I finally click on the article I’ve been eyeing that was posted on my facebook feed.
“IT HAPPENED TO ME: I waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose my Virginity and I Wish I Hadn’t”
Samantha Pugsley wrote this article, posted almost a week ago on August 1 on xojane.com about her relation to female sexuality and sex. She took a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage when she was 10 years old and after marriage still saw sex as dirty and sinful. Like JOFA, who shared this article earlier today, I’ve wondered about this; how can [heterosexual] observant/orthodox girls grow up to be sexually active with their husbands after 10 (?) kallah classes. How does one go from limited knowledge and experience, and more importantly, having female (and male) sexuality be hidden or invisible, to sex on your wedding night and at least every Friday night (it’s a mitzvah, natch), depending on your niddah/mikvah practices. I read a fictional book, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris, where the Jewish ultra-orthodox girl marries the Jewish ultra-orthodox boy. But even though both research, or try to research, what sex will be like beforehand to know what they’re getting into (oh the dirty jokes I’m refraining from..), the girl, Chani, freaks out by the attempt and they both talk it out and decide to take it slow. How many other couples aren’t talking it out? How will couples go from not being able to talk about what they learn in their kallah classes to the full 360? Expectations to shift lifelong and internalized views of sex[uality], literally overnight, is problematic. Torah concepts of sex are explored analytically in The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, edited by Danya Ruttenberg. I remember the book being very interested and being analyzed in ways that, of course, were not taught in any Torah class I was in; I read that book more than a year ago so I don’t remember details. I definitely recommend those two books in starting, or continuing, to think about how we think about female sexuality.
Have you read the article or books aforementioned? What books/journals/articles/etc would you recommend?
There are those who commented on JOFA’s post emphasizing that JOFA cannot be orthodox (as their name emphasizes) since they are advocating for premarital sex or changing halacha. But did they?
“Marriage is not a magic switch that changes a woman’s relationship to her body and her sexuality. You can’t socialize girls for over a decade to believe that their bodies and sexual desires are dirty, sinful, and inappropriate, and then magically expect them to have a healty relationship with sex and their new husband just because they are wearing a wedding ring.” -JOFA
What are they advocating for? What are suggestions for healthy relationships- to our own bodies, sexuality, and with our partners?
How did your relationship change after a wedding ring?
Message me privately, or share below in the comments what you think about the article and topic.