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By Staff on June 14, 2013 [Australia Jewish News]
MARJORIE Solomon (pictured) began her session, “Between the Sheets: The Current Revolution in Jewish Erotic and Sexual Literature”, by turning off the lights. Although the intention was to help the audience see the projector, it created the perfect atmosphere for one of the most confronting topicsin the Jewish religion.
“People who are negiah [restriction of touching people of the opposite sex until marriage) often grow up in a sheltered environment and have no idea about the nuts and bolts of physical intimacy,” Solomon said. She said that as a result, several books and websites have been written, and established,to directly engage with religious people and help inform them about their own sexuality.
One such website is Jewrotica.org.
“That site is bringing the issues together in a mainstream way that is accessible for people with sensibilities by using a series of ratings on the site and there aren’t pictures that are too suggestive,” Solomon said. Jewrotica contains essays, education workshops and Torah commentary to provide a platform for Jewish sexual expression and to educate people about sexual health.The site
includes titles such as The Rabbi’s Wife, Sex with the Rabbi, which is a Q&A session with a
rabbi, and Jewish Porn and Beyond. Solomon said that most people probably don’t realise that in historical texts, Judaism discusses sexuality quite openly.
“Judaism and Jewish literature have been comfortable talking about sex for a very long time,but various cultural settings impacted on how Jewish communities view their own sexuality. This all started to change again, however, when Rabbi Shmuley Boteach released Kosher Sex in 1999, then we had 50 Shades of Grey, and more recently a great book, The Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy was
released by Jennie Rosenfeld and David Ribner.”
The most recent book teaches people about the nuts and bolts ofsexuality within a halachic framework, but doesn’t show any explicit images.