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Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy [Paperback]

Shmuley Boteach
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 18 2000
In Kosher Sex, Rabbi Boteach pioneers a revolutionary approach to sex, marriage, and personal relationships, drawing on traditional Jewish wisdom. Using his experiences counseling individuals and couples, the author breaks down sexual taboos and openly, yet respectfully, discusses the meanings, emotions, and the hidden power of sex.

With his unique anecdotal style, Rabbi Boteach illustrates each and every point, using real couples who have discovered the joys of "kosher sex"--sex based on love, trust, and real intimacy. He profiles the two most common types of couples--best friends and passionate lovers--and suggests ways of synthesizing the best that each type has to offer.

Rabbi Boteach also has advice for singles on finding the right partner; for individuals either willing to take their long-term relationship to the next level or unsure about doing so; and for married couples who may be experiencing problems in their sex life. At a time when three out of every five marriages fail, Kosher Sex will have an astonishing and positive impact.

With a no-holds-barred conversational style and keen insight, Rabbi Boteach breaks all the taboos and pioneers a new approach to sex, marriage, and personal relationships. He not only brings traditional Jewish wisdom into the twentieth century but makes it relevant to everyone searching for a deeper, more meaningful, and more satisfying love life. -->

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From Amazon

Kosher Sex is based on the idea that sex is holy. Written by Shmuley Boteach, a Hasidic rabbi, the book occupies the interesting juncture between sex and religion. Using traditional Jewish thought, Boteach attempts to remove sexual taboos and explain the power and place of sex within a marriage. While Boteach uses the Talmud and the Old Testament as the basis for his approach, his treatise is by no means just for Jewish people. His ideas are universal as he attempts to show how married couples can keep the love in their relationships alive. Kosher sex--"passionate lovemaking that leads to intimacy"--is applicable to all, despite the Jewish terminology.

Peppering explanations with plenty of examples, Kosher Sex is immensely readable. It defines couples as one of two types: the best friends and the passionate lovers. Best friends frequently lack a spark in their relationship, while passionate lovers often have tumultuous marriages, without the intimacy of friendship. Boteach attempts to harmonize the two types into a successful relationship.

Some of Boteach's ideas may strike a liberal reader as overly conservative--his thoughts are directed at married couples, as he firmly believes sex has no place outside of this committed bond. Furthermore, his beliefs on such issues as the place of masturbation and pornography in marriage, whether or not sex should be used to settle arguments, and if the lights should be on or off while making love may make Dan Savage or Susie Bright fans cringe. His ideas for singles attempting to find the right partner seem somewhat outdated. Yet, for those who hold traditional views, this book may seem a daring and helpful foray into a topic that is not openly discussed. He makes interesting and valid arguments for all of his points, whether or not you agree with him. In a time when the divorce rate continues to soar, perhaps Rabbi Boteach isn't so off the mark. --Jenny Brown --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its title's implication, Kosher Sex is not a prudish book. Rather, this manifesto on using sex as a marital aid takes the view that sex is not to be suppressed in the name of piety but directed toward a more fulfilling, emotionally intimate relationship. A Hasidic rabbi who counsels religious and secular alike in matters of the bedroom, Boteach (The Jewish Guide to Adultery) draws less on mystical and Orthodox teachings and more on personal anecdotes to support his wholesome ideals. The sexual revolution, he argues, has demystified sex and numbed us to its power, with disastrous results. To avoid becoming a statistic, Boteach advises couples to seek kosher sex, not great sex. The difference? The latter "consists entirely of motions," while the former seeks to "elicit lasting emotions." Boteach also takes to task those who assert that a large number of partners prepares one for a long-term relationship, and argues for young marriages, before couples become fully formed adults. For all its quaintness, Boteach possesses the power to surprise as much as he does to preach. He cites Mae West, advocates experimenting with different positions and supports sex toys so long "as they cause us to be more focused on our spouse." Sure to set off firecrackers in traditional Jewish circles for his frankness (as he has already begun to do), Boteach has crafted a provocative, if reductive, book.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Note: This is not a book about the actual techniques of sex, but deals with your most powerful sexual organ - your he quotes Ann Aldrich, "If the psyche is unwilling, no amount of technique can persuade it; and if the psyche is willing, no lack of technique can dissuade it."
This book is about more than Sex, it is about relationships - married and single - religious or not. I am so glad that I did not let the things that I disagree about with Shmuley Boteach to keep me from reading this book. He is a Chasidic Rabbi (Chasidic is Orthodox, but what some incorrectly call "Ultra Orthodox"), though he doesn't really sound like what one might expect (if you are worried about that). Both my husband and I read it and I can't believe what a change it has caused in our lives! We are observant Jews and so we keep the Jewish laws pertaining to family purity which are very rewarding, but this book added insight that was very useful for us. My husband has become more expressive of his affections, we've grown closer together and even our lovemaking is more intimate and enjoyable than ever.
This book isn't only for Jews, but is extremely accessible and candid - and never offensive. He doesn't get into intimate details of the bedroom that one might be embarrassed by. His ideas are very well reasoned and come across as very thoughtful. I found it a thoroughly useful and fascinating book. Most chapters are around 5 pages long. Some shorter, some longer, but they get right to the point and don't go on and on. My attention was sustained throughout. I read a lot of books and am rarely really impressed (especially by books on sex and marriage) and don't recommend books to my friends that often, but this one I've already started recommending.
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I can't believe how long it took me to finally get around to reading this superb book (is there a ranking higher than five stars). On a semi-long flight, I'd almost finished it off in one sitting, but I hesitated, not wanting to gobble it up in one go. It was precious, meant to be savoured, and absorbed very slowly into the bloodstream.

