On Becoming A Man Chapter 5

Chapter 5

So You will Understand

This chapter, like its equivalent in OBAW, discusses masturbation. It will leave you just as ragey, so here’s a cute picture to make you smile first.

My name is Annabelle, and I live at the cat cafe. I am up for adoption and The Abominable Snowman is having a hard time resisting my charm.

There’s a cat cafe in my town, conveniently located near where I have to work today. I came at feeding time

I iz hungray kitteh!

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s talk about the important things in life: jacking off.

The chapter begins by talking about teenage boys having new capabilities. Um, the ability to masturbate isn’t new to most teenage boys. If boys are anything like girls, they’ve been masturbating since they were 8.

In the use of your newly acquired physical strength, it is possible for you to exert yourself to such an extent as to damage your heart, strain our ligaments, or otherwise impair your prospects of good health for the future.

I thought at first that Shryock was talking about overexerting yourself in regard to physical labors. And he may be, or he may not… this is kind of vague.

The sensations that your reproductive organs provide have become more noticeable and have made  you curious about their significance.

Note here that he says these sensations become more noticeable, not that they have just begun to manifest. He is clearly aware that boys begin masturbating before puberty, but does not seem aware that the same thing is true of girls.

Maybe you have found yourself becoming almost impatient in waiting for life to unfold so that you can fully discern the capacities of manhood.

Here, let me translate that for you into English: You’re horny and in a hurry to get married so you can have lots and lots of SEX.

As a teenager, you’re going to observe a lot of things that will give you a “mild erection.” The sorts of things that could cause this are books and pictures that discuss “intimacies of life” and “the feminine figure.”

A young man is usually more sensitive in his response to the various stimuli that produce erection than is a middle aged man.

This I did not know. So, like, a grown man isn’t going to have as many erections as a teenage boy? Interesting.

The author talks a bit about it being embarrassing when you get an unexpected boner in front of girls, then goes on to say that

The fact that your reproductive organs are very responsive was not intended to indicate that your newfound urges should be allowed full sway. These are the urges that should find their complete satisfaction only after you become a husband.

You’re going to start having erections before you’re ready because…. um, God wanted to torture you? Just go with it, ok?

The reflexes that produce erection begin to function while you are still in your teens, so that you will have a sufficient number of years before marriage to become adjusted to the status of manhood and learn to exercise reasonable control over your thoughts and reflex responses.

This is bullshit, and we all know it. Any intelligent designer would design these things so that they wouldn’t start happening until the person has reached the age of adulthood. There’s no reason it has to take so many years for boys to get used to erections, particularly when they’re not allowed to do anything about them.

In its true significance erection is intended to serve as simply a part of the total response by which a husband is able to love his wife with a more complete love than is found in any other human relationships.

The function of erections is not to “allow the husband to love his wife more completely,” it’s to deliver sperm to the vagina, and something about orgasms. What were you saying back in chapter 1 about accurate information being important?

Shryock goes on to talk about husbands and wives and the love between them, calling it “the highest type of love.”

Erection comes from thinking thoughts of “love and admiration” and “the reflex influence of the contacts between the bodies of husband and wife.” Erections become more intense until they reach their climax in a response called “ejaculation.” During ejaculation, the sperm comes out.

Erection does not necessarily culminate in ejaculation.

It doesn’t? How else does it go away? Could one of my readers please answer this question for me, because Shryock doesn’t.

Ejaculation, however, represents the climax of the functions of the male reproductive organs. The seminal emissions described in chapter 3 involve both erection and ejaculation.

Yanno Shryock, a good place to discuss this would’ve been the chapter on sex ed. Instead, you have sprinkled little bits and pieces of the details of sex throughout the book. Not everyone is going to be savy enough to put this together, or at least, I wasn’t.

Furthermore, stimulation of a reaction by the reproductive organs produces sensations that stimulate the desire for more of the same.

Maybe it’s just me, but I had to read that like 5 times before I understood. If I touch my penis, I’ll have more desire to touch my penis, not less. And this is a bad thing because….????

Simple contact with the skin covering the penis produces erection.

Wait a second… if this is true, how do men wear underwear or pants without constantly getting erections? Is this why men in some cultures wear robes?

This isn’t me being snarky, this is me asking honest questions. It’s not like the author’s going to answer them, so you guys get to. Aren’t you thrilled.

When a boy or young man allows himself to follow the dictates of the sensations that urge him to continue the stimulation of the penis, ejaculation results. This unnatural production of ejaculation is called masturbation.

This still doesn’t exactly tell me what masturbation is. It’s when I think about girls and then I get an erection and I touch my penis somehow, then I ejaculate? If I wear underwear do I get an erection and ejaculate all over myself? That sounds messy and gross. How many times a day do I have to change my underpants?

