The book, entitled I Learn to Control Myself, isn’t necessarily about masturbation, per se. A synopsis says it’s about protecting children from sexually transmitted diseases. Loosely translated passages from the book are circulating online. One particularly uncomfortable portion reads, “I cross my legs around a bolster tightly. For fun, I move my body up and down. Oh… it feels good. My heart is pounding, but I am happy.”
According to the BBC, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) said the book could lead to “sexual deviance.” Some parents have taken to social media to warn against the messages in the book, telling other parents to beware of its messages. And many online stores have even stopped selling the book.
Publisher Tiga Serangkai stands by I Learn to Control Myself, though the company did admit to pulling it from circulation in December. Author Fita Chakra says the book is supposed be educational. “Our true intention is to educate children how to protect themselves from sexual abuse. If you read it through, there is a page about tips to parents, because this book is meant to be read with parents’ guidance,” Chakra said, according to the BBC.
While sex and masturbation may be taboo to discuss (even among adults), they happen to be normal parts of childhood development. Many toddlers masturbate to pacify themselves and by the time they’re age 5 or 6, they learn to use more discretion when doing it.