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Dr. Ruth Asks: What Is Sex For?

Dr. RuthThe old-time Jewish comics made it seem that Jewish women are more prone to having headaches than sex. The jokes may have been funny, but they became part of a folklore which isn’t based in Jewish roots.

The truth is that the Talmud instructs Jewish men to make sure that they satisfy their wives; I don’t believe you’ll find such instructions in any other religion.

ЗАЧЕМ does Judaism believe that intimacy should be pleasurable? What role do you think sex plays in our lives?

Rabbi Steinsaltz's View img fail

Judaism does not view sex as unclean, as a necessary humiliation for the purposes of increase. Judaism does not see sexuality only as an instrument for the propagation of the human race, a means of being fruitful and multiplying.

According to Jewish tradition, in the right context and when engaged with conscious purpose, sex is seen as a positive commandment because, in contrast to food and money, sexual pleasure is not connected with ownership. It is a pleasure derived from giving and being connected with another; it can become a most meaningful expression of love, charity and benevolence. It can become an expression of holiness.

  • Greg

    To me – Pleasure and Instructions don’t always go along. Most often they don’t.I do understand , though, ЗАЧЕМ Talmud would instruct men to satisfy their wives. Let’s not forget, that Talmud was completed long before the polygamy became illegal (for Ashkenazim in 11 century).
    So, this instruction should be seen in context of many wives. All the wives should be treated equally in all respects : food/clothes/sex.
    This meaning is forgotten in today’s reality – monogamy, where it reduced just to sex with a single wife.

  • Anonymous

    I found Rabbi Steinsaltz’s response beautiful and profound. However, the question remains of ЗАЧЕМ is sex (though being an expression of love, intimacy and holiness when in the right context) is so often such a powerful drive towards lust, materialism and unholiness.

    ЗАЧЕМ did G-d wish to make it so powerful? I can’t imagine Him being happy by the contexts in which sex is practiced nowadays and yet, it’s such a powerful force, that many people see no harm at all in having sex regardless of any love, true intimacy or holiness.

  • Greg

    I think the old-time comics did not invent this phenomena, they just said it loud what everybody knew. Learned Jewish man used to find pleasure in studying the Talmud, avoiding any other worldly activities including the most intimate ones.
    Jewish woman was left to do the mundane, not holy, work…
    So Talmud had to remind this learned man to give some pleasure to wives.
    Another aspect to the same instruction, as I mentioned in my first post, is related to polygamy. Husband could take joy in his younger wive(s), ignoring the first one(s). This could lead to big problems in family. So, the instruction is trying to prevent possible problems.

    There is no contradiction between joke and Talmudic instruction.
    The instruction is a logical answer to reality.


  • Paul Erney

    I like the Rabbi’s answer. I don’t agree with the Puritans or Methodist at all. I’m confused О НАС Mormons (being one). I’m not ready for polygamy. In my life I felt the most holiness taking care of my terminally ill wife (many people in the same situation have had the same experience – I felt surrounded by God 20 feet in all directions all day long). I still have more to learn

  • Axel Jansen

    God created marriage for the purpose that two would become one and produce a godly seed. It is an allegory of God as an husband and His people as his wife. He desires his “wife” to become one with Him and so producing a new mindset the spiritual seed of our minds. It is for this reason that He created the sexual drive in us so powerfull to expressed the strong desire of Him to make man in His own image and in His likeness.

  • Nipawa

    There is nothing mundane and not holy in a the Jewish women work!! But the fact that you use the sentence “jewish women was left to do….”
    is revealing the way the Jewish tradition basically consider the women.

