The Bintel Brief

Bintel Brief: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Says Self-Satisfaction ‘Is Not the Solution’

By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

  • Print
  • Share Share

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Dear Rabbi Boteach,

The issue that I need help with is as follows: I have been married for two years, and my wife complains that I don’t last long enough. Now, it has reached a point where she doesn’t want to have sex anymore because she says it’s not worth her while.

I realize that I may have a premature ejaculation problem, but I don’t know how to cure it. She suggests that I masturbate say an hour or two beforehand so that I will last longer during the act, but this seems problematic to me from a halachic point of view. On the other hand, one has to satisfy his wife, too. This has led to tension between us as she says I am choosing halachic doctrines over her, etc.

Are there leniencies in cases such as this? Are there other methods of solving the problem? What advice or help can you offer?

I have read some of your books and think it’s great that you have written about such topics. It’s truly difficult to speak to a “regular” rabbi about these issues.

Thanks in advance.

STICKY SITUATION

Rabbi Boteach replies:

Thanks for your kind words.

Sexual passion, intimacy and erotic joy in marriage are crucial components of a strong relationship. So you have to take this issue, and your wife’s frustration, very seriously. But your wife’s suggestion, even if it were not halachically problematic, is not the solution.

As I wrote in “Kosher Sex,” the reason why Judaism opposes masturbation is that it depletes a husband’s desire for his wife. The more we release our sexual steam on our own, the less we can employ it to connect with the person we love. Simply stated, the sexual pleasure we derive in marriage should come from our spouse.

I counsel many husbands who are addicted to pornography. I explain to them that the main sin of porn is not even a sin of commission, doing something wrong, but rather a sin of omission, failing to do something right. In these instances, you have a husband who, rather than making passionate love to his wife, is finding erotic thrills with fantasy women on the Internet. That can’t be healthy for a marriage.

Whereas other religions see the principal purpose of sex to be procreation, and modern secularism sees sex as being principally recreational, Judaism posits sex as the main means by which a husband and wife achieve intimacy and are sewn together as bone of one bone and flesh of one flesh. So it’s got to work.

And you are correct, Judaism is insistent that a wife’s pleasure in sex is not only central to the act, but must even precede that of her husband’s.

There are many remedies that can be employed for premature ejaculation, and to be honest, you don’t need a rabbi to advise you, as there are many books available and sometimes even medical remedies. You are correct, however, in trying to marry said remedy to Jewish law because these laws are designed to ensure that the intimacy of sexuality is never compromised by its other essential component, passion.

One suggestion that immediately comes to mind, however, is not to define sex as being strictly about intercourse. You can, of course, give your wife great pleasure through long, erotic massages that she will no doubt enjoy.

Finally, you and your wife must learn to communicate about sexual matters. I fear that her refusal to have sex over something that may be slightly outside your control will leave you feeling emasculated. So, yes, she must enjoy the experience, but no, neither you nor she should give unilateral ultimatums about sex when it comes to matters that are not intentionally selfish. Rather, talk about it, work it, and go and seek counsel if you need to.

I wish you the two of you a blessed life together.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the host of The Learning Channel’s “Shalom in the Home” and the author of numerous books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Adultery,” “Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments” and “Judaism for Everyone.”


Send a letter to the Bintel Brief at bintelbrief@forward.com. To read other installments of the Bintel Brief, click here.



Comments
Di Thu. May 29, 2008

One evil could not justify another evil. However, one evil might bring forth another evil. American church fully aware the situation. And japanese government would not make a goo explanation for what happened. They may bring you down without care about who you are.

Di Tue. Jun 3, 2008

Please forward your charge to the new German pope and ask why Japanese get the key without permission. And I don't think beethoven reject marriage or G_d forbid, but more or less some angel argue too long about his unclean personal habits: not brush teeth, drink, forget flush bathrooms, and most important of all: not kosher handsome and not patient enough for manrancholai murmuring.

Di Wed. Jun 4, 2008

melancholay

Wally Sun. Jun 8, 2008

There is also the possibility that the wife has some problems and is blaming the husband unfairly. They should definitely go to a counsellor together to pursue whether this is the case or what is at the root, could be about something other than sex eg the wife could have a personality disorder.

