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 His ideas for singles attempting to find the right partner seem somewhat outdated.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.