Sex Education Taken Out of the Hands of Chosson/Kallah Teachers or the Otherwise Inept

When a book titled The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy is published and its stated mission is to help break down the barriers around discussions of sex for frum married couples, or indeed open up the topic for discussion in the first place, I get hopeful that the sex (non) education I got will soon be a thing of the past.

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Mississippi Fred MacDowell over On the Main Line wrote a very nice and very detailed review of the Guide which is what got me to buy the book and since I can’t improve on his work, I’ll simply link to it here.

I read the book, it was a painfully boring read because it really is written for the newlywed who has no sexual experience and since I am not at that stage anymore I really had to slog through it. Throughout my reading though, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to be 21 years old, freshly married, finally having sex after having dreamed about it for ten years, having been taught close to nothing about female anatomy, not knowing what an orgasm is, having everything taught through euphemisms and then being thrown in with a real live female and told: Go forth and be fruitful and multiply.

The weighty responsibility of teaching me everything there is to know about married life; the halachos I need to observe and how to go about Doing It was shared by three people. The first was a young man who had memorized Shevet Halevi which automatically qualified him as a master of hilchos niddah. The second was a 60 year old yekki who took me down to his basement and pulled out a dog eared copy of a letter written by the Chazon Ish where he explained how to Do It with utmost tznius and sensitivity but didn’t actually illuminate me one whit.
Finally, during the kabolas ponim when one of my rabbeim asked me who gave me the Final Lesson and I told him about the old fellow with the letter he took it upon himself to teach me a little more. He told me all about the clitoris, and what I was to Do to It. He would have to be forgiven for pronouncing it more like clitouris since he at least was willing to talk unabashedly about it which is more than most rabbeim are willing to do. Owing to my fairly extensive Eminem education I knew how to pronounce the word correctly and owing to my brand new education from my rebbi I now knew what it was and what it was for. It’s great that during my kabolas ponim I got a reminder of that line “….and we expect them not to know what a woman’s clitoris is, of course they gonna know what intercourse is, by the time they hit fourth grade they got the Discovery Channel don’t they? etc. etc.” It brightened things up a bit.

All three of these masters together colluded to keep me in the dark about Alternate Intimacies as the Guide so delicately puts it. In the dark about the beautiful and shalom bayis enhancing role the vibrator plays in a healthy marriage. In the dark about communicating with my wife about sex, it was expected that we would just take cues from each other, do it, and get it over with. I was told to think about the avos during climax, (What a turn off, I wouldn’t want to think about the 60 year old, let alone a 4,500 year old!). It was hinted very strongly to us that if we did the woman-on-top position and she became pregnant with a boy, the boy would be very effeminate (possibly even, gasp! Gay!).
So when, after being married for awhile, we did finally start to experiment outside of the standard missionary position, my wife was so freaked out that she actually called a rabbi and a rebbetzin and over the years a few more rabbis and a few more rebbetzins to find out whether what we’re doing is allowed. One of the first rabbis she called, after hearing her question said that her husband must have watched porn if he has such ideas in his head. She repeated that to me and I’ve never let her live it down. Others have been vague and unsure, not really willing to answer directly but rather say things like: he has to enjoy himself, or as long as It doesn’t come out outside it’s fine. Which is a fine way to make a good Bais Yaakov girl feel guilty enough not to want to ask again.
To be sure; I wouldn’t have called the rabbis because I don’t think they should have an opinion in my bedroom but I’m very proud of my wife for calling since she obviously still needs their approval.

If a chosson or kallah is lucky enough to run across this book before they get tangled up with too many reticent rabbis and suspicions of each other for wanting more variety or frequency in their sex lives I think that they will gain tremendously. Not least because of the unapologetic way the book talks about sex and sexual organs.
Communication is key. They only paid lip service to that in chosson and kallah classes.

Note: Shragi will earn a commission from Amazon if the book is purchased after clicking on the above link. 
I have not been in contact with the authers of this book.
I am not a lawyer and I’ve never printed the fine print before.


3 responses to “Sex Education Taken Out of the Hands of Chosson/Kallah Teachers or the Otherwise Inept

  1. You're right, and after reading this meager volume I see that I have my homework cut out for me.I'll add them to my wish list and wait for someone to have rachmanus on me.

  2. Pingback: On The Orthodox Sex Guru – Frum Satire·

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