Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 6, Aug. 20, 2003


Masturbation comes out of the closet

David S. Hall, Ph.D.

Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health
Walter O. Bockting, Ph.D. and Eli Coleman, Ph.D., Editors
Haworth Press, 2002

Click on the cover to buy this book for $17.95.

The Big Book of Masturbation:
From Angst to Zeal
Martha Cornog. MA, MLS
Down There Press, 2003

Click on the cover to buy this book for $15.40.

Kinsey and his co-workers cracked open the door of the closet where masturbation was hiding in their 1948 volume "The Sexual Behavior of the Human Male". They reported that 92% of the men in their sample had masturbated. Centuries of religious doctrine and medical misinformation had declared that masturbation was evil and unhealthy, yet most men and many women found that their health didn't deteriorate and they didn't grow hair on their hands simply from giving themselves sexual and sensual pleasure. Researchers like Havelock Ellis and Alfred Kinsey, and educators like Betty Dodson did their best to debunk these myths, and yet the fear remained. Clinton's wonderful Surgeon General, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, lost her job for suggesting masturbation might be a good thing to teach.

In 1999, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality held a research conference on the topic of Masturbation, and from this meeting, chaired by Walter O. Bockting, has come a new book, "Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health". Also published as an issue of the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, Vol. 14, No. 2/3, 2002, this paperback packs a fund of knowledge on the subject, including a history chapter by the great historian of sex, Vern Bullough, and several chapters of current research by well known sexual scientists.

Also just out, a more weighty volume by Martha Cornog, "The Big Book of Masturbation: From Angst to Zeal". This is a much broader perspective than the sexual research volume, including information on how animals masturbate, legal issues, cross cultural information, and how to talk to your kids about masturbation. She reviews our culture's seemingly inconsistant responses to the media uproar about Pee-Wee Herman, Ann Landers, and Dr. Elders. Martha Cornog is the award-winning editor of Libraries, Erotica & Pornography, and co-author of For SEX EDUCATION, See Librarian. This is a BIG book, and deserves study by every parent, young person and adult interested in a healthy sexual life. There is some fine humor, extensive quotations from some very surprising sources, and an excellent glossary.

Another readily available resource on the subject is free online from our good friends at Planned Parenthood. They have made available on their web site a White Paper on "Masturbation - From Stigma to Sexual Health". Go to their web site and download it. <http://www.plannedparenthood.org/library/facts/020904_masturbation.pdf>

This is a good year for masturbation information, take advantage of it.

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