She Wasn't Feeling Pleasure
Updated: Feb 7
Once upon a time, there was a young, sincere couple, who married and loved each other. But they had one problem: Even after a few years of happy matrimony, the wife said she was having trouble enjoying physical intimacy. The husband felt bad about this, and went to seek advice from his Rabbi and mentor.
His Rabbi smiled at him, and said: "That's impossible."
The young husband, perplexed, replied: "What does that mean? My wife says she's not having pleasure and I want to learn what we can do differently."
The Rabbi explained: "You have a son. The Talmud says that if the woman climaxes first during conception, there will be a son. This means that your wife is definitely having pleasure."
The young man, trusting his Rabbi, but also his wife, left feeling more confused than ever. He told his wife what he'd learned, and she too was confused- they both felt ashamed, and left the subject alone for a while.
It was several years later that they finally sought professional help for their problem. A qualified, licensed therapist was able to educate them better about sexuality, and help them learn to generate consistent, mutual pleasure, including orgasm, which indeed had never happened before then, and fortunately, their marriage improved significantly. The woman later went on to pursue education to become a premarital educator within her community, with the hope she could do better for future brides.
This is a true story.
In recent years, there has been an increase in literature describing the mechanics of women's pleasure in the sexual relationship. Many couples mistakenly believe that the way women "should" climax is through intercourse. But statistically, the vast majority of women do not, and in fact experience their own pleasure through clitoral stimulation and other forms of nonpenetrative pleasuring. This doesn't mean they don't or can't enjoy intercourse. It means that there are other ingredients that need to come first. This is not a new idea.
In the Torah portion Tazria, it says: "When a woman emits seed and births a son.." The Talmud, in a couple of places, based on this verse, goes on to discuss the value of a woman "emitting seed first."
When I had learned this many years ago as a teenager, I thought this referred to ovulation. But a closer look at the sources would indicate that it seems to be discussing female orgasm. The Talmud, in Tractate Niddah, even explains that a man should be careful not to rush, and be patient and attentive during sexual activity so that his wife has time to become aroused and pleasured.
The "progressive" literature sometimes implies that this is a new feminist "discovery." But in fact, it was the way it should have been all along.
When couples tell me that a woman is not "enjoying sex," what I've learned is that often what they mean is intercourse. And this is often (not always) due to the fact that there is an expectation that the pleasure "should" be from intercourse, and the neglect of the other kinds of sexual activity that are more conducive to and necessary for female pleasure. Often (not always), once the knowledge and practice of mindful outercourse is incorporated, it's a total game changer for the couples.
For more on this subject, see the books: She Comes First, Come As You Are, and Becoming Clitorate.
To learn more about how to better educate the next generation towards healthy and holy intimacy and sexuality, see this: elishevaliss.com/sacrednotsecret
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