Sex Manual for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Jewish Marriage“If you have never seen a movie or read a book, how are you supposed to know what you do?” asks David Ribner, an Orthodox sex therapist explaining the need for his new sex manual to BBC News:

Sex is a touchy subject – not least among Israel’s highly conservative ultra-Orthodox Jews. But a therapist in Jerusalem has written a sex guide aimed specifically at this community.

There used to be a sex shop on the way to Dr David Ribner’s office in central Jerusalem.

The sign is still there – with big red letters spelling out “Sex Shop, Sex, Love” – but you can barely read it because it’s been scratched out.

The shop went out of business. Now there’s just one sex shop left in Jerusalem. No surprise for a city brimming with the pious.

Things are quite different in Ribner’s discreet office. Here, there is a row of boxes packed with lubricants, vibrators and massage oils, and an unusual collection of books on the wall – The Joy of Sex and The Guide to Getting It On sit side by side with volumes of Jewish religious texts.

I tell Ribner I’ve never seen a bookshelf quite like it. “There probably aren’t any,” he says.

Ribner was born in the US. In New York, he received both rabbinic ordination and a doctorate in social work. Then he moved to Israel, where he has been counselling devout Jewish patients for the past 30 years. He also founded a sex therapy training programme at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv.

He says publication of a sex manual for Orthodox Jews was long overdue.

Ultra-Orthodox boys and girls are educated separately, and have little interaction with the opposite sex until their marriage night, when they are expected to consummate their union.

Physical touch with the opposite sex – even something like a handshake – is only permitted with one’s spouse and close family members. Access to films and the internet is often restricted…

[continues at BBC News]

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  • Hadrian999

    I heard this guy on NPR, kind of an interesting subject but I can’t imagine why anyone would tolerate living by so many rules

    • Jin The Ninja

      although i’m only a casual observer, i think within orthodoxy- the societal pressure is tremendous and forces people to assume roles they would not otherwise.

    • jnana

      there’s a certain satisfaction that borders on erotic pleasure, by being morally righteous. some people are addicted to it. not to mention the pleasure in breaking rules that are meant to be followed seriously. as well, the pleasure of fleshly experiences seem increased when done more rarely. of course, you wouldn’t know if you never experience

  • BuzzCoastin

    so in Israel sex is scandalous
    and genocide is socially acceptable?
    there’s a message in that

    • Hadrian999

      come on Buzz, genocide is socially acceptable everywhere

      • BuzzCoastin

        well… ya gotta point
        funny how prudish opinions about sex are almost universal
        but
        war and genocide are almost universally viewed as virtues

        • DrDavidKelly

          Kinda funny how watching someone have their brains blown out on TV is far more acceptable than watching two people ‘make love’. It’s a topsy turvy world!

          • BuzzCoastin

            this is a very deeply held human trait
            there is literary evidence of it in every culture
            Genghis Khan once prohibited a culture he conquered
            from continuing sexual customs most others found “immoral”
            including the mass murdering Genghis
            who had wives & concubines up the wazoo

          • DrDavidKelly

            That’s very interesting. And yet I’m confident if you took a survey you’d probably find most people would say killing somebody is a more immoral act than say felacio.

    • Daniel Gill

      Dr. Wilhelm Reich says “Told you so!”

      • BuzzCoastin

        yeah, this is right up his alley isn’t it?

        • Daniel Gill

          Indeed it is

  • geminihigh

    There is only one sex shop left in all Jerusalem? I had a Orthodox buddy who told me that their strip clubs over there are off the chain compared to the US. The girls were better looking, did some really nasty stuff, and that it was worth taking a trip to the Holy Land just to see it if I didn’t believe him. This guy wore a yamulke, rabbinical beard, fine suit jacket and pants, and usually had a blunt in his hand when he walked up to the ladies and said Shalom. I took his word for it

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