This book doesn’t explain things very well. It’s vague. In order to understand this chapter you’d already have to know what masturbation is. Which most boys probably will, even if they don’t know what the word means. Connecting the word to the actions, though, is what proved difficult for me.

Masturbation requires the release of a tremendous amount of nervous energy-so much that the reserve supply of this energy is almost used up.

This is a very Ellen Whiteian Victorian idea. The idea that a person only has so much energy, and that orgasms use it right up. The author tells us that Masturbation depletes a boy of energy, just like a battery, and so it should be avoided. Ellen White didn’t have access to batteries, but she thought along the same lines.

This is an important reason why masturbation must be avoided. It consumes the reserve supply of vital force, leaving the individual tired, listless, and downcast.

No…. not necessarily…

A young man who follows a wholesome, ideal pattern of living does not experience ejaculation except as nature provides through the seminal emissions previously mentioned.

Real men mess up their bedclothes instead of doing it in the shower where cleanup is easy!

The author tells us again how difficult the reflexes are to control, and that awakening them before the proper time is a terrible bad idea.

When masturbation becomes a habit, it tends to rob a young person of his incentive for accomplishment. he loses interest in worth while enterprises largely because his supply of nervous energy has been depleted and he does not feel equal to demands for honest effort.

Men who masturbate won’t want to do real work. Pretty sure if this was true that 99% of the population wouldn’t feel a need to accomplish anything.


Masturbation cane become a tyrant that robs its victim of the incentives for worthy accomplishments.

I  honestly don’t know anyone who actually says, “no, I don’t want to do task X, I’d rather go masturbate.” At least, no one at work says that to me, though I am sure they would rather be masturbating than working.

Shryock goes on to talk about how the youth who masturbates is

  1. constantly let down and fatigued
  2. adopts an attitude of stupidity because he doesn’t have enough energy to be mentally alert
  3. loses interest in his studies
  4. mental development lags


None  of these sound like symptoms of chronic masturbation. Rather, they sound like symptoms of depression. I have no doubt that a large amount of SDA youth do suffer from depression, and I have even less doubt that they are discouraged from seeking medical attention for it. Is there a correlation between depressed people and people who masturbate? Undoubtedly. Does that mean that one necessarily has anything to do with the other? No.

When there is a lot of nervous energy, it makes the youth alert and ready to rise to the challenges of life. This abundance of nervous energy is also necessary to keep the body in good health. When a person’s supply of nervous energy is low, the whole body suffers.

The tissues lose part of their normal resistance to disease. Infections overtake him ore easily. He catches cold readily and loses that sparkle and bounce that is characteristic of a person in the pink of condition.

Stop masturbating now or your whole body suffers. And then everyone will see how sick you are and they will just know.

The young person who resorts to this practice realizes, in his own thinking, that the practice is not approved by people with high ideals. He therefore develops an attitude of shame regarding this practice. He attempts to hide the knowledge of his habit from his friends and relatives. Fear of its discovery causes him to feel ill at ease. This secrecy and this anxiety rob him of a great deal of the joy of living.

Credit where credit is due, this is spot on. This is why adults need to get over their idiotic issues with masturbation. Heck, maybe they should go have a good wank themselves. A lot of them are wound up so tightly a good wank will do them good.

Here’s what the author has to say to help boys protect themselves from, um, temptation.

  1. Be on guard against other boys who would tell you about it.

This one is probably more realistic for boys than for girls. Masturbation, as far as I understand, is less of a taboo subject for them, so its’ more likely to be talked about.

2. Avoid unnecessary handling of the penis.

The skin of the penis so sensitive… Thus the wise teenager will establish the personal policy of not handling the penis except as necessary to cleanse the skin at the time of bathing.

Honest question here: if the penis is that sensitive, how do men wear pants and underwear? What about holding squirmy children in their laps? When they shower, the water would rain down in it. Do these things cause erections?

Oh boy… several of you were wondering if Shryock ever advised circumcision for male masturbation. Well…

There is an anatomical factor that sometimes causes irritation of the penis and thus encourages undue handling of the organ. This factor is the presence of a tight foreskin. the foreskin is a fold of soft tissue, ring shaped, which serves to cover the end of the penis. It is now quite customary for the doctor to remove the foreskin within a few days after the birth of a baby boy.

I have no doubt this was true in the 1960s, and this is why it is a good idea to update books like these before you republish them in the 21st century. Male circumcision, today, is hotly debated.

This minor operation is spoken of as circumcision. A foreskin not only may cause irritation but may make it difficult to keep the skin of the penis clean.

From what I’ve been reading, this is true.

And of course cleanliness is an important factor in maintaining self respect and in avoiding those irritations that suggest undue handling of the organ.

Is… is he talking about the penis getting infected because it’s not being kept clean? I will agree that the penis should be kept clean, but I’m not sure what it has to do with self respect.

It sometimes happens that a boy reaches his teens without having been circumcised.