  • Yaacov

    There is a general principle found in the Torah based on the verse, “He tells His words to Jacob and His statutes to Israel.” Namely, that G-d keeps the commandments of the Torah just as we do. The macrocosmic view is G-ds perspective and the microcosmic view is our perspective.
    Sexual union between husband and wife is described in in the book Reishit Chochma as the manifestation of G-d’s unity in the physical world. This concept is also expressed in the Talmud when it mentions the idea that G-d’s presence is revealed when husband and wife are together in the marriage bed. In fact, the kabbalistic meditations relating to the recital of the Shema connect this thought to the words, “Hear Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one.” The recital of the word “one” corresponds with the moment of complete physical union.
    It is mentioned in many places that when reaching the recital of the word “one” in the Shema while praying, a person should have the intention of ‘mesirat nefesh’ which is commonly translated as giving up ones life to G-d. A better translation would be ‘dedicating ones life’. In the context of husband and wife, at that moment of physical union in the marriage bed, one completely dedicates their life to the other. The result of this dedication and union is new life. This is in keeping with the teaching G-d gave us through Moses, our teacher when he said, “I set before you this day life and good and death and the opposite of good in order that you choose life and good.”
    In the code of Jewish law known as the Shulchan Aruch it refers to the husbands obligation of providing sexual satisfaction to his wife as “ohnatah”, which means literally “her time.” Interestingly, the Talmud uses this same expression “ohnatah” when discussing the obligation to recite the Shema and to pray. In fact it emphasizes that paying heed to this time is more important than learning Torah. This is in keeping with the adage that “the deed is the main thing.”
    Jewish law emphasizes that physical relations with ones wife should only be when and how she desires, in the way that she considers to be good. Even before physical КОНТАКТЫ, a husband must soothe his wife with words and act according to her will and desire and not have the intention of benefiting himself. This is in keeping with the kabbalistic teaching that G-d created the universe because He desired to bestow good and to be “known”, as in “Adam knew his wife.”
    All these laws discussed here which G-d gave us are in order that the wife will desire her husband. It also emphasizes that a husband is not permitted to be with his wife if he hates her or if he intends to divorce her or if he is fantasizing that he is being with someone else. Additionally, neither husband nor wife may be intoxicated. They must be together in a way of mutual, informed consent. It also mentions that physical relations should be done at home, not in the marketplace or when traveling on the road.
    And so we see that relations between husband and wife are actually a siman, a sign of the final redemption when G-d will return to be with his bride, the Jewish people, in their home, the third Temple on Har HaBayit in Jerusalem in the land of Israel.
    May it be G-ds will that this be fulfilled this year in a way of open and revealed good.

  • JR

    Sex makes us fully aware of another person and ourselves. Together we forget the stress of the day and the rest of the world and find something precious. It makes us know we are unique because we find the uniqueness in our partner.

  • JR

    you need a kick boxing class. knowing you could hurt the men КТО piss you off makes you feel much better

  • Eric Swim

    Desire (or havah, in Hebrew) IS powerful. It can be used constructively for “good” or destructively for “evil” — the yetzer tov or yetzer hara — the good urge or evil urge. The problem with modernity is that humanity, by and large, rejects the Torah operating system. They would rather act as animals and live in the world of the flesh instead of elevating themselves via the holiness of Torah and living in the world of the spirit. Kabbalistically, HaShem created all things via a “sexual” act — creating the Void (womb) and inseminating the Void with the Light (sperm), the egg would have been a part of Himself that was left in the Void. So, if we abuse creative “desire” for our own selfish pleasure, we pervert it and desecrate it. HaShem wants “union” with us — but, before that can happen, we have to give and be connected to another — to be in “union” with our other self, but not our own likeness. Yaacov summed it up nicely as well as Rabbi Steinsaltz.

  • Eli

    All I can say is that G-D didn’t create sex so that we should talk О НАС it in public.
    “Modesty” means that one refrains from revealing things that should remain covered up, In fact the Cherubim in the Temple according to some opinions are said to have been like a couple during intimate relations and yet when that was revealed to the public during the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash it is mentioned in the Talmud as being disgusting because it’s beauty is it’s discretion. The Pasuk says that when Hashem see’s “Ervas dovor” – an act of abomination he turns away from us, we are therefore commanded to act with “Tzeniyut – Modesty” this includes the way we dress, talk, conduct with others in every part of life, in fact the Torah tells us exactly how to behave even during sexual relation. I therefore conclude that bringing up the meaning of sex in such a public way is most certainly the exact opposite of what Hashem intended during creation and this is no more than a way of fulfilling ones physical (and sexual) desire in a terribly wrong and perverted way, fitting for today’s western free culture not for precious Jewish Neshamos.

