In a community where unmarried men and women don't touch, and are allowed no access to the internet or even non-religious texts, a long-overdue sex manual for ultra-Orthodox Jews has just been published. We're talking basics, like starting with how men's and women's bodies differ in shape. I really hope "The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy" will be welcome in this community, because sex and pleasure within marriage is something that is encouraged and celebrated. What I find most-fascinating is the lengths the authors, Dr. David Ribner and Jennie Rosenfeld, have gone to in order to make the process of accessing the information comfortable. From a BBC/PRI article about the book, which also has an audio segment:
In Israel's Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox community, there are manuals written for brides and grooms to be, to help guide them on the subject of intimacy in married life, but they employ allegorical, vague terminology and no explicit how-to instructions on matters of sexual intercourse. So Ribner's book enters uncharted territory. Flip through it though, and you see no illustrations. Instead there is a sealed envelope on the back flap, with a warning to readers that it contains sexual diagrams. If you don't want to look at them, you can rip off the envelope and throw it away.
Does anyone know if there are sex manuals for newly-married and devout Muslims? Women's ENews just published an excerpt from Shereen El Feki's new book "Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World." Writing about the significance of female virginity, she says:
The Quran makes no mention of the hymen (ghisha' al-bakara in Arabic) per se, but it does talk at length about private parts and the importance of protecting them from view. While virginity is, in principle, gender-neutral in the Quran, female virgins get special billing, the Virgin Mary coming in for particular praise. Then there are the hur, the perpetual virgins of paradise, "maidens restraining their glances, untouched beforehand by man or jinn," whom Muslim men will marry as a reward for a righteous, God-fearing life, so the faithful believe. According to hadith, the Prophet is said to have joked with a newly married companion that he might have had more fun with a virgin than the "mature woman" he took as his wife.
We think the American edition's cover is pretty brilliant. Read the full excerpt here.
Yahoo is launching a new show called "Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos" which features Stamos interviewing celebrities about their first sexual experiences. Puppets, Barbies and animation will be involved. We're cautiously optimistic about this, but who knows? It doesn't look like the show will involve anyone actually losing their virginity to John Stamos, which is somewhat disappointing considering he's still pretty damn hot.
The new star-laden movie "The Big Wedding" stars Topher Grace playing a 29-year-old virgin, a fact disclosed by a tipsy Diane Keaton on the Ellen show. She followed that by saying she doesn't think there are actually any 29-year-old virgins. Uh, well, maybe not in Hollywood. The trailer is here but FYI, it got 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.