Holy Sex – The Role of Partnered Clitoral Stimulation in Judaism

Questions arise as to the innate spirituality implicit in the role of partnered clitoral stimulation in the context of Jewish thought.  I will attempt to explore and delineate Jewish sources heralding the spiritual beauty of this experience.

 

Chassidus, the most spiritual domain of Orthodox Judaism, teaches us that the true beauty of a woman  is inward, not so much what eye sees, but what the soul detects in its encounter with the feminine presence.  Often what is referred to are the deep qualities of compassion and kindness, the expression of love, care and regard, and the many other wonderful attributes of women that so inform these encounters.  I offer another interpretation to augment this consideration; namely, that the inner-directed orgasmic experience of women informs, enhances and amplifies the expression of the qualities within each of them that are alluded to above.  We see this in the manner and conduct of sexually fulfilled and enlightened women.

Jewish Law permits a woman who is not sexually satisfied by her husband the right to obtain a Bill-of-Divorcement, otherwise known as a Ghet, with full access to the provisions of her Ketubah, or marriage contract.  This is one of the few means by which a Jewish woman can initiate a divorce under Jewish Law, and raises an interesting speculation.  As holy and sacred as marriage is in Judaism, women’s sexual fulfillment is higher.  We do not see this provision attendant to men’s sexual fulfillment, only women’s.  Most certainly, this suggests that the fulfillment of a woman’s sexuality is a spiritually higher experience than her marriage, and  her innate spirituality may be lost or diminished without such sexual fulfillment.

 

However, there is more.  Chassidus teaches us that women are spiritually higher and more refined than men.  In light of the above Law concerning women’s right to a divorce for the reason mentioned, this suggests to me that in some manner the deep orgasmic experience of women enables them to obtain their  greater spiritual heights.  And, that the denial of the orgasmic experience and the attendant spiritual heights it enables, is grounds for the termination of the marital relationship.  Something holy has been abused.

 

The seminal work in the Jewish cannon addressing women’s sexuality is the book attributed to King Solomon known as Shir HaShirim, or Song of Songs.  While later commentaries explain it as describing the relationship between God and Israel, the Jewish people, its overpowering sexual expression suggests something more.  Rabbi Akiba, one of the greatest Rabbis of all time, maintained that in the Time-to-Come, the only book of the Torah that would be preserved is Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs.  Speculation abounds as to why this book alone would be preserved and not the Sefer Torah itself, the Five Books of Moses, which clearly goes much further in depicting God’s relationship with Israel.

 

Mark  M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

I offer that the preservation of Shir HaShirim, the Song of Songs, in the Time-to-Come, is to herald what I refer to as the “Feminine Presence Reclaiming Herself”, a Feminine Presence that birthed creation and which is emergent from it, to reunite with and within herself.  Lurianic Kabbalah teaches that when the Holy One birthed creation, shards of light, holy sparks, were lost and must be reclaimed to herald the Time-to-Come.  These shards are to be reclaimed by men.  I offer for consideration, that these shards are found deep inside men attendant to their feminine natures, and when found are to be raised up to reunite heaven and earth.  Women, with their much greater feminine attributes, guide men on this path of self-discovery and self-realization.  Indeed, in Chassidic thought, men are to listen to their wives’ instruction, and not the other way around.

 

Orgasmic Meditation, the concept of clitoral stimulation by a partner lengthening and enhancing the orgasmic experience of a woman for 15 minutes, and optimizing the many benefits now coming to light of female orgasm, naturally extends and completes the considerations mentioned above of women’s sexuality and the great good it enables.   Indeed, the verses from Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, that read “Search Me and Know Me”, and “Thou Art Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”, take on a most special significance when connected to partnered vaginal stimulation by Orgasmic Meditation.