I'd been meaning to read Rabbi Boteach's books for over five years now, ever since I heard Rabbi Boteach go toe-to-toe intellectually with Larry King (someone else whom I respect highly). Despite the long wait, I wasn't disappointed.

Look, again (as I've said in numerous other spots in my Reviews), I'm not going to tell you what's inside this book. I don't have to, seeing as I'm positive the countless other reviews which you can find here under this listing describe the outline of this book thoroughly, and people have gone into the specifics of what to find inside. I don't wish to repeat what may already be here, and I imagine that I won't do as good of a job as they have -- admittedly, I haven't had a chance to read all of the reviews either. I'm going to laud the high quality of the reviews which I generally find here, and make the necessary presumption.

I think all of us who pick up books like KOSHER SEX are essentially seeking answers. Answers to the things which may have troubled us with our relationships in the past, and we're seeking advice on how to place less of a personal emphasis on meaningless sexual encounters, or the constant state of one-upmanship we play with ourselves in our minds, rationalizing the corrosive things we might do sexually. We need to begin to see the harm it inevitably causes us, our selves, and Boteach points out a way. Not *the* way, but *a* way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thank You Rabbi Boteach April 27 2001
Having seen the Rabbi on various programs and read a variety of articles on the book, I think the main thing to remember, typos and all, is that this is a book that discusses the depths of the sexual human union and that when two people marry, they set upon a path that requires constant care. How often have we heard the jokes about how when someone marries they no longer have sex?
The fact is and the Rabbi is wise to point out, that married couples with a firm religious i.e. G-d in their lives connection can and do have the best sex around. But that with the pressure of raising children, work and everyday stress that sometimes we simply need to stop and look at our lover-spouse with the eyes of a lover. That taking care to please is noted in Judaic teachings. And the idea that Dr Ruth who may be "Jewish" teaches Judaic or healthy sex as another reviewer said is laughable!
And I personally am overjoyed that someone who comes from a "conservative" mode would be so kind as to write a book that Jews and non-Jews could read, learn and enjoy. There are many of us who have been married decades who give thanks to G-d for the Rabbis' effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Goy's Guide to Jewish Sexual Ethics Jan. 8 2001
By Jay3fer
(Goy is the Hebrew word for "non-Jew" and is not intended to carry any offense)
I can forgive Rabbi Boteach for his bouncy excess of enthusiasm, in interviews and in person. I can forgive him for going on Howard Stern, becoming famous as Michael Jackson's rabbi... in fact, I can forgive him almost everything, just for this marvellously affirming book.
In Kosher Sex, Boteach lucidly makes his point that, rather than condemn human sexuality, Judaism has traditionally viewed it as the "express lane" to marital contentment.
Boteach has apparently taken it upon himself to repackage the intricate Jewish laws on sexual conduct for the masses, and he has done so astonishingly well. A little short on humility, perhaps, but we knew that already about Boteach's sensationalism and media courtship.
This book is by no means a comprehensive guide to the halacha (Jewish law) pertaining to sexuality. But as an introduction and a philosophical overview, it is masterful and enthusiastic.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Kosher Sex for an non-observant Jew
Great book, easy to read, easy to relate to for my wife and I, a very enjoyable read on the beach in Dominican Republic.
Published 4 months ago by Chris N.
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking book...
Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy I found this book to be a surprisingly good read, very clear and reflective of Shmuley's beliefs. Read more
Published on May 1 2009 by isobella thorn
5.0 out of 5 stars Orthodox Rabbi has meaningful insights into the joys of sex
Shmuley Boteach explores intimacy between a man and a woman in a frank and non-judgemental way in this practical yet spiritual look at Jewish teachings on healthy sexual relations. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2001 by Dr. Robert N. Goldberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful journey into Judaism
This book by Shmuley Boteach, probably one of the world's best known Hasidic rabbis, is fascinating, entertaining and educating at the same time - also for those who, like myself,... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2000 by Maurizio Giuliano
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightened Relationships
How absolutely refreshing to read a book that focuses on the reality that marriage IS HARD WORK and for any of us to expect success and joy in this commitment we need to rise to... Read more
Published on June 21 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, practical and KOSHER!
As a religious Jew, it is very difficult to find anyone who is prepared to tackle sexual issues openly and frankly. Read more
Published on May 9 2000 by S. Behr
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
From page one, this book's inspirational idealism soars off the page and into your heart! Love, says Boteach, gives us vision - love makes it possible for us to see how each... Read more
Published on April 22 2000 by Laura Duhan Kaplan
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing -- read Dr. Ruth's book instead
I was extremely disappointed in this book. I found numerous inaccuracies, both in the author's descriptions of religious teachings and in information about sexual practices. Read more
Published on Dec 1 1999 by Elisabeth Riba
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
This was a truly excellent book on relationship - far better and much more insightful than the other popular relationship books, in my opinion.
A Roman Catholic
Published on Sept. 16 1999
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