Categorized | Jewish Religion

The joy of kosher sex

By Michael R. Mantell, PhD

Dr. Michael Mantell

Dr. Michael Mantell

SAN DIEGO — In the words of one sexually frustrated husband, “My wife doesn’t.  Understand me?”  For so many years, the jokes about Judaism and sex – together with Jewish illiteracy — have so misled generations, that too many of today’s young Jewish couples simply do not understand the true joy of kosher sex.

Kosher sex is sex which elevates a person, dignifies one’s partner and which is governed by a sense of dignity and by the significance of mankind.  Non-kosher sex, is sex which demeans a person and is done purely and exclusively for pursuing one’s own personal pleasure.

To paraphrase the words of one rabbi writing on the subject of kosher sex, “Treife sex leaves no trace.  Kosher sex leaves no separation or space.”  “Treife sex is undertaken by two separate bodies.  Kosher sex is undertaken by two halves of the same soul.”  “Treife sex consists entirely of motions. Kosher sex consists of motions that elicit lasting emotions.”

The Torah does not accept the view that man’s body and its physical functions are base, evil, or shameful in any way.  In Jewish tradition, relations are not sinful, no is the body considered evil.  Such notions are strictly non-Jewish in origin, and emanate primarily from pagan sources, which found their way into Christianity and from Christianity into general Western culture.

In the Torah’s view, all human pleasures have been created for our enjoyment when controlled by, and when subservient to, the laws, limitations and conditions set by the Torah.  Kosher sex is based on the belief that the limitations we impose on ourselves as prescribed in Jewish teachings, serve to ensure a lasting happiness, along with physical, mental and spiritual health and well being.  Sexual pleasure is positive, a vital impulse and a basic function essential to our survival and the well being of mankind.

In fact, the Medrash tells us, “Were it not for the sexual impulse, a man would not build a house, marry a wife, beget children, or conduct business affairs.”  The Torah tells us that sex is good and a central part of our lives – in the proper context.

To understand the psychological underpinnings of kosher sex, let’s look at the first time sex is described in the Torah.  The word “knowledge” is used to describe cohabitating.  “And Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain.”  The word to know as a euphemism for sexual relations suggests that such a relationship should be based on knowledge of each other, spirituality and a conscious purpose.  To act otherwise is to imitate animals in the street.   Moreover, if there is one thing we learn from Torah, we are to elevate and refine ourselves, to lift ourselves above the animals and lead lofty lives.  Kosher sex is a pathway to do just that.

Yet, today, so many men complain of their wives “who just lie there” and so many woman complain of men “who just want quickies” that it seems men and women are essentially sexually mismatched.  Recent research has found that almost 80% of women enjoy caressing and hugging and extended foreplay far more than sex itself, while 83% of men see foreplay as nothing but the prelude to sex.

Viagra, and the host of other drugs soon to be out, may likely transform sex into a drug-enhanced four-minute encounter, leaving the very idea of a long and slow evening of romance in the dust.  These drugs make orgasm the goal, rather than making oneself vulnerable to someone, to communicate with someone and to share oneself with someone.

The question arises, did G-d, who created us and sexual pleasure, make a huge biological mismatch between men and women?  Of course not!

Kosher sex is intended to go beyond our sole physical pleasure and to assist us in achieving unity and symmetry between man and woman.  The Jewish view is that sex contains within it the highest potential for spirituality, and the finest way for a couple to express holiness between each other.

With the rampant spread of sexual diseases, one can instantly understand the classical Jewish source that suggests that sexuality is like a mighty river.  If harnessed, it can bring irrigation and magnificent energy to countless communities.  If unharnessed and out of control, it can bring floods and massive destruction.

Kosher sex begins with the daily infusion of love between husband and wife.  That’s where foreplay begins – when you wake up in the morning.  All the kind things, the loving sentiments, the affectionate thoughts that are communicated outside of the bedroom drive kosher sex.  Compatibility, respect, love – communicated outside the bedroom, will leave these feelings inside the bedroom.

The Torah tells us that sex is the wife’s right and the husband’s duty.  The Torah actually obligates a man to pleasure his wife to the point where her pleasure is achieved before his. Kosher sex teaches husbands that for him to have sexual relations with his wife without affording her pleasure is an abuse.  His pleasure comes from feeling the ecstasy of his wife.  Ideally, each receives pleasure much more from the giving process than from intending to receive and neglecting to give.  This is a model for all of marriage.

Kosher sex consists of husbands who are not in a hurry, of partners who are able to wait for each other (and at the same time who do not keep each other waiting unnecessarily), and of partners who recognize that whether or not sexual relations are possible, it is always possible to transmit feelings of love, of affection and of caring.

Kosher sex also consists of the medium given to us, which maximizes the potential for harnessing the power of sex to achieve ultimate closeness – the Mikvah.  Something constantly available to us eventually loses its luster, according to the Talmud.  Therefore, couples who practice Mikvah, separating for approximately two weeks each month with no physical contact, then immersing in a Mikvah before resuming sexual relations, build in a monthly honeymoon.  This opportunity to feel like a bride and groom once again builds in freshness, excitement and prevents sexual boredom.

It also provides “spaces in a couple’s togetherness” giving each a chance to develop as individuals, thereby preventing the notion of ownership – “I am compelled to treat you as a whole person, not as an object for my desire.”  And what do couples do during the two weeks of non-sexual relations?  Here’s a novel idea…they communicate their feelings through talk!

Who says traditional Jewish women are second-class citizens?  Secular women whose husbands demand sex, get angry when they don’t get it, are insensitive and generally uncommunicative?

Kosher sex.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Dr Michael Mantell, based in San Diego, provides coaching to business leaders, athletes, individuals and families to reach breakthrough levels of success and significance in their professional and personal lives. Mantell may be contacted via [email protected]

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