 

The verse in Torah that requires a husband to fulfill his conjugal duties to his wife is Exodus 21, verse 10. The operative Hebrew word is “Onatah”, which is translated as “her marital relationship”. The root word “Onah” can also be translated in a manner that suggests “Fulfillment.” From this, I derive that “Fulfillment” can mean something other than copulation, such as partnered vaginal stimulation. In contrast to this,   in the case of Judah and Tamar, Genesis 38, Verses 15 and 18, where Judah consorted with Tamar, the operative hebrew words are “Ahvoh Aliyeech”, “He came to her”, or “Consorted with her.”  We know that these words,” Ahvoh Aliyeech”, infer the sexual act of impregnating a woman, in that Judah only once, on this occasion, “came to Tamar”, and the outcome of this union were twin sons, one of whom, Perez, was the ancestor of king David. Clearly, the word “Onah” may allude to other forms of sexual fulfillment than impregnation, or copulation, such as partnered vaginal stimulation . Orgasmic Meditation could be termed a “Hadar HaMitzvah”, a beautification of the commandment in Torah, mentioned above, of a husband fulfilling his wife, in that it is an enhancement of the practice of partnered vaginal stimulation. This last possibility should not be discounted, and could preserve the sanctity of many Jewish marriages.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

Mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a very sensitive application of partnered vaginal stimulation that resolves a Halachic issue in Judaism. This is the case where in an otherwise happy marriage, the husband becomes sexually impotent. Under Jewish Law, his wife could divorce him and lose an otherwise happy marriage to attempt to regain her sexual fulfillment. Or, she could remain married, maintaining her marriage, and remain sexually unfulfilled. Partnered vaginal stimulation offers her both, the continuance of a happy marriage, and the opportunity of experiencing her orgasm, and by inference from Rashi, her sexual fulfillment. This is so, because Rashi’s commentary on “Onah” mentioned above, explains it as sexual

fulfillment. Rashi most certainly would have known of the description of the sexual act discussed above concerning Judah and Tamar. Since the words describing this, “Avoh Aliyeech”, are not the same as “Onah”, Onah could only mean another kind of sexual fulfillment by the husband of his wife. I argue that this is partnered vaginal stimulation. If this seems strange for an interpretation based on commentary by Rashi, we need only reflect on the extent to which his two daughters departed from the traditional roles for Jewish women and who could might certainly be considered early Jewish feminists in a period of increasing restrictions on sexuality among Jews.

 

Much could be said about the sexuality implicit during Yom Kippur when in ancient days, young men and women played together win the fields, and found their marriage partners; and the interval between the two divisions of the Jewish Wedding, the Nisuin when the couples are married, and the Kedoshin, when they consummate their marital union.  In ancient days this interval could be months in duration.  Could vaginal stimulation have played a part, perhaps a very important part, during Yom Kippur and between the two divisions of the Jewish Wedding?  I leave this as food-for-thought for the interested reader.

 

The Torah offers that when Yitzchak, Isaac, encountered Rivka, Rebecca, he first brought her into his mother’s tent, the tent of Sarah who had passed away, and then he married her.  The way these phrases are ordered has spawned commentary that when Isaac brought Rebecca into his mother’s tent, he knew her, suggesting physical intimacy.  Yet, he could not have consummated his union with her until after they married, as mentioned in the phrase that follows.  Could his knowing of Rebecca suggest the deep intimacy attendant to partnered vaginal stimulation, where their sexuality and desire could be explored in preparation for their subsequent union ?

 

It is said of King David that he had 18 wives, the number permitted to a monarch under Jewish law. Could partnered vaginal stimulation have played a part, perhaps a very necessary and important part in maintaining Shalom HaBayit, peace in his home; and subsequently, his palace where King Solomon, his heir had a thousand wives? We can only speculate that King Solomon, who as the wisest of Jews in history, would know Sefer Torah. As such, he would know that it was incumbent upon him to see that his wives were satisfied, or under Jewish law, which would apply to them as we can assume that they took upon themselves the religion of their husband and monarch, they could divorce him. Would he have married a thousand wives only to have them divorce him? One could imagine here an expanded role for the palace guards in charge of protecting his wives from illicit affairs. These guards would most certainly, so we speculate, have been eunuchs, to protect the royal line from children sired by men other than the king, King Solomon. But could these eunuchs have had another role as well, to vaginally stimulate king Solomon’s wives, thus seeing to it that they were satisfied without siring false heirs to

