Parents who are part of the Halachic community must balance the messages children hear from the outside world with the Torah values they are taught at home and in school. How can we achieve this balance so that our kids respect the Halachic attitudes toward sex, while also growing into sexually healthy adults? Is there a way to use media in order to educate? How does our use of language convey appropriate or inappropriate messages? Join Talli Rosenbaum and Rabbi Scott Kahn for a fascinating discussion.
Masechet Berachot 24a:
אמר ר׳ יצחק טפח באשה ערוה למאי אילימא לאסתכולי בה והא אמר רב ששת למה מנה הכתוב תכשיטין שבחוץ עם תכשיטין שבפנים לומר לך כל המסתכל באצבע קטנה של אשה כאילו מסתכל במקום התורף אלא באשתו ולקריאת שמע
This source apparently says that a woman must be completely covered, to the degree that even her little finger is not a source of sexual arousal.
But read with nuance, this same Gemara shows that Chazal refused to allow men to objectify women, more than it defines the ways a woman must dress. Indeed, read properly, Chazal are actually promoting a positive body image for women.
Sexual development begins at birth & is composed of 3 components:
Summary of advice to parents:
- Teach children to be comfortable with their bodies – our physical selves should not be a source of shame.
- Use open candid language to speak to your children about sexuality according to what they are ready to hear. Their curiosity is an opportunity to raise sexual issues. Part of the development of a healthy body image is to use the correct words to discuss body parts.
- Use media as an opportunity to process what they observe.
- Acknowledge that touch is a basic human need.
Forthright and frank, yet respectful and sensitive, I Am for My Beloved: A Guide to Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples by Talli Rosenbaum and David Ribner will help couples enrich their marital and sexual lives, and maintain passion and intimacy within the framework of Jewish tradition.
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