HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Boys’ Hand Book of Masturbation
Author: Johnson “Jack” Onani
Cover Illustrator: Alexi Romanov
Publisher: Caper Press, 2013
Language level: 5
(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: Ages 13 and up
Rating: * 1 star (very poor)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Onani, Johnson “Jack.” The Boys’ Hand Book of Masturbation (published in 2013 by The Caper Press). 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. The second is entitled The Boys’ Hand Book of Masturbation by Dr. Johnson “Jack” Onani. I first wondered if this were a made-up name. After all, “onanism” is an old, if incorrect, term for masturbation, “jacking off” is a modern slang term for masturbation, and “johnson” is a slang name for the penis. But the book says, “Johnson ‘Jack’ Onani, MD, specializes in adolescent care. He divides his home in Portland, Oregon, and his New England farm. He is married with three sons….” If you want a fuller treatment on this subject, you can check my review of Everybody Masturbates (https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/everybody-masturbates/ ). Some strong Bible believers put forth arguments from Scripture to teach that masturbation is a sin, while other equally strong Bible believers make arguments from Scripture to claim that the act of masturbation itself is not necessarily sinful and may even be useful in helping teenage boys and young unmarried men to abstain from fornication. As I said in the previous review, each person will have to study the Bible and reach his (or her) own conclusions on the matter.
The Bible very plainly condemns, either by name or by clear description, all kinds of sexual immorality, such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, incest, rape, and bestiality, etc., but it is strangely silent about masturbation, either one way or the other. The seven chapters of this book include a list of slang terms for masturbation, a history of the practice, a discussion of techniques (with the warning, “No sexual thrill, perceived or actual, is worth dying for”), and several testimonials “from guys just like you.” It is not my aim to express my own personal opinion on the topic, but I will say this. On the one hand, in the absence of any actual condemnation of masturbation in Scripture, I would hesitate to say categorically that it is always wrong. On the other hand, because of all the questions that it raises, I would not be comfortable slapping a boy on the back and saying, “Go masturbate, young man, go masturbate.” However, even for those who may feel that masturbation could be a way to keep one’s body under control, I still cannot recommend this book as being of any benefit to Christian fathers in talking to their sons for several reasons, the first of which is that rather than simply being a discussion of the subject, it actively promotes masturbation. Also, the author implies that drinking beer and smoking marijuana are harmless pleasures (like masturbating). In addition, he makes fun of sincere religious objections to masturbation and generally criticizes all conservative views of sexuality.
Furthermore, there is a lot of what is usually considered vulgar language, including frequent usage of the “f” word, along with some crude jokes and coarse cartoons. And finally, the book seems to advocate, or encourage, or at least condone such things as accepting homosexuality, mutual masturbation with friends, sexual fantasy while masturbating, looking at pornography, premarital sex, and even anal intercourse. In fact, the whole underlying worldview of the book is rank relativism, that practically anything goes. The author asks, “Why do most people seek a life of absolutes and exacts?…There is no normal!” For Bible believers, this is simply not true. Then too, he comes across as very vocally anti-circumcision, although he admits that this is simply his opinion. Now, I am totally neutral on circumcision. The New Testament does not demand circumcision but says that today it makes absolutely no difference to God. However, the facts that under the Old Testament God commanded Hebrew boys to be circumcised, and that Jesus Christ Himself was circumcised (Luke 2:21), must mean that being circumcised cannot be the moral and ethical evil that modern anti-circumcision zealots often claim. So far as masturbation itself is concerned, I might say, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). But this book is not something that I would endorse.