King Solomon’s royal line? I pose this as a possible solution to this dilemma.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Franc isco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

This raises yet another matter for speculation. I believe that the intent of Jewish law, the divine intent will you, is not to punish but to celebrate life in a very carefully prescribed manner. We know from Torah and Talmud that Jewish men must marry and “Be fruitful and multiply”, “Peru ve Urvu”,  the first Mitzvah in the torah found in Beresheit, Genesis. However, this onus is not upon Jewish women, some of whom may remain unmarried by choice. What is the role of these Jewish women and to what are they entitled. I maintain that these Jewish women could obviously not have children. Indeed, they were, and are, spared the distraction of raising children and caring for a family. Could these Jewish women have a higher spiritual role in some regard to that of married Jewish women? And, would Jewish law permit these Jewish women to remain unmarried and childless only to be unfulfilled for their entire lives? Partnered vaginal stimulation offers a compelling solution in that the intent of Jewish Law, as I understand it, would be that they be allowed a celebration of life, and not a punishment

for taking upon themselves this role. Indeed, as I have maintained elsewhere in this paper, I believe that a woman’s orgasm empowers her higher spirituality, a spirituality which for these for these Jewish women is yet higher because of the absence of familial distractions.

 

Too often, a woman’s vagina is referred to in denigrating terms as not being at the same level of purity as other parts of her body.  Yet we know that her body as such is holy in that it houses her soul.  Why should one part of her body be any less holy than any other?  Perhaps, it is more apt to say that her vagina is holy as well, and its stimulation may more directly connect her to the holy of holies within her body, the Temple housing her soul.

 

I would, if I may, close this paper with a metaphor that addresses yet another unresolved matter in Torah. It is written that when the world was created, there were the waters above and below the firmament. What were these waters and where did they come from? They were not of the earth as rain or waters of the deep bursting forth in fountains, as occurred during the Flood involving Noah’s Ark might suggest. I maintain that the waters above and below the firmament were nothing less than the waters of the Shechinah, the feminine presence of the divine, of HaShem, waters which broke upon her birthing of creation. And, that the spirit that hovered these waters  was the Shechinah herself hovering above the creation she birthed as a mother bird might hover above, and look upon, the birth of her young.

 

The following quotes taken from the book,”Marital Intimacy, A Traditional Jewish Approach” by Rabbi Abraham Peretz Friedman, are noteworthy when seen in the context of the role partnered vaginal stimulation, and by extension Orgasmic Meditation, can play in traditional Jewish marital relations. These quotes are as follows :

 

From Devarim, Deuteronomy 24:5 we learn that “there is an obligation to pleasure one’s wife.”

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

From “Marital Intimacy”: “Judaism believes pleasure to be sanctified by God, seeing it as a bridge between the profane and the sacred realms.”  “Pleasure is not an end in itself, rather, pleasure can be a powerful means of serving the Almighty, and can enlarge and contribute to proper observance of a Torah lifestyle.”

 

Perhaps the most telling quote is taken from the Yerushalomi, the Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Terumot, end of Chapter 5, which reads: “Just as it is forbidden to allow that which is prohibited, so it is forbidden to forbid that which is allowed.” In my search of sacred Jewish writing for insight and guidance into  the role of vaginal stimulation, and by extension Orgasmic Meditation, within Jewish marital relations, nowhere have I found a prohibition of this practice.  Indeed. If we posit that that what is not forbidden is  allowed, then this practice must not be forbidden and most assuredly occupies a place of holy  and intimate consideration  within Jewish marital relations.

