You don’t have to be Jewish to munch on a kosher pickle, snack on a Hebrew National hot dog, or pop open a bottle of Manischewitz. Maybe you should try kosher sex.
Meet Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the Dr. Ruth of the Torah, who is giving the world a Jewish perspective on how to drive your spouse wild in bed. And we are talking wild. Ham-and-cheese sandwiches might not be kosher, but that doesn’t mean the same is true for oral sex.
Under the right circumstances, Rabbi Boteach says he’s all for it.
“Kosher sex should be an intimate, hot, volcanic eruption between a husband and a wife,” he says. “In fact, rabbis long ago made the female orgasm an obligation incumbent on every Jewish husband.”
Are sex toys OK? Can you call a vibrator kosher? What about masturbation and pornography? America might be teeming with TV-friendly sex therapists, but hearing advice from an Orthodox Jew in a traditional long beard and yarmulke seems to be catching on. His book Kosher Sex (Doubleday) ranked No. 5 on the Amazon.com Hot 100 list soon after its release.
Intimacy: God’s Viagra?
“Let’s face it, surveys say 33 percent of all men suffer from psychological impotence, something Viagra won’t cure. And nearly three out of four women say they are faking something that is supposed to be pleasurable,” Boteach says. “We are crying out for help.”
His rule of thumb: If it increases intimacy, just do it — and that includes oral sex and sex toys. “If you are sharing and exploring each other’s bodies, I say go ahead,” he says. “You are supposed to have fun and be passionate.”
Some rabbis say such acts are wrong because a man is not supposed to waste his “seed.” But Boteach says a husband and wife are free to do the nasty as long as both parties are game and the aim is to please each other.
“I don’t recommend oral sex if that is all you and your spouse do,” he says. “God wants us to have children. But he also wants us to have fun.”
His lessons on Talmudic sex are sprinkled with quotes from the likes of Mae West, Oscar Wilde, Woody Allen and Zsa Zsa Gabor. And, oh yes, the Bible, too.
The Times of London named Boteach the 1988 runner-up for its “Preacher of the Year” award. And his lessons are the rage at Britain’s Oxford University, where he is a counselor and founder of the L’Chaim society, a Jewish student organization.
But needless to say, the Orthodox rabbi’s unorthodox approach has gotten him into enough hot water for a lifetime of matzo ball soup. He stepped down from his post at a synagogue in north London after a leading rabbinical court denounced his book.
Detractors call him a shameless self-promoter, and they question his ethics. Though he condemns pornography, he also agreed to excerpt his book in Playboy.
“I required the editors to include my stance on how leering at a girlie magazine can ruin a marriage,” he says. “Where better to get that message across than Playboy?”
But he ’fesses up to being something of a caffeine-driven ham who runs from one interview to the next. “Do I love spreading the word of God and the Talmud? Absolutely,” he says. “Do I like seeing myself on TV? That’s nice, too.”
Prescription: 2 Weeks With No Sex
The 32-year-old Los Angeles native has six children, all less than 10 years old. One of the foremost Jewish leaders of modern times, Grand Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, dispatched him to Oxford 11 years ago to work with students.
“I write about sex because it is holy,” Boteach says. “And it relates so much to the young people I work with.”
Kosher sex is not just for Jews, the rabbi says. But a broad audience might have trouble embracing some of his ideas. To keep passion alive, he says, don’t have sex for two weeks a month. By abstaining, the libido rebuilds.
“A Jewish man should not have sex on the week that his wife menstruates and a week after,” he says. “I know that is easier said than done for some people. But this gives love that forbidden quality that keeps it sexy. When that waiting period ends, you explode with joy.”
The freedom to have sex all month long is the real love killer, he says. “Studies show that most couples in America have sex twice a week for seven minutes at a time. I say, ‘Have sex the kosher way, and it will improve quantity and quality.’ It really works.”
Boteach’s next book: Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments. The rabbi’s prescription: keep taking the two tablets Moses carried and you’ll find your perfect soul mate. However, Boteach’s words won’t be written in stone.
P.S.: Rabbi Boteach has fans in high places. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, meeting Boteach on the set of the Today show, once asked Boteach for an autographed copy of his book, according to the New York Post. Boteach’s publicist, Melissa Rubenstein, confirms that the rabbi inscribed: “To a Prince of the Jewish people … Hoping you’ll join the Kosher Sex Club.”
Buck Wolf is a producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is a weekly feature.