The book recommended was Crazy Good Sex: Putting to Bed the Myths Men Have About Sex by Les Parrott, a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor. From the beginning of the book he mentioned that he was a Christian and would approaching the topic from a Christian perspective. While I am not a Christian myself, I do share many Christian values (commitment to abstain from sex outside of marriage, etc.) and thought that the book would be refreshing and insightful. It turned out to be so, but not for the reasons I had thought.
As the title implies, this book is not really about the mechanics, physiology, and biology of sex. Rather it is about preparing a man (the book is written from the male perspective, but women can learn from it) for what a sexual relationship is really like and putting to an end the fairy tales and mythologies that have sprouted and blossomed in our modern culture.
Dr. Parrott focuses on 6 myths, and dedicates a chapter to each, using empirical evidence and whimsical lines to make his point clear. The myths are : 1) Men want sex more than women do 2) Sex with the same person is boring 3) Porn is not addictive 4) Size Matters 5) The Bible is Very Clear on Masturbation 6) My Sex Drive is More Than I Can Control. All six of these points were very well argued, but so you have some reason to buy the book after reading this review, allow me to just focus on one: The Bible is Very Clear on Masturbation
In the book, Dr. Parrott points out that nowhere in the Bible is masturbation mentioned, so it is not quite so easy to label it a sin or not. He states
"Masturbation is one of those wisdom issues, where we must be careful not to judge others but remain faithful to our own understanding of biblical principles..... Every expert agrees that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that this act is harmful to the body." (Crazy Good Sex pg. 149)This struck me for several reasons. One, masturbation is considered taboo to talk about; even males don't talk about it amongst each other very often. But, it was refreshing to see that it was not something that is out of the ordinary. However, I would remind my readers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we do not get our principles of sexuality or any other principle from the Bible alone, but from the other Standard Works and the living prophets, the latter have condemned masturbation. Also, those who have taken upon themselves the covenants of the temple will be reminded that at least two times in the endowment ceremony we are reminded to keep our sexual passions under careful guard.
While it may be true that the Bible does not mention masturbation, I do not think that any person who is a believer in the Bible can condone the practice. The standard arguments that people give, and were given in this book such as it is a relief valve to relieve sexual pressure and that is natural are fallacious. There are other ways to relieve sexual tension, such as changing your thoughts, exercise, and reading. Also, just because something is natural does not mean that a thing is therefore moral; it is also natural to lie when under pressure and steal when there is no one looking. But such things are not moral.
Besides this issue, the book was very fair and balanced, as well as being very funny ( I admit I had to put the book down to laugh as Woody Allen and other comedians were quoted). I highly recommend the book to those who are preparing for marriage or who will one day prepare. A must have in any library.