 

I offer the words above with deep appreciation to One Taste for the most elegant and compelling “Womanity” it provides.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

 

San Francisco, California

July 19, 2012

 

Author’s  note:  The laws of Niddah that address menstruation and the necessity of  Jewish women to maintain personal cleanliness and purity are documented in a variety of texts and books for devout, religiously aware Jewish women.  However, nowhere have I found texts or books addressing the subject of partnered vaginal stimulation for Jewish women.  The importance of this subject, and the obvious holiness it entails, necessitate a remedy for this omission.  The book, “Slow Sex, The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm”, authored by Ms. Nichole Daedone, which speaks to the subject of partnered vaginal stimulation as  enhanced by Orgasmic Meditation, may be a most suitable reference in this regard, to augment the books and texts on Niddah.  For the concerned Jewish husband and wife, personal instruction could be made available to properly address the issues that arise from considerations of Yichud, the laws governing relations between Jewish men and women, and Tzniut, the laws of modesty. For the more reserved, information on this subject is available from the website www.onetaste.us of One Taste, the company Ms. Daedone founded to promote the practice of Orgasmic Meditation.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is appropriate to raise the question of female masturbation in the context of partnered vaginal stimujlation metioned in this paper.  While a woman’s sexual needs can be served by masturbation, clinical findings by a gynecologist affiliated wioth One Taste indicate that the orgasm experienced by women during Orgasmic Meditation, a partnered practice, is much deeper than by masturbation. It is noteworthy that studies of female orgasm are pointing to many benefits arising from female orgasm. It has been reported by this gynecologist that greater hormonal balance occurs for women who practice orgasmic meditation, an enhancement of partnered vaginal stimulation, than from masturbation.

 

I would like to acknowledge Rabbi Sidney Green of Berkeley, California, who has been an orthodox rabbi  for fifty years, for his guidance in directing me to several  of the sources in the Torah referenced in this paper, and explicating their deeper meanings.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

Mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

 

Biography

 

Mark Gottlieb has practiced Orthodox Judaism for seven years and has been affiliated with each of the three orthodox synagogues in Berkeley , California. He is a volunteer employee of One Taste,  based in San Francisco, where he provides guidance for their  investigation of the medical and psychological benefits of female orgasm, and the practice One Taste espouses, orgasmic meditation.

 

Mark M. Gottlieb

(510) 684-9951 cell

1847 Francisco Street

Berkeley, California 94703-1312

mark.gottlieb2010@gmail.com

©

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Lilith

During the four months my article was being considered by Lilith Magazine, a number of notes were written to clarify and expand upon various aspects of my submission. My article was submitted on May 23, 2012. What follows is a listing by date of my notes as submitted to Lilith Magazine, and a brief email exchange following their decline of my submission.

 

5/23/2012

I am a retired scientist with the State of California, department of Public Health, and for seven years a practitioner of orthodox Judaism. I began my investigation of the role of (partnered) vaginal stimulation in Judaism, the subject of my article, when I first became involved as a client of One Taste. I believe that there is an urgent need to better appreciate the importance of female orgasm and thencompelling “Womanity” it spawns, in contemporary society. It is my hope that my article be published and a great many men and women are encouraged to partake in a fuller exploration of women’s sexuality. Thank you for your kind consideration of my article.

 

7/1/12

It occurred to me that there is a very sensitive application of partnered vaginal stimulation that could resolve an halachic issue in Judaism. This is the case where in an otherwise happy marriage, the husband becomes impotent. Under Jewish Law, his wife could divorce him and lose a happy marriage to attempt to regain her sexual fulfillment. Or, she could remain married and sexually unfulfilled. Partnered vaginal stimulation offers her both, the continuance of a happy marriage and the opportunity of experiencing her orgasm, and remaining sexually fulfilled. This last possibility should not be discounted and could preserve the sanctity of many Jewish marriages.

 

7/19/12

There was an unfortunate omission of a line in the first page of my submission in the paragraph starting with the words, ‘Chassidus teaches…’. The actual sentences should read as follows:”Chassidus teaches that the true beauty of a woman is inward, not so much what the eye sees but what the soul detects in its encounter with the feminine presence.’ I apologize for this omission and any confusion it may have caused. I have had problems with my vision for some time as a result of diabetes, and am scheduled for eye surgery later this month. Thank you for your kind consideration of my note.