HUNG SO LO Wed. Mar 25, 2009

CHILDREN MUST BE INCULCATED AS TO THE BENEFITS OF MASTURBATION IN THE ATTAINMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A HEALTHY MIND AND A HEALTHY BODY! PENT UP SEXUAL FRUSTRATION IN CHILDREN HAS NEVER BEEN HONESTLY AND ADEQUATELY DISCUSSED AND DEALT WITH IN JEWISH DISCOURSE AND DOCTRINE. MODERN LIFESTYLES AFFORD INDIVIDUALS THE PRIVACY AND HYGIENIC FACILITIES NECESSARY TO MASTURBATE IN A PRIVATE, DIGNIFIED AND SANITARY MANNER. ONE CAN WELL UNDERSTAND THE IRE THAT WAS AROUSED BY MASTURBATING INDIVIDUALS FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO WHEN AN ENTIRE LARGE FAMILY LIVED TOGETHER IN A TENT IN AN ARID LOCATION. NOBODY WANTED TO HAVE A WAD OF FLYING JISSUM HIT HIM IN THE EYE OR LAND IN HIS HUMUS. WATER WAS SCARCE AND ONE HAD TO WALK , SOMETIMES LONG DISTANCES, TO THE WELL TO GET IT, IF IT WAS AVAILABLE AT ALL. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IT WAS A CHOICE OF WATER FOR DRINKING OR WATER FOR WASHING EJACULATE OFF OF ONE’S HANDS. THIS IS WHY THE EARLY SAGES WERE SO VOCIFEROUS IN THEIR CONDEMNATION OF MASTURBATION. WE JEWISH PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A HORNY BUNCH AND, IF THERE WEREN'T THESE SEVERE STRICTURES AGAINST MASTURBATION AT THAT TIME, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN ERRANT CUMSTAINS ALL OVER THE PLACE AND THE SMELL OF FRESHLY RELEASED JISSUM WOULD HAVE WAFTED FAR AND WIDE, EVEN WITHIN THE HALLOWED HALLWAYS OF THE SACRED TEMPLE ITSELF. TIMES HAVE CHANGED. IF PARENTS TODAY STRESS THE BENEFITS OF MASTURBATION TO THEIR CHILDREN, THEY WILL HELP LESSEN THE OCCURRENCE OF STDs, AND UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES. SCHOLARSHIP LEVELS WOULD INCREASE DRAMATICALLY WITH THE RELEASE OF PENT UP ADOLESCENT EJACULATORY TENSION.. IF NECESSARY, PARENTS SHOULD SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THEIR CHILDREN AS TO THE PROPER METHODOLOGY FOR THIS ACTIVITY AND FOLLOW UP AND MAKE SURE THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE MASTURBATING REGULARLY AT AN OPTIMUM FREQUENCY. KEEPING A MASTURBATION DIARY COULD BE A VERY USEFUL TOOL IN MAINTAINING THE PROPER SCHEDULE. EVERY PARENT SHOULD ASK HIS CHILDREN ON A DAILY BASIS, "DID YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND MASTURBATE TODAY?" OH, OF COURSE, THE CHABADNIKS AND THE FRUMNIKS WILL YELL OUT, "BUT RAMBAM SAID THIS, AND RASHI SAID THAT AND RABBI AKIVA SAID THIS, AND THAT, ABOUT THE EVILS OF MASTURBATION." PROBABLY ALL THREE OF THEM WERE MASTURBATING WHILE THEY WERE WRITING THESE STRICTURES, ANOTHER CASE OF "DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO". WE MUST NOT CONTINUE TO LET OTHERS DO OUR THINKING FOR US UNDER THE GUISE OF RELIGIOUS EXPERTISE. SHALOM AND ZEI GEZUNT!

Anonamiss Sat. Mar 28, 2009

Do it twice. Come too quickly the first time and then go again when you've "recovered." Or get a massage toy for her.

It sounds like she might really be upset about something else though. When we're unhappy it's easy to criticize and telling a man he's not adequate in the bedroom is a surefire blow.

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.