  • Sharon

    Eli, that’s an interesting perspective that I КТОleheartedly disagree with. There is nothing immodest О НАС having the discussion, particularly if the discussion is О НАС trying to learn from Judaism’s teachings (past AND present) О НАС the best way to be full, spiritual people in the world.

    As soon as we shut down discussion as an option – making working through the important questions as a community not possible – we have turned away from what is beautiful О НАС Judaism, including the admonition to argue with God and each other in search of Truth.

    Neither the Talmud nor the Torah, (nor, I believe, Hashem) demands that we shut off our brains in such a way. In fact, all three would find that demand in itself unholy.

  • Ger

    Sex is defin

  • Janis

    Doesn’t the tone and tenor of the public discussion of sex have an effect on whether or not it is immodest? After all, if I am listening to a doctor or a specialist explain a point that will help me enjoy relations with my husband, is that not completely different from listening to two DJ’s babble on О НАС oral sex in the back of a car? I submit that the intention behind the conversation determines whether it is governed by Tzniyut or not.

  • Melek

    Wonderfull!!! I, being a non Jew, have thought along these lines for many years, though many of my fellows have fround at the idea. Bravo, I could not have said it better myself.

  • http://www.boldbiblicalscholarship.com Tom

    Being a street corner preacher, I am to the point. The Torah seems to be plain. When a man & woman join together they become one flesh. This is the act of marriage. The Torah also indicates this can’t be easily undone except with a few extreme exceptions. The Torah also indicates that a child becomes and adult when they turn 20. Adam & Eve were adults when they were created by L-rd G-d Almighty, breathing the breath of life into Adam, Eve having the life in her being taken out of Adam. L-rd M-ss-h commands all adults to have faith in him, to be immersed in water as a public declaration of faith & intent to serve L-rd G-d Almighty. Having been this for nearly 20 years, what an exciting ride. Try it.

  • Eli

    Sharon, I КТОleheartedly agre with your perspective that “Neither the Talmud nor the Torah, demands that we shut off our brains in such a way”. Of course no one mentioned shutting off our brains, all I tried to explain was that there is an approach to everything. And in my opinion the approach to understanding sex is not through an internet forum but rather sitting in a one to one, or if you wish even in a public class dedicated to the topic given by someone you can respect and be sure that will give over the true intentions that G-D wanted us to understand.
    Of course I agree that being ignorrant is the opposite of holiness, however the Torah teaches us how to behave in a modest way without being SHUT OFF!
    Hope I’m better understood this time

  • Micha

    Tom, buddy, what in the bloody hell are you talking О НАС?!
    This is a discussion О НАС what part intimacy and sexuality play within Jewish life and Jewish tradition. As well, it is a discussion О НАС whether or not this public forum is an appropriate setting for such a discussion. While i congratulate you on being a man of faith, and really jazzed О НАС it to boot, your religious fervor is entirely irrelevant.
    Also, it has to be said, this is a discussion О НАС JUDAISM. You seem to have confused it with Christianity.

  • Micha

    Tom, buddy, what in the bloody hell are you talking О НАС?!
    This is a discussion О НАС what part intimacy and sexuality play within Jewish life and Jewish tradition. As well, it is a discussion О НАС whether or not this public forum is an appropriate setting for such a discussion. While i congratulate you on being a man of faith, and really jazzed О НАС it to boot, your religious fervor is entirely irrelevant.
    Also, it has to be said, this is a discussion О НАС JUDAISM. You seem to have confused it with Christianity.

  • Micha

    Tom, buddy, what in the bloody hell are you talking О НАС?!
    This is a discussion О НАС what part intimacy and sexuality play within Jewish life and Jewish tradition. As well, it is a discussion О НАС whether or not this public forum is an appropriate setting for such a discussion. While i congratulate you on being a man of faith, and really jazzed О НАС it to boot, your religious fervor is entirely irrelevant.
    Also, it has to be said, this is a discussion О НАС JUDAISM. You seem to have confused it with Christianity.

  • unanomous

    ultimate demonstration of unconditional love between married man and woman

  • Rudi

    As all the women in my life have repeated sex is for having children and men have no “right” to sex, with themselves or other men or women.

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  • HamiltonGRAD

    You are being used. Very sad.

  • http://www.leafmulchlady.com/ mintrose

    from what i know О НАС Dr. Ruth, she has never been discrete or tzniusdik in her approach to physical relations, regardless if they are marital or not. in addition, i believe she has even discussed forbidden acts and, like the modern day society, has viewed even things considered by the Torah as perversions as legitimate and appropriate for ‘consenting adults’ …. obviously, her views are completely not according to halacha. while it is not forbidden for someone such as a rav or other well versed in Torah to publicly reveal the laws and conduct regarding physical relationships, the views of someone КТО is obviously not observant shouldn’t be considered …

  • June Goldsobel

    I am in total agreement with the views of Eli and mintrose. And in answer to Sharon; you say the best way to be full spiritual people in the world is, apparently, for you to be in on discussions О НАС Judaisim’s teachings – no matter to you what the subject. You are not going to learn О НАС Judaism in any depth in such a forum as this. What you will get, and which is patently obvious, are other peoples viewpoints (such as your own) which is definitely NOT Judaism’s. Perhaps it might be helpful if you found a Torah class to go to. You most certainly would find answers there then perhaps you could contribute to the discussion on other topics. This particular topic – and in such a public forum – would be considered immodest (untznius) for a woman to get involved in. Also, personally, I feel uneasy О НАС Christians (perhaps missionaries) sending up Jesus when getting their point across. I feel J’s name should not even have a mention here. Is this a Jewish forum or what?

  • anonymous

    This discussion has ranged over Talmud, Law, and many mostly male points of view. To get back to simple and basic: my own being is my constant and personal testimony to God’s creation. Within my being is a sexual drive that gives me both my most intense sensation of pleasure and a powerful enhancement to my most intimate relationship, that is, when used with awe it is a source of profound joy and love that increases my gratitude to God and my sense of being God’s creation. Anthing written in a book comes to me as a secondary perspective to that basic fact. When tuned into the joy and Godliness of simply living and purely loving, I don’t need your analyses and macho pseudo-intellectual reports of what “God really wants” which are really schoolboy recitations of someone else’s words.

  • Trudystorace

    I think that when a man and a woman have sex it is a way of knowing God. That is ЗАЧЕМ a new being can be created at this time.
    This is true of all living things. A newborn anything is proof of God’s existence. When Life ceases to renew, to rebirth, then God will be dead, the universe will be dead and there will be nothing but a black hole.
    So, beware, you with your nuclear bombs, don’t bomb yourself and all of us into a black hole!

  • Stitches137811

    I think that knowing one in that way should require a deep LOVE for that person, and if such deep LOVE does not exsist with these people they should not partisapate in said activites less they take good away from it.

  • Stitches137811

    I think that knowing one in that way should require a deep LOVE for that person, and if such deep LOVE does not exsist with these people they should not partisapate in said activites less they take good away from it.

  • Br7mrg

    Sex is a release and anyone КТО does not need that release, needs a psychiatrist. That is what my psychiatrist told me. I have also heard that in dealing other’s problems on a regular basis, even though they may get paid for it, even psychiatrists need psychiatric counseling at times, which is understandable.

  • Jimmie

    To answer the question “What is Sex for”, we first have to decide from what STANDPOINT we are going to approach the problem. Some of the answers in this section emphasize the experience of sex and its meaning from the standpoint of individuals, a kind of existentialist view. To this end, some attention has been given to the unique and troublesome experience of women КТО view much of the discourse as being male dominated and therefore irrelevant to their lives. Other aspects of the discussion here focus on the meaning of sex within the broader context of the transcendent aspect of G-d as it relates to His immanence, particularly as this issue is concerned with the echad between Hashem and His Bride, Israel. Finally, much of the discourse here is concerned with a discussion on whether it is even appropriate to discuss this type of topic in public–While this latter discussion has merit, the profound and extensive degree to which the Talmud discusses the most intimate and private aspects of sex in an extended discourse that spans many generations IN A PUBLIC FORUM of sorts, would seem to render the debate MOOT.

    It should be clear for Torah conscious people that any consideration of this question that does not take into account the PESHAT level of
    understanding–being careful NOT to disconnect the other levels of interpretation from it, for example the Sod/Kabbalah–is not really valid, unless of course we discount Hashem’s view altogether.

    What does a Peshat understanding of Torah teach us О НАС this question? To grasp the answer, it is easier to step back from SEX itself and consider the question of: WHAT EXACTLY IS A HUMAN BEING from the Torah standpoint? Bereishit makes clear that the HUMAN BEING as an entity includes both male and female. The Torah teaches that the Human Being is the UNION between the Male and the Female, and that this union entails MORE than mere sex for the purpose of reproduction or even as a route to physical or spiritually ecstasy. It entails an abiding purposeful relationship that is the foundation for individual, family, community, and human civilization as a КТОle, as well as the care of planet earth in partnership with Hashem with a special focus upon Israel as the center of this WORK. From this standpoint, SEX is the physical manifestation and SIGN of this union, the fulfillment of Hashem’s BLESSING upon the Human Being by which this very special CREATED KIND would be sustained upon the Earth, as we have indicated, in partnership with Hashem. It important to remember that Hashem as Creator was NOT created. He is ETERNAL and NON-PHYSICAL. Male, Female, and even Sex ARE created. So great care should be exercised in an attempt to make connections using the principle of ECHAD even to the relationship between Him, mankind, or Israel. We have the Christian errors as an example of what can happen if due care is not exercised in this case.

  • Nanachman

    Touching Before Marriage

    The Superglue Touch

    Imagine yourself at a checkout counter. You have never liked shopping at this store because of its less-than-wonderful service. Today is no exception you have been waiting to pay for what seems like an eternity. Finally your turn comes. You hand the slow-moving cashier your money. Usually you have to pick up your change off the counter, but today the cashier places it in your hand, and for a brief moment you feel the warmth of his or her hand on yours. Outside, afterward, you sense something strange. For some reason, you’re feeling more warmly toward this store than before.

    Another scene: You have just finished dining at a restaurant. The service is exceedingly slow. Your waiter, David, finally brings the bill. Hope you enjoyed your meal, he says with a smile and a parting pat on the shoulder. Watching him return to the kitchen, you suddenly feel a surge of generosity and leave a far bigger tip than you had intended. On your way out, you comment to the manager О НАС how little waiters earn for working so hard. “It all depends,” he replies. “Take this new guy, Dave. We don’t know how he does it, but he pulls in at least thirty percent more in tips than anyone else.”

    In each of the above incidents, both based on true stories, you have fallen prey to one of the most subtle yet powerful forces in human relations: touch.

    Notice, incidentally, that in neither case was the touch sensual or even affectionate. Still, it had an undeniable effect, opening up new feelings of warmth and receptivity. Even when not fueled by desire, touch can leave people feeling distinctly warmer and more connected to each other. Touch works like SuperGlue: take two people КТО aren’t opposed to connecting to each other, and touch will make them feel closer. And, like SuperGlue, it must be handled very carefully, or it will end up sticking things together that would be better off not stuck.

    Touching another person (in Hebrew, negiah), as casually as its regarded in many circles, is far more powerful than most of us appreciate. Traditional Judaism, always an astute observer of the human scene, stipulates that men and women КТО are not close relatives should exercise extreme caution and sensitivity in expressing affection for one another through touch. In short, Judaism says, Unless you’re close relatives or married to each other, don’t.

    Understandably, this strikes some people as extreme. But the truth is that for anyone КТО’s serious О НАС getting the most out of a relationship—and avoiding the pain of failed ones—being shomer negiah (literally guarding or saving touch for the right person) makes eminent sense. Here’s ЗАЧЕМ.

    Touch is a powerful force in making people feel closer. And, like any force, it can be harnessed constructively or destructively. Touch can be used to comfort—or to manipulate. It can foster group friendship—or cult-like attachment. Touch can increase intimacy between two people КТО truly love each other. But it can also create illusory feelings of intimacy and make you feel close to a person even when you are not really so close after all, creating many serious problems.

    The first problem is with objectivity. Touch is powerful enough to blur reality to the point where it seems that the closeness you feel is real. Once this happens, that all-too-familiar rose-colored cloud descends, enveloping everything in warm and glowing feelings of intimacy. At this point, you can kiss much of your perspective on your partner and the relationship goodbye. Valuable time and emotions can be wasted on the wrong person, because you never developed an objective view of КТО your partner really is. Many marriages fail quickly because the match was wrong to begin with, but the couple had become too enraptured with each other to notice it. You certainly wouldn’t choose a business partner with blinders on, so ЗАЧЕМ be less careful when it comes to a serious relationship?

    Most people ultimately want one lifelong partner with КТОm they can feel, as much and as deeply as possible, the positive uniqueness and singularity that is called specialness. Physical intimacy, with all the feelings it engenders, is central to a successful marriage, and Judaism wants it to be special. By limiting this intimacy to your true partner, it becomes even more so. Each time you are physically involved with someone prior to your husband or wife, your sensitivity is dulled. While time brings О НАС some resensitization, this most precious, intimate, and personal part of you has been shared with others before, and it can no longer be as special.

    With each relationship before marriage, you open the door wider to innumerable comparisons between your future spouse and a past boyfriend or girlfriend. Since it is nearly impossible that your spouse will measure up in all areas—and since human beings have a strong tendency to focus on what they don’t have at any given time—such comparisons cant do you or your relationship any good.

    A friend of mine was teaching О НАС this concept when a man (КТОse wife I assume was not present) volunteered the following delightful comment: “I know what you mean. I’ve been married for two years and I really love my wife, but even in our most intimate moments, I can’t help thinking of my previous girlfriend.” Memories of previous relationships have an uncanny way of surfacing when you least want them to, even years after they occur.

    Human relationships are central to our lives. When you succeed in a relationship, your positive feelings О НАС life are strengthened. But every time you get hit over the head emotionally, feelings of negativity and futility develop. With each breakup, you pay a price your optimism and ability to trust are diminished. Time does heal, but scars remain. Your natural defense mechanisms have closed up parts of you that may be difficult to reopen, and the subconscious guards and blocks you’ve developed can profoundly interfere with the quality and depth of your future lifelong relationship. The best way to avoid getting hurt is to avoid getting physical before it is safe to do so. The most intimate, personal part of you is thus kept КТОle. Reserving physical closeness for the security of a permanent relationship helps safeguard your happiness—and your future.

    We’ve seen how saving touch for the right person avoids many pitfalls in relationships. Its main advantage, though, is not what it avoids but what it offers. Two people truly become one by first bringing down the walls, not between their bodies, but between their minds and hearts. This requires a lot of intellectual and emotional sharing in other words, talking. However, you’re less likely to invest hours of your relationship in deep conversation, hoping to feel close, when, at the back of your mind, you know there’s a foolproof shortcut: getting physical.

    Judaism says: Stop. Wait. Before you let the physical side enter, develop a relationship that stands on its own two feet—a true soul-to-soul connection. Once that relationship is truly solid—after marriage—the physical side will be a beautiful and powerful expression of what you have. There’s a big difference between letting sexuality determine an illusory connection and letting it express a real one. Before you give someone the opportunity to appreciate your body, let him or her have the chance to appreciate you for КТО you truly are. That’s the kind of bond that lasts.

    By this point in the discussion, most people I discuss shomer negiah with can see its benefits. Yet they often point to what they see as the down sides. Lets briefly look at the most common questions that arise.

    The idea makes sense passing up on physicality now in order to enhance it later. But what О НАС experience? After all, how else can a person become broad-minded and worldly?

    Obviously, to live is to experience. Yet Judaism urges that experiencing not take place indiscriminately and for its own sake. Most intelligent women don’t try being a prostitute just to see what it is like, because we realize that any experience must be sized up for its individual advantages and disadvantages. Experiencing should be a means to an important end: becoming a better and happier person. Some experiences, like the ones in question, simply won’t take you where you want to go.

    Maybe it won’t work on a physical level, and you’ll be stuck in a passionless, boring relationship.

    People used to fall in love and get married without checking out compatibility. They had happy, long-lasting marriages this way. It can still work for us.

    Maybe they were sexually bored their КТОle lives and didn’t divorce because of the social stigma attached to divorce at that time.

    What you’re really asking is, How can you know if the sex will be good without trying it out first? This КТОle question rests on a faulty premise. Modern society has made a fatal error in relating to the body independently of the spirit that animates it. This body-soul division has led to sexuality being viewed as a kind of physical skill divorced from the spirit, like tennis. And, after all, would you commit to being someone’s lifelong tennis partner if you’ve never once played with him or her?

    The crucial mistake in this approach lies in the very comparison. Sexuality is neither a sport nor a skill—it is a deep and wonderful expression of feelings. People are КТОle human beings—the body and soul are interconnected and cannot so coldly be separated from each other. I’d say that the emotional connection counts for at least ninety percent of the pleasure and satisfaction you’ll experience in your physical relationship. Even if not there initially, the ten percent of technique (the how-to’s) can be quickly learned, much like you can tell a close friend where and how hard to scratch your back when it itches. But no matter how good the physical side is, you can’t change the person’s personality to become someone you mistakenly thought they already were. In essence, when you have a healthy attitude toward sexual expression, love each other, are committed to each other, and want to bring each other pleasure, you have nothing to worry О НАС.

    People have to live in the real world. We grow from failures and mistakes- they are part of growing up. ЗАЧЕМ live in a bubble?

    Failures can be powerful learning experiences. But life deals us enough challenges to deal with and mistakes to grow from that we don’t need to go looking for more. Considering the toll they take on a persons psyche and the unfortunate memories and comparisons that will harm the ultimate relationship that everyone wants, much of this pain is simply not worth it.

    Judaism encourages us to set up a solid foundation for the ultimate relationship each of us wants to develop. It is crucial to maintain your objectivity, avoid emotional scarring, and build a genuine spiritual bond with your partner. Refraining from getting physical accomplishes this. It helps you find the right person and leaves you КТОle and able to create a deep, trusting, and loving relationship that will last a lifetime. It creates the space for something real to develop and for you to recognize and appreciate the real person you are with.

    AUTHORS NOTE: You may admire the beauty behind the idea of being shomer negiah but feel that (a) it is too late—you’ve been physical with others before, and (b) you’re not ready for such a major life change. You may then conclude that the concept has little to do with you. Don’t. Any step in this direction offers tremendous benefits, whether more objectivity, more sensitization, or just the confidence to make changes that will serve your higher interests in the end.

    Published by: Targum Press, Inc.

  • Nanachman

    Harnessing the power of Sex

    Sometimes, people believe they are getting real pleasure—but they get cheated. For example, sex is a real pleasure, but pornography is counterfeit. It only stimulates lust, and you end up depressed instead of energized. It may seem exciting at first, but excitement and energy are not the same and should not be confused.

    The most widely sold counterfeit pleasure in the Western world is decadence. Here’s ЗАЧЕМ it is counterfeit:

    When asked what is the opposite of pain, most people will say pleasure. But the absence of pain doesn’t automatically equal pleasure!

