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Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy Hardcover – March 9, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (March 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494656
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kosher Sex is based on the idea that sex is holy. Written by Shmuley Boteach, a Hasidic rabbi, the book occupies the interesting juncture between sex and religion. Using traditional Jewish thought, Boteach attempts to remove sexual taboos and explain the power and place of sex within a marriage. While Boteach uses the Talmud and the Old Testament as the basis for his approach, his treatise is by no means just for Jewish people. His ideas are universal as he attempts to show how married couples can keep the love in their relationships alive. Kosher sex--"passionate lovemaking that leads to intimacy"--is applicable to all, despite the Jewish terminology.

Peppering explanations with plenty of examples, Kosher Sex is immensely readable. It defines couples as one of two types: the best friends and the passionate lovers. Best friends frequently lack a spark in their relationship, while passionate lovers often have tumultuous marriages, without the intimacy of friendship. Boteach attempts to harmonize the two types into a successful relationship.

Some of Boteach's ideas may strike a liberal reader as overly conservative--his thoughts are directed at married couples, as he firmly believes sex has no place outside of this committed bond. Furthermore, his beliefs on such issues as the place of masturbation and pornography in marriage, whether or not sex should be used to settle arguments, and if the lights should be on or off while making love may make Dan Savage or Susie Bright fans cringe. His ideas for singles attempting to find the right partner seem somewhat outdated. Yet, for those who hold traditional views, this book may seem a daring and helpful foray into a topic that is not openly discussed. He makes interesting and valid arguments for all of his points, whether or not you agree with him. In a time when the divorce rate continues to soar, perhaps Rabbi Boteach isn't so off the mark. --Jenny Brown

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its title's implication, Kosher Sex is not a prudish book. Rather, this manifesto on using sex as a marital aid takes the view that sex is not to be suppressed in the name of piety but directed toward a more fulfilling, emotionally intimate relationship. A Hasidic rabbi who counsels religious and secular alike in matters of the bedroom, Boteach (The Jewish Guide to Adultery) draws less on mystical and Orthodox teachings and more on personal anecdotes to support his wholesome ideals. The sexual revolution, he argues, has demystified sex and numbed us to its power, with disastrous results. To avoid becoming a statistic, Boteach advises couples to seek kosher sex, not great sex. The difference? The latter "consists entirely of motions," while the former seeks to "elicit lasting emotions." Boteach also takes to task those who assert that a large number of partners prepares one for a long-term relationship, and argues for young marriages, before couples become fully formed adults. For all its quaintness, Boteach possesses the power to surprise as much as he does to preach. He cites Mae West, advocates experimenting with different positions and supports sex toys so long "as they cause us to be more focused on our spouse." Sure to set off firecrackers in traditional Jewish circles for his frankness (as he has already begun to do), Boteach has crafted a provocative, if reductive, book.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is one of the world's leading relationship experts and spiritual authorities. His twenty-one books have been bestsellers in seventeen languages, and his award winning syndicated column is read by a global audience of millions. He is the host of TLC's award-winning Shalom in the Home and was Oprah Winfrey's love, marriage, and parenting expert on Oprah and Friends. He served for eleven years as rabbi at Oxford University, where he built the Oxford L'Chaim Society into the University's second largest student organization. Today, Newsweek calls him the most famous rabbi in America. The winner of the highly prestigious London Times Preacher of the Year award, Rabbi Shmuley is also the recipient of the National Fatherhood Award and the American Jewish Press Association's Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Debbie, and their nine children.

Customer Reviews

I found it a thoroughly useful and fascinating book.
Grass Tiger
I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a meaningful relationship.
Yermi
He celebrates love and sex in the context of marriage and elevates the bonds between men and women.
TamarDC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Grass Tiger on May 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Note: This is not a book about the actual techniques of sex, but deals with your most powerful sexual organ - your mind.....as he quotes Ann Aldrich, "If the psyche is unwilling, no amount of technique can persuade it; and if the psyche is willing, no lack of technique can dissuade it."

This book is about more than Sex, it is about relationships - married and single - religious or not. I am so glad that I did not let the things that I disagree about with Shmuley Boteach to keep me from reading this book. He is a Chasidic Rabbi (Chasidic is Orthodox, but what some incorrectly call "Ultra Orthodox"), though he doesn't really sound like what one might expect (if you are worried about that). Both my husband and I read it and I can't believe what a change it has caused in our lives! We are observant Jews and so we keep the Jewish laws pertaining to family purity which are very rewarding, but this book added insight that was very useful for us. My husband has become more expressive of his affections, we've grown closer together and even our lovemaking is more intimate and enjoyable than ever.

