Sex Facts for Men front cover

Sex Facts for Men front cover

by Richard J. Lambert, MD
Published in 1936 by Franklin Publishing Company

A condensed version of the Dr. Lambert’s book Sex and Marriage, Sex Facts for Men begins with by lamenting that most young men get their sex advice from their ill-informed peers because their fathers are failing to do the job.  I couldn’t help but think of modern sex education proponents who, while agreeing with opponents of sex education in public schools that sex education should be taught at home, assert that sex education is necessary because parents are failing to provide that education. Unfortunately, that where any notion of progressive thinking about human sexuality ends as the bulk of Sex Facts for Men is squarely in the camp that sex is an act only reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman, and even in those circumstances they should be careful to not indulge too often.

The first section includes an explanation of the male reproductive system that reads very much like the chapter of my own high school health textbook, save for the fact that the exact function of some sex organs was, presumably, unknown when this book was written. Dr. Lambert claims in this section that the left testicle of most men hangs lower than the right.  I don’t remember that from health class.  A quick examination (life offers few opportunities to touch oneself and call it research, so you can’t fault me for taking full advantage of everyone that arises) reveals that, for me at least, Dr. Lambert seems to be correct.  Oddly, I find that reassuring.  I’ll have survey some of the women I know (they’ll tell the truth) and see what they report. For the sake of accuracy, I’ll ask that they exclude men who enjoy ball kicking as men who’ve been kicked in the balls repeatedly might tend to skew the results.

The word “continence,” like “licit” and “biotic”, is one of only a few words that one usually sees in a negative form (i.e. illicit, antibiotic), and as I was a bit confused when I began the pamphlet’s next section, “Is Continence Harmful?”  Adding to my confusion, incontinence suggests, at least to me, the loss of bladder or bowel control.  Though I hadn’t read the section, I felt fairly sure that Dr. Lambert wasn’t the sort of physician who would advocate showers either golden or brown. Still, I held out a faint hope that the doctor might make me reconsider the virtue of good old fashioned family values. Alas despite my domitable optimism, the good doctor merely takes to task those who claim that abstinence is harmful to one’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Dr. Lambert next turns his attention to offering advice to the bridegroom.  Having previously sung the praises of remaining chaste before one is married, his admonition that young married couples should avoid becoming consumed with pleasures of the flesh is, by current standards, comical. To help young married couples avoid temptation, Lambert suggests that young married couples avoid sharing a bed lest their rubbing bodies cause them to fall victim to temptation. Doing so will help men avoid becoming obsessed by sex to the detriment of their careers.

In the chapter’s closing paragraph, he does take a moment to advise men of the value of foreplay or as he calls it “wooing.”  Dr. Lambert notes that women require “wooing” not only during courtship, but before every sexual encounter. I’m sure most women will agree that in this instance he’s right. .

The final chapter addresses masturbation and promises an objective view free from stereotypes or shame. But since it bears the title “Self Abuse,” you can imagine that the doctor’s view of masturbation is anything but objective.  To his credit, Lambert does point out that stereotypes of self abuse leading to blindness or madness are false.  Still, he clearly sees masturbation as a moral wrong that cannot be tolerated. His obsession is so deep, that he abhors the natural curiosity toddlers have with their genitals.

Still if you lack common sense and wish to follow Lambert’s advice for redirecting masturbatory urges, you’ll want to make sure and not to administer corporal punishment on a young person caught in the act.  This is because not only will corporation be unlikely to dissuade them, it may give them a perversion even worse than masturbation: enjoy pain during the sexual act.

All-in-all, this pamphlet provides much to laugh at given how much our values have changed since it was written.  It’s a fascinating read and a good insight to the bad advice that many baby boomers received when it came to sex.  I can’t imagine anyone today finding this book an accurate assessment of sexuality unless they were of a militant protestant persuasion.  If you have a friend who is uncomfortable discussing sex with their teenagers, I’m sure the doctor’s complete book would make a fine gift but only to remind them of their responsibility to their children and all the horrible advice their children might receive if they neglect that responsibility.