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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2004
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. This covers things that my other books on Sex and Marriage (Jewish, Christian or Secular) don't touch or just don't know how to deal with.
Because this book isn't only about sex as the physical act itself I think I aught to give you an idea of the Table of Contents. Part one is "Sex File" with the chapters called, "Lust and Commitment", "Sex and Doing What's Expected", "The Myth of Compatibility", "Sex and Traditional Thought", and "Love, Lust, and Intimacy".
Part Two is "Sexual Techniques: The Mechanics of Sex" with chapters called, "Can Men and Women Really Enjoy Sex Together?", "Is There a Kosher Kama Sutra?", "Your Spouse: A Friend or Lover?", "Is Oral Sex Wrong?", "Married People and Masturbation", "Should Sex Be Used to Mend Bridges?", "Sex, When to Refuse It", "Does Size Matter?", "What about Pornography?", "Lights, On or Off", "Is Prostitution a Safe Option?", "Sadomasochism", and "Orthodox Sex, a Hole in a Sheet?"
Part Three is "Sex for Single People" with chapters called, "Do Singe People Have More Fun?", "Is Marriage a Mere Symbol?", "Career or Marriage?", "Holding Out for the Best", "Choosing a Spouse", What If You Drive Each Other Crazy?", "Why Should We Marry At All?", "Marriage, a Relationship Based on Fragility", and "Why Parental Love Ceases to be Sufficient."
Part Four is "Marriage and Divorce" with chapters called, "Is Divorce Ever a Good Thing?", "Your Spouse's Impossible Flaws", "Adultery, Such Fun?", "Becoming Desirable Again", "Kosher Desires", "Children, Yes or No?", "Do the Children Come First?"
Part Five is "Kosher Sex: A Recipe" with chapters called, "Jealousy", "Mystery", "Romance", "Depth", and "Friends and Family".
The last part is called "The Final Word" with parts called, "Climbing the Mountain", "Checklist for Marriage", and "Kosher Sex in a Nutshell".
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on August 21, 2006
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.

I had many blessed "eureka" moments in reading his narrative, when my simply jaw dropped, saying things aloud like: "That's EXACTLY what I was thinking!" or "So I'm *not* the only person who feels this way?!" Reassuring in the extreme...

Ultimately, my aim has been to learn to become a better father, husand, lover, and partner. While there isn't ONE single book that encapsulates the skills required to do so, I'd have to say in the breadth of titles I've already read on the subject (Jewish, non-Jewish, and everything else in between), this one ranks rather highly up there. In a nation (the US) which seems to pride itself on its soaring (over 50%) divorce rate, books like Boteach's just *scream* out to be read. There is something dreadfully wrong in society in which sexuality is a commodity, and in which -- as Boteach notes -- there is little difference today between the genders which essentially levels the playing field (one advantage), but to the deteriment of the family unit (an even greater disadvantage).

I found myself dog-earing pages and note-taking during my read, something I generally avoid doing as it disrupts my flow. But like I said, Boteach's lines just pulled me in.

