[There’s been quite a discussion going on in the lookjed forum on sex ed and the problems of Nidda. Below is the two cents I offered on the topic. Time will tell if it’s authorized and if it makes a difference]
I’ve been following this discussion with much interest. All sides have made good points.
I wanted to add my own thoughts as someone who deals with the reality of being a “late single” Orthodox Jew.
1) Why is the focus almost exclusively on the woman’s gratification, with no discussion of the male side of the equation?
I thought that the point of marital relations was that both sides look to please each other and make them happy, not just obsess about their own needs, important as they are.
2) An issue that isn’t discussed enough here are the ridiculous expectations of sex one gets from the popular media. Anyone watching TV or movies on even a semi-regular basis would get the impression that anything less than mind-blowing relations is bad.
This could have dangerous consequences for the stability of many marriages, especially if the husband or wife thinks that the main purpose of marriage is this perpetual sexual bliss. The same is true if any one spouse thinks that their happiness, however subjectively defined, is the sole criterion for whether a marriage deserves to exist. Such a marriage would not likely survive the inevitable slumps and lows that come with being with the same person for several decades.
3) Sex is not just about physicality, it’s also about the foreplay and the attraction during times when there is little physical contact. There is a whole literature on the internet and in books about increasing the other side’s attraction through things like increased confidence, methods of conversation and so on. Perhaps Nidda could be a time for increasing those parts of the attraction.
I think it would also behoove educators to familiarize themselves with this literature and not just with the specific instructions on sex itself. May I recommend the following for a start (this is mostly for men, I’m sure Elana can recommend good books for women):