Intimate Judaism: The premarital sex episode

Submitted by Talli on Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:37

As human beings, we are wired for connection. When we connect emotionally with a member of the opposite sex, and experience attraction, and/or affection, the desire for intimate touch is a natural instinct. In society at large, this desire is understood to be moderated by social rules that include determining availability, and mutual consent and should include communication about boundaries and prevention of pregnancy when applicable. According to Jewish law, however, premarital sexual activity, even when it doesn't involve sexual intercourse, is strictly forbidden. This can result in an inner conflict.  We are committed to observe the laws but struggle, and sometimes fail,  with refraining from all touch which can feel awkward and un-natural. This tension between human longing and restrictions in behavior is at the core of what being an observant Jew is about. Yet, the paradigm of this power struggle, particularly when the desire side wins out, as it often does, may fail to address the important issues of boundaries, mutuality, consent and birth control, as well as relate to the “degrees” of  religious prohibition involved. What are the keys to discussing premarital sexual activity with Orthodox Jews in an honest and healthy manner? Join Talli Rosenbaum and Rabbi Scott Kahn for a fascinating and frank discussion of these important religious and educational issues.  Listen to the episode here.