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The Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy by [David S. Ribner, Jennie Rosenfeld]

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The Newlywed Guide to Physical Intimacy Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 ratings

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Length: 97 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Two mental health professionals combine their experience and knowledge in a book for Orthodox brides and grooms. The material bridges the gap between the halachic (Torah law) instruction usually received before marriage and pertaining mostly to the laws of niddah (separation during menstruation), and books about sex available in the secular press. This book is for those with no sexual experience, and starts with the rudiments of male and female anatomy and the mechanics of sexual intercourse. It then discusses potential problems or impediments to a satisfying experience, and the importance of communication and solving these problems as a couple. The book also includes some common questions that have been asked of the doctors in their clinical practices. In all cases, there are several options for dealing with the issues discussed. Detailed and graphic illustrations meant to accompany the text come in a sealed envelope in the back of the book. The authors should be applauded for their efforts. This is obviously a sensitive topic, but one that is essential for a happy marriage. The book is meant for those with no sexual knowledge, which is probably a small percentage of newlyweds. It does not have a rabbinic approbation. It is highly recommended for all libraries with Orthodox patrons, and a good choice for resource or counseling centers. --Kathe Pinchuck, American Jewish Libraries Quarterly Newsletter

I remember very vividly the day I learned about sex. I was eight years old, an early reader, and I found my mother s copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves on the shelf. Horrified and fascinated by what I learned, I ran to tell my classmates on the playground. Grownups do whaaat? was the response. As a liberal Jew with tolerant, book-loving parents, I was fortunate to learn about this central mystery of life early on. In the right-wing Orthodox world, however, many young men and women are not lucky enough to acquire these lessons in advance. The scholar Jennie Rosenfeld and sex therapist David S. Ribner have now published an important book for young marrieds: The Newlywed s Guide to Physical Intimacy (Et Le ehov) (Gefen, $15). This fascinating book gives a window into a world where sex education is verboten, where a couple might move from being strictly shomer negiah (no premarital physical contact) to having sex on their wedding night. Written in calming and encouraging tones, this short guidebook begins with the basics of male and female anatomy, moves through the mechanics of various sexual acts, and closes with several chapters of forthright questions and answers. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the book is its sealed envelope of graphic illustrations, pasted into the back cover. Rather than include diagrams in the text of the book, the authors confine all images to this sealed envelope, marked with several disclaimers as to its explicit nature. While this discretion might seem alarmist to readers of mainstream sex manuals, it indicates the fine line that Rosenfeld and Ribner are attempting to walk in making this book available to traditionalist audiences. The book has three main messages: everyone deserves a sexually fulfilling marriage; sex requires practice; and if things aren t working, ask a therapist. While the first two messages are both beautiful and familiar, the third is something not often found in sex manuals. I wonder if this speaks to the role that professional expertise (in the form of rabbis) plays in Orthodox communities, as well as to the general culture of silence around these topics. The book s question-and-answer section is particularly poignant: the sections on Not Ready for Intercourse and Preparing Your Body for the First Sexual Experience opened my heart to these young couples. What s more, the authors have a terrific bibliography for further reading, including more manuals, websites for finding a therapist, and even recommendations of where to buy sex toys. While I am not in the book s target religious audience, I am a newlywed, and I did find many of Rosenfeld and Ribner s words to be calming and centering in my new stage of life. The Newlywed s Guide to Physical Intimacy is a model of how to speak about sex respectfully, openly and joyfully within a religious world view. I hope that it can reach the wide audience it deserves. --Sara N.S. Meirowitz, Lilith Magazine

Sex is a touchy subject - not least among Israel's highly conservative ultra-Orthodox Jews. But a therapist in Jerusalem has written a sex guide aimed specifically at this community..... "We wanted there to be a place where people could say, 'I know nothing and I want to know something,'" says Ribner. The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy, which Ribner co-wrote with Orthodox researcher Jennie Rosenfeld, starts with the very basics - explaining, for example, how the body shape of men and women differs. Ribner says Judaism regards sex as something positive, but it has become taboo to discuss it openly. "Sex is only appropriate within a marital context," he says. "Beyond that it's not talked about. Because of that, it's become very difficult for people to have any kind of dialogue about it." So this book enters uncharted territory..... Sex is a fundamental part of a marital relationship for Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews - and having a lot of children is desirable. But most ultra-Orthodox children are educated at special religious schools, where they receive little or no sex education. This "silence" creates a "barrier of shame" over issues to do with sex, says Carmi - and those who seek to educate themselves on the subject can be seen as "subversive and rebellious". Ribner's book was released last year in English, and is about to be published in Hebrew - which will make it much more accessible to an Israeli audience...... --Daniel Estrin, BBC Magazine --This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Jennie Rosenfeld holds a PhD in English from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and has done groundbreaking research on contemporary Modern Orthodox sexual ethics. Previously, she served as the cofounder and director of Tzelem, a Special Project of Yeshiva University, whose goal was to bring more sexual education resources to different constituents within the Orthodox community. David S. Ribner earned his Smicha (Ordination) and MSW degree from Yeshiva University and his doctorate from Columbia University. He is the founder and director of the Sex Therapy Training Program, School of Social Work, Bar-Ilan University and is certified as a sex therapist in Israel and the United States. He is in private practice as a sex and marital therapist in Jerusalem and writes and lectures extensively on Judaism and sexuality. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

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