In 1999, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote Kosher Sex. Now, there’s glatt sex.
For what is believed to be the first time, from next month, Charedim will be able to buy a Hebrew-language sex guide written especially for them.
Published in Israel, The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy caters especially for strictly Orthodox standards, limiting itself to sexual acts that are permitted by Jewish law and even respecting the most modest of readers by making diagrams an optional extra — they arrive in an envelope at the back of the book which readers can choose to discard or open.
Using precise language and avoiding the euphemisms so common in Charedi society, it gives a crash course in the male and female anatomies and how to have sex.
“There is so much material available on sex, but for an audience that hasn’t read about it before, our challenge was to be clear and not to overwhelm,” said co-author David Ribner.
It is a year since Dr Ribner, sex therapist and Orthodox rabbi, and researcher Jennie Rosenfeld, released their book in English. Surprisingly, no Charedi leaders have tried to ban it.
“A number of rabbis have told me informally that they’re pleased with it and happy to recommend it,” he said.
However, it is unclear whether Hebrew-speaking rabbis, who tend to be stricter on modesty matters than their English-speaking counterparts, will be as welcoming. “The culture and norms in this country are very different to in the Anglo-Saxon world,” he admitted.
One setback in writing a sex guide for a community that does not publicly discuss sex is the impossibility of promoting your book.
Charedi rabbis ban accessing mainstream media, yet Charedi media will not cover the book’s release, review it, or place adverts. What is more, Orthodox bookstores refuse to stock it, meaning that the book is reliant on word of mouth for sales — which take place outside Charedi neighbourhoods.