Five-stars. Because of this, I'd now like to read the rest of Boteach's books. The time has come.
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on 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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(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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on June 21, 2000
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 the occasion. So many people, including myself have wasted days, months and years in relationships where we wonder why we are not happy and yet continually look outside of ourselves and our marriages for fulfillment and then shake our fist at fate when the union doesn't succeed. This book reminds us like a hammer on the wake-up and get to know the person we have chosen to be in our life and to put the time in to succeed. Boteach has a great sense of humor and comes across as clear as crystal with his belief in humans and their ability to either sabotage a relationship or to keep growing and reinventing the love of their life. It gives me great hope for myself and future generations to know that Boteach and others like him are teachers on how to stay together instead of all the books on ,"Divorce...How to do it yourself! "
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on April 22, 2000
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 individual person really is special. At the same time, says Boteach, the way to cultivate love is to show those we love how truly special they are to us. In marriage, one way to show love is to save our sexual energy for our spouse alone. For sex has a special role in cultivating love. If we open ourselves to the magic of eros, we come to know our partners' essential selves. For during sex, words, wealth, professional success, fashion sense, you name it, are all irrelevant.
I would quibble with many of the details that emerge in Boteach's case studies, for (1) his perspective is definitely a masculine one and (2) he believes too strongly that committed sex will lead to love and that love almost always will solve serious marital problems.
But if you read the book in order to be set afire by its main point, and don't take it as a step by step manual for marriage, it's a GREAT read. Its magic stuck with me for weeks.
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on August 14, 1999
The masculine-feminine duality has a purpose. They are both sides of the same coin, yet in life, the feeling of this realization is fullness and its harbinger is lust. The achievement of this oneness is extatic, yet elusive. What I have just said were reflections distilled from Boteach's illuminating work on religiousness in sexuality. What his thesis boils down to is that we need a balance of excitement and stability in order to lead a satisfying life. The solution to this is an intensely honest (that means kinky, clingy, prudish, and wandering impulses are brought to light as part of the intimicy) union governed and contingent on a firm physical, emotional, and spiiritual committment (aka marriage). Sailing on the sea of this committment, the shipboard acitivites are free to be of virtually any activity; as long as it doesn't compromise the integrity of the ship. If the ship is strong though, it is surprising what stretches and feats can be accomplished. It will be more fulfilling than any other option. Enough of my metaphor. Boteach uses Jewish tradition in order to instruct couples on how to keep their marriages well oiled beautiful machines of enlightenment and integration of the spirit weaved through the flesh. The alchemy of the life well lived distills a self-evident elixer of pure goodness.
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on October 28, 1998
I loved this book, which beginning with the cover spoke in the language of intimacy and pleasure which I could understand. I'm not Jewish but surprised and encouraged to read about the treatment of women's sexuality in rabbincal tradition for centuries. The book not only emerged from a perspective of great respect for women but also an understanding of the profoundest needs - I think - of both men and women: for intimacy, acceptance, and freedom from fear. Although I would take some of the things he says on the, er, technical side (sex is better with the lights out, wear modest clothing in bed) I found the central thesis had - for me - the ring of truth and was - at some very deep level - profoundly liberating. I understand the Rabbi has come for some flak from his more conservative peers, but I think he has done a great service to in extending the wisdom of judaism to non-jews, and in particular to women, in a way which I for one greatly appreciate. I've lent the book to friends who say the same. Half a star could be deducted for the typos, the result of rushed editing, but the beautiful cover illustration makes up for that small irritant.
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on May 6, 1999
Shalom my friends. Have you ever wondered how to arouse your spouse after a long absense because of sickness, impotence,frigidity, or job and family pressures? Rabbi Shmuley Boteach teaches a recipe for passion and intimacy uses Jewish wisdom and spirituality to remove sexual taboos and fears that can cause us to withdraw from our spouse. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother.He shall cleave unto his wife and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 God's love /\ is like a mystical love triangle between husband and wife. The fire of God's love for us creates a true and lasting bond in marriage. As a husband I really enjoyed the intimacy and love that I received from my wife after we got done reading this book. I would recommend it for all married couples. It will bring a positive light to your lives together. Craig Staus
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on July 7, 1999
I'm not even Jewish, but "Kosher Sex" has had a dramatic impact on my personal attitudes and morals towards sex and relationships. Boteach's style of writing just made sense to me, impacted me, and made me want to make a change in the way that I was living. His chapters are organized and subdivided in a very comprehensive and understandable manner, starting with the basics of male-female friendship, and leading into dating, marriage, and families. By the time I finished this book I had no questions left unanswered and no question in my mind that what he was saying was 100% biblically backed. I can honestly say that this is one book everyone - single, dating, or married - will be glad that they took the time to read. Even if it does not have the impact it did on me, it will definitely make you think.
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