This book isn't only for Jews, but is extremely accessible and candid - and never offensive. He doesn't get into intimate details of the bedroom that one might be embarrassed by. His ideas are very well reasoned and come across as very thoughtful. I found it a thoroughly useful and fascinating book. Most chapters are around 5 pages long. Some shorter, some longer, but they get right to the point and don't go on and on. My attention was sustained throughout. I read a lot of books and am rarely really impressed (especially by books on sex and marriage) and don't recommend books to my friends that often, but this one I've already started recommending.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Adam Daniel Mezei on August 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can't believe how long it took me to finally get around to reading this superb book (is there a ranking higher than five stars). On a semi-long flight, I'd almost finished it off in one sitting, but I hesitated, not wanting to gobble it up in one go. It was precious, meant to be savoured, and absorbed very slowly into the bloodstream.

I'd been meaning to read Rabbi Boteach's books for over five years now, ever since I heard Rabbi Boteach go toe-to-toe intellectually with Larry King (someone else whom I respect highly). Despite the long wait, I wasn't disappointed.

Look, again (as I've said in numerous other spots in my Reviews), I'm not going to tell you what's inside this book. I don't have to, seeing as I'm positive the countless other reviews which you can find here under this listing describe the outline of this book thoroughly, and people have gone into the specifics of what to find inside. I don't wish to repeat what may already be here, and I imagine that I won't do as good of a job as they have -- admittedly, I haven't had a chance to read all of the reviews either. I'm going to laud the high quality of the reviews which I generally find here, and make the necessary presumption.

I think all of us who pick up books like KOSHER SEX are essentially seeking answers. Answers to the things which may have troubled us with our relationships in the past, and we're seeking advice on how to place less of a personal emphasis on meaningless sexual encounters, or the constant state of one-upmanship we play with ourselves in our minds, rationalizing the corrosive things we might do sexually. We need to begin to see the harm it inevitably causes us, our selves, and Boteach points out a way. Not *the* way, but *a* way.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Laura Duhan Kaplan on April 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
From page one, this book's inspirational idealism soars off the page and into your heart! Love, says Boteach, gives us vision - love makes it possible for us to see how each individual person really is special. At the same time, says Boteach, the way to cultivate love is to show those we love how truly special they are to us. In marriage, one way to show love is to save our sexual energy for our spouse alone. For sex has a special role in cultivating love. If we open ourselves to the magic of eros, we come to know our partners' essential selves. For during sex, words, wealth, professional success, fashion sense, you name it, are all irrelevant.
I would quibble with many of the details that emerge in Boteach's case studies, for (1) his perspective is definitely a masculine one and (2) he believes too strongly that committed sex will lead to love and that love almost always will solve serious marital problems.
But if you read the book in order to be set afire by its main point, and don't take it as a step by step manual for marriage, it's a GREAT read. Its magic stuck with me for weeks.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Steve R. on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must read for all men, the younger you are when you read this, the happier you will be. This book helped me to reflect on my own life and articulate more clearly to myself and my wife the importance of our sex life. Men are taught early own that sex is all about pleasure and gratification. With this limited view, we are often left wanting more and more, never feeling satisfied.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By eliz on July 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
i am a huge fan of the Rabbi but i felt let down and even somewhat betrayed by this book. the notion that one should STAY with an abusive man b/c one is married to him i find repugnant. verbal, emotional, or physical abuse, it matters not. and the devastating effects this will have on your child is most certainly of dire consequence. the Rabbi paeans for a time when all marriages are perfect fairy tales, for when his own parents were not divorced, and wistfully describes the idealization of having a united family--WITH NO IDEA OF WHAT IT IS LIKE to live in a violent, terrifying home watching one parent abuse another or both your parents abuse each other... the horror of listening to the screaming fights, the foul and filthy unholy language, the terrifying threats, the destructive criticism, the shame of bearing your secret and not being able to let other children play at your house or your teachers know how you live... not to mention the total lack of empathy for you, the child, or hope coming from either one the two most important role models in your life--your own mother and father-- is never mentioned. instead, women are ENCOURAGED to wait out an abusive man to "prove" their loyalty--and i suppose men in this situation are to do likewise. i wonder if schmuley would ever have BECOME a Rabbi if he had been forced to endure this type of family home and his parents had not had the wisdom to divorce one another and spare their child this torture. most children, esp. boys, who witness parental abuse remodel it in their own marriages. and he has the nerve to advocate indulging a bully or a loveless, absent spouse. i cannot abide by this.Read more ›
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