My parents did not circumcise my brother. I know because I asked.** They told me that, unless there was some medical reason to do it in the future, they were going to leave him intact and let him make the decision whether or not to get snipped when he was old enough to make it. This was in 1994.

Even though he is of teen age the operation of circumcision is still a minor operation and is much to be preferred to allowing a condition to continue that encourages him in the practice of masturbation.

There you go. One of the reasons Shryock recommends male circumcision is because of masturbation.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons male infants might be circumcised, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.


So there are medical reasons to circumcise males. However, I highly doubt the AAP really cares all that much about masturbation.

Moving on from horrifying surgical procedures, another thing one can do to avoid masturbating is to avoid

The kinds of reading, conversation, and daydreaming that emphasize sex.

That, kids, is why I didn’t give you any details about the act itself in my book. I didn’t want you teenagers to masturbate to it, you see. This is also why giving you all an anatomy textbook is a terrible idea.

The teenager whose personality is developing along desirable lines directs his interests outward rather than inward.

He focuses his attention on others rather than on himself. He concerns himself with rendering services rather than with attracting attention to his own preferences and comforts.

So, he should have sex instead of masturbating?

It is unnatural and unwholesome for a teenager to spend very much of his time alone.

It’s actually fairly normal.

And anyway, how much is too much? Shryock has left this very open, here, for any parent to interpret. Perhaps a teenager feels like he needs some alone time to recharge. Is Shryock saying that shouldn’t be allowed? Well, probably not, but he is being vague enough that someone somewhere is sure to interpret it that way.

It’s much better for the teenager to spend time with friends, siblings, and parents instead of alone. If you share your interests with them instead of “selfishly hoarding them” whatever that means, you will almost never have a chance to, um, develop “the possibility of unfortunate personal habits.”

The normal teenager is socially inclined. He has come to a time of his life when he desires friendships outside of his home circle.

Not all teenagers are socially inclined, and that’s ok. Some are more introverted. As far as wanting friends outside of the family goes, I’m pretty sure most people start wanting that when they’re five.

It’s a good idea for teenagers of both sexes to mingle with each other in groups, though it’s a good idea to choose friends with conservative standards. Such mingling will, um, “counteract tendencies to give undue attention to himself.”

The way all this is put together kind of makes it seem like the author is endorsing mas orgies with other teenagers.

Teenagers should avoid both the extremes of too much activity and having too much time on their hands. But if they have to pick one, they should of course pick the former, because it’s far better to be way too active and wear out your body. That way you sleep too soundly at night to masturbate.

Teenagers must balance their lives with work and study. They don’t want to neglect development of the body while focusing solely on the mind, and they also don’t want to neglect the mind while focusing only on body development.

A systematic program of physical development serves to neutralize those tensions and pent up energies that are otherwise difficult to control.


Systematic physical activity enables a person to sleep soundly and thus obtain an adequate new supply of vital force for the next day’s activities.

This ability to sleep soundly becomes important in connection with avoiding an unwholesome interest in masturbation.

Let’s talk about this argument for a bit. How many of us have been told that if we only exercised more, we’d sleep soundly at night and not have a desire to masturbate? Alright, I see lots of hands raised.

Now, another show of hands, how many people actually found this method helpful in curbing desires to masturbate?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Physical energy and sexual energy are kind of two separate things. Unless you are constantly working yourself to the point of exhaustion, you will still have energy to masturbate at the end of the day. Please do not ask me how I know that.

Even the diet is a factor that deserves its share of consideration as a means of avoiding those personal habits that would undermine the health and reduce the individual’s chances of success. Highly spiced food and food consisting principally of animal proteins have the effect of stimulating those sensations that attract attention to the reproductive organs.

This logic is Ellen Whitian in nature. She talked quite a bit about how eating meat would cause us to act like animals, particularly between the sheets.

Those who indulge in meat eating, tea drinking, and gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The unhealthful food placed in the stomach strengthens the appetites that war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat tends to develop animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding truth.

The word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual nature. Lustful eating wars against health and peace. Thus a warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of appetites unsanctioned by Heaven.—[The Review and Herald, May 27, 1902]

Ellen White and Co took the statement “you are what you eat” a little too literally. In any case, that’s where this paragraph of OBAM comes from, and this argument is still being used today in SDA schools and churches.

The Christian youth has yet another way he can resist the temptation to masturbate. He can go to Gawd.

We must assume an attitude of active cooperation while praying the Lord to give us the victory over besetting sins. Thus, by cooperation with his heavenly father, the Christian may attain a healthy development in all phases of his nature–physical, mental, and spiritual.






*When I was born, everyone thought I was a boy before I actually came out. My father was looking around for the doctor to ask about circumcising me, whether or not it should be done. To this day, my father is glad he never did find that doctor. That would have been really emabrassing.

**I asked when I was 6, for the record.









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