 

7/23/12

It occurred to me that a clarification of the use of the word “sex” in my last note to you would be in order. In conventional usage, sex may not refer to partnered vaginal stimulation. However, in the context of the Torah, this may be different. Rashi, the greatest of torah commentators, translates the word “Anatah” as sex. It is most likely that he would have been familiar with the usage of the words “Avoh Aliyeech”, also mentioned in my paper, as referring to intercourse. Since these words are not the same as “Anatah, we can assume that “Anatah” refers to something else, namely partnered vaginal stimulation. If this seems strange for Rashi, we need only note that his daughters departed significantly from the traditional roles for Jewish women of this period, a period of austere restrictions on women’s sexuality under the influence of Christianity.

 

7/23/12

Please forgive the typographical errors in my last note. My vision, and hence my editinghave declined and I have cataract surgery tomorrow. I wish to correct the Hebrew words ‘Avoh Aliyeech’, which were misspelled in my earlier note today. I also wish to add that Rashi’s two daughters may be considered early Jewish feminists in regard to their courage in adopting nontraditional roles for Jewish women of this period.

 

I would like to thank the readers of my notes for their courtesy in doing so, and in particular, the attention given to my paper “Holy Sex – The Role of Partnered Vaginal Stimulation in Judaism”.

 

8/1/12

It was a pleasure speaking to the woman who answered Lilith’s phone earlier today. I learned that my paper, “Holy Sex – The role of Partnered Vaginal Stimulation in Judaism”, is still being considered for publication. Is it possible to incorporate the corrections and ideas mentioned in my previous four n otes into my paper? I think this would strengthen my argument. Thank you for considering my request.

Mark

 

8/3/12

Correction. In my earlier note, I mentikoned that Rashi had two daughters. Actually, he had three. I apologize for this error.

Mark Gottlieb

 

9/22/12

Lilith Magazine declined this submission.

I have to be honest, we need to do a little research – both secular and religious – to be able to know whether your ideas are viable. For the time being, we are going to reject this thoughtful manuscript – so that you can submit it elsewhere. At the same time, we will reach out to experts and try to ascedrtain whether this manuscript is something we should pursue. Thanks so much for your patience, and for thin king of Lilith. Also, the best to you with your upcoming surgery.

My best,

Susan Schnur, Senior Editor

 

9/23/12

Dear Susan,

Thank you for the courtesy of your response to my phone call, and the kind words therein. I acknowledge your interest in confirming the viability of my ideas and offer that you present them to experts who will not be astonished at bold, novel conceptions in Judaism, particularly, those that attend to women and their sexuality. Please include women rabbis and scholars among those whose viewpoints you solicit. There are many outstanding women with profound knowledge of Jewish texts exceeding my own, who could comment knowingly on the ideas I present, which were reviewed by an orthodox rabbi of my acquaintance.

 

I appreciate your openmindedness about my article, and your generousity inmaking it possible for me to publish it else where while still retaining interest in it. And, thank you for your concern about the recent surgeries for my eyes. They were successful.

 

I am grateful for my encounter with Lilith Magazine, and this opportunity to communicate with you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark Gottlieb

 

9/29/12

Dear Susan,
I don’t know if you received my email, so I am contacting you with a note to express my gratitude for your sensitivity to my telephone request. If you should send my article to experts for review, please include all my notes to Lilith. They support my contention about the role of partnered vaginal stimulation in Judaism. Please include women rabbis and scholars among the experts you contact. There are so many more knowledgeable than I, who may appreciate what I hope to do. If you have an interest in exploring One Taste’s approach to female orgasm, please contact Ms. Rachel Cherwitz at 415-218-0073. She has seen an earlier draft of my article.

Thank you again for your kind words. I have enjoyed my encounter with Lilith.

Sincerely,
Mark

©

 

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