everyone agrees with him. A friend of mine in reviewing Preparing for Adolescence said, “Weak discussion of masturbation.” But nowadays, even many conservative “Christian” counselors say of masturbation, “When it is needed it is a true blessing as a way to keep your body under control.” The main argument against masturbation is that it involves lust, and lust is sin. Yes and no. Lust is simply desire. When two people get married and have sex, they are fulfilling their lusts or desires, but in a God-approved way. James 1:15 says that “When desire [lust] has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” Desire or lust may lead to sin, but the desire or lust itself is not necessarily sin. Certainly, there are many ways which one may express or fulfill various desires or lusts which are definitely sinful, as in Matthew 5:28. All Bible believers would agree that masturbating with lewd fantasies in mind, or while watching pornography, or with someone else to whom he is not married, would be sinful. So the question becomes, is it possible for a boy or man all alone to masturbate simply as a purely physical act, like going to the bathroom, in order to fulfill the body’s desire (or lust) to ejaculate built-up semen without involving himself in lewd, lustful thinking? Luke Gilkerson in an August 12, 2014, article entitled “Stop Playing with Yourself! Talking to Young Boys About Masturbation” on his website The Intoxicated Life, wrote, “Here we see two types of masturbation in the definition: (1) that which is done without the aid of fantasy, and (2) that which is accompanied by sexual fantasies. Dr. Doug Weiss, in his book Sex, Men, and God, talks about both forms of masturbation, saying that even into adulthood there are men who, when they masturbate, ‘stay connected’ to themselves and concentrate only on the physical sensation itself. They do not escape into lustful fantasy.”
I will refrain from expressing any personal opinions, as each person will have to study the Bible and reach his (or her) own conclusions on the matter. Author Cristian YoungMiller received his degree in Psychology from Beloit College and says, “this book has been reviewed positively by Child Care Experts,” though nowhere in the book does it mention who these child care experts are that positively reviewed this little book. In the book, which the back says, “respectfully discusses what is masturbation, why it feels good, who does it, where it’s appropriate, masturbation hygiene, and more,” the father’s explanation to Billy regarding masturbation is that “Everybody does it.” Perhaps that is overstating the case a little bit. Besides a few childish slang terms, there is no vulgarity. And Dad warns Billy several times, “It isn’t something that we share with others.” I also found it interesting that Dad says, “As you get older there will be people who tell you that it’s wrong to masturbate. And when that happens, you will have to listen to everything they tell you and then think about everything you know. After that, you will have to decide whether or not you should stop. That is the type of decisions that you will have to make as you get older.” The cartoon-like characters with fruit for heads and the story format would make the book interesting to kids. So the question remains, would this book be of any benefit to Christian fathers in talking to their sons? The answer will depend on one’s convictions. For those who sincerely believe that masturbation is wrong, then no, it would not be of any use. However, for those who have concluded that the act of masturbation, in and of itself, is not sinful but may be something to assist teenage boys and young unmarried men in abstaining from fornication, it might have some value, though I would not recommend that a child read this without supervision. There is a companion book for girls.
Websites consulted in preparing this review: