Fire in the Bedroom

JewishSexVideo (1)

Written by Leah.  Leah is a first-time Jewrotica writer.  [Please remember that the Jewrotica glossary is available as a reference for any unfamiliar phrases.]  Illustration by Elizabeth Simins.Rated PG

I was once at a Shabbos table with Lubavitch chassidim as well as yeshiva bachors. At the end of the meal, the head of the table invited us to play a game. He had pre-teared sheets of paper with questions from Lubavitche Rebbe in a glass bowl.

As we went around the table, each guest pulled a piece and responded. My turn came.  The question was: What is your most favorite mitzvah?

Without a single hesitation, I loudly blurted out “Pru U’rvu” (be fruitful and multiply) – aka having sex.

Yes! Sex is a mitzvah! And in the video above, sex therapist Dr. Jenni Skyler provides an intimate glimpse into Jewish sex and seduction. Dr. Skyler strongly believes that Jews have the key to great sex.  Our millenia-old laws and customs, such as Shabbat, the laws of Niddah/Mikvah, and the injunction to “be fruitful and multiply,” all encourage intimacy.

So: Does this mean that the Torah exemplifies what great sex should be? Does this mean that those who don’t keep traditional customs don’t have amazing sex? Or that keeping these customs is enough to make sex consistently hot? And where does this leave homosexual relationships? Or short-term relationships? Or relationships between couples who enjoy sex acts that are maybe a little….untraditional?

We want to know your thoughts!

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  • Anonymous Internet Commenter

    While I love seeing Jews (slash anyone) step up and own their sexuality, I am really hesitant/wary to paint any group with such broad, laudatory strokes. SOME Jews are good in bed, maybe because of their educations, maybe because they didn’t receive “anti-sex” messages, maybe because they personally are warm and uninhibited. And some Jews are terrible in bed because their sex education was negligible, they associate it with shame and not being “tznius,” or they personally are extremely inhibited. The same could be said of any ethnic or religious group, which makes the statement completely meaningless.

    Let’s not assume that because we lack a concept of “Original Sin,” everyone’s enjoying themselves. There’s plenty of shame and mis-education to go around in our community as a whole, and plenty of selfish/uptight/inhibited/apathetic Jews who internalized a sex-positive education, but didn’t apply it.

  • Heshy

    Oh, come on. Anyone who knows Orthodox Judaism knows that as much as the *religion* may “encourage intimacy” the community does nothing to support that or reinforce it. And once you reach the yeshivish side of things you are already in the territory where no oral sex is allowed, and sometimes even sex with the lights on is forbidden. (And before you start bashing, I grew up in this community and know it well.)

    • Heshy, I agree with you. What you describe is the culture that we have created or have participated in. But I’m still glad that – at least on paper in certain respects – Judaism is sex positive. Even if it seems more theoretical at times, it still gives us a “traditionally legitimate” starting point from which to remedy the cultural ills. So, it’s a baby step but even baby steps count. Just my take.

  • I illustrated this post despite disagreeing with it.

    For background: I grew up in a Reform Jewish household and currently identify as a secular Jew. I have cousins who are Hasidic and I grew up in a neighborhood that was predominantly Jewish, with a huge Orthodox population. I’m interested in Jewish sex culture, especially in very religious communities, so I’ve read a fair amount about it to educate myself.

    I’m pretty constantly perplexed by the “Judaism is a sex-positive paradise!” rhetoric that is spouted by Orthodox & Hasidic Jews who believe that it is a sin for men to masturbate. This is a community that, in its most extreme forms, shuns and shames elementary-school-aged secular girls for dressing “immodestly” and requires a (male) rabbi to examine a woman’s underwear for up to a week after her period is finished to make sure she isn’t still bleeding when she resumes sex with her husband.

    Yes, the most orthodox forms of Judaism do encourage a husband and a wife to have penetrative vaginal sex often, in order to have lots of children, but being receptive to one form/means of sexual pleasure & release is NOT the same as being a sex-positive environment. I think it’s harmful propaganda to say otherwise.

    • To clarify, though: I’m not saying that Jewrotica is perpetuating harmful propaganda. I really respect this site’s commitment to posting varied & diverse points of view. I just have a problem with pieces like this not tempering their unequivocal enthusiasm about something that is definitely not unequivocal.

  • If you are using Hasidic Jews as your example of the penultimate expression of authentic Judaism then yes, the notion of Judaism as being wholly sex-positive can be problematic. However, Hasidic Judaism grew out of the shtetls of Europe and it is my belief that after centuries of rubbing shoulders with Christians, some of those Christian values rubbed off on the Yidden. Thus it is my assertion that any notion in Judaism of sexuality as being innately shameful is one that is foreign and inauthentic. So there.

  • I’m with Elizabeth here. While I’m grateful that Jewish law’s attitude toward sex seems much more sex-positive than, say, Catholicism, that’s a pretty low bar. I think there are some pretty good ways to read halacha to get sex-positive messages, but I don’t see it happening except in most liberal frum communities.

    • Banana

      Agreed.. in most communities sex is not spoken of unless you are talking about having kids. My kallah teacher told me it’s holier to have sex in missionary position in the dark. As much as i think this could be fun on occasion, as a way of life it’s crazy! Sex isn’t fun done that way for the rest of your life. And don’t get me started on bjs. It’s because of this sheltering that you find frum hassids at T&A in monsey. gross.