    The opposite of pain is not pleasure; the opposite of pain is comfort. Many people think the ultimate pleasure is a vacation in Hawaii—sacking out on a waterbed, a cool breeze wafting through the window, a tall drink, every muscle in your body relaxed. But don’t let yourself fall asleep—because then you’ll miss the КТОle thing!

    Sleep and comfort is painless. But that is not the goal of living!

    In reality, pain is the price you pay for pleasure. If you want to graduate college and get a good job, you have to study hard. If you want to become an Olympic gold-medal champion, you have to experience the pain of sore muscles. You are not going to get there on a beach in Hawaii.

    Equating comfort with pleasure is counterfeit. Real pleasure comes only as a result of effort.

    To succeed in the pursuit of pleasure, you have to focus on the pleasure and not on the effort.

    Imagine a team of basketball players, running around the court, pushing themselves to the limit. Do they notice the pain they’re feeling? Barely. The pleasure of playing overwhelms any other feeling.

    Now what if you asked them to conduct the following experiment:

    “Play basketball normally – run, jump, shoot, and defend. But this time do it without the ball!”

    How long do you think they could play for? Maybe five minutes? Without the ball, there is nothing to distract them from the effort. Every step now seems painful.

    Give them back the ball, and they’ll play for another two hours!

    In life, keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the goal—and turn every effort into a pleasure.

    We think that pleasure should come automatically. But it’s not so simple. Just like you can’t fully enjoy music without taking a course in music appreciation, so too you have to learn all О НАС pleasures.

    It’s like wine tasting. Wine is far more than a liquid that wets your mouth and gets you tipsy. If you want to be a connoisseur, first you have to examine the cork. Then you test the color of the wine. Then you swish it around the glass. (That’s called “checking the legs.”) Then you smell the bouquet. Only then do you taste the wine, savoring it slowly, letting the taste and texture permeate all the different taste zones of your mouth.

    Our world is rich with bounty and treasures. Sights and smells. Relationships and energies. Potential and achievement. If we wouldn’t guzzle vintage wine, then shouldn’t we accord the same respect to life itself?

    In summary, remember the three criteria that apply to all classes of pleasure:

    * There is no exchange rate between the various levels of pleasure.
    * Watch out for counterfeit pleasures.
    * For every pleasure, the price tag is effort.

  • Mendy162

    The Talmud requires men to “satisfy” their wives’ sexual needs on a regular basis.

    I have always had a sneaking suspicion that chazal snuck this rule into Jewish law not for the benefit of wives, but for husbands to be able to point to it and say, “Look, chazal says you’re SUPPOSED to want this.”

  • Zev

    I found this video and the comments by Reb Zalman to be very illuminating…

    SEXUALITY & HOLINESS: Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SO0VRZwHq8

    “…when people learn to give each other pleasure in the sight of G-d, it’s so wonderful…I would like for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to have the holiest thing happen for them in sex so they could replenish each other with energy and with love and accept each other…”

  • poteaux

    I was really suprised to see Dr. Ruth as the poster child for this question. Someone that I considered quiet brash while growing up. Maybe the “Howard Stern” of her time.
    But I guess one persons sexual confidence is anothers indiscretion.

  • Edna_sweetlove

    I have always found Jewish men to be useless in bed.

  • moda

    sex is a tender expression of love to be shared in experience. it can be delicate and slow, deliberate and kind. sex is a great gift of the Creator for our benefit, the delicious orgasm in the pulse of life, by which we share in creation of the new

  • Poteaux

    Perhaps sex is for family, perhaps family is what ONE desires. Thanks a bunch.

  • Poteaux

    Sex is emotional, without emotions there would be no surrender and that would be catastrophic.

  • Poteaux

    Perhaps the Talmud should be understood as that men should surrender to their wives? Surrender to a greater intuition?

  • Poteaux

    Intimacy should be pleasurable because it is a gift from the ONE КТО will receive his desire which is family. Thanks.

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