I Am For My Beloved – new review

Rabbi Simcha Feuerman ● NEFESH The International Network
of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals

Imagine one day, on the eve of the Pesach Seder, Eliyahu HaNavi issued a special hora’at Sha’ah, commanding all the Jews to eat a Ham and Cheese sandwich while reclining at the Seder instead of the usual Matzah and Maror.  Even the most devout believers would have great difficulty fulfilling this unusual directive without choking on their food. This is what marital intimacy can be like for a newlywed religious couple. All of the sudden, that which is taboo, is now permitted and even an obligation!

Drs. Ribner and Rosenbaum’s guide for marital intimacy is an important countermeasure to forestall and assist religious couples in their journey toward intimacy and sexuality.  Ribner and Rosenbaum offer clear, no-nonsense instruction and education on the basics of emotional intimacy, physiological and anatomical facts, communication in the bedroom, common challenges, sexual dysfunctions, and life cycle concerns such as pregnancy, post-partum, illness, and aging for married couples.

This guide uses illustrations of body parts and others aspects of marital intimacy that are clear and direct enough to provide couples with much needed information to avoid confusion and secondary dysfunction from anxiety and shame (this book has adult content and is not for children!).  Yet, sensitive to religious concerns for modesty, the illustrations are pencil and line drawings which provide enough precision for purpose, but not in an indecent manner. 

Notably, the authors also cover more modern challenges facing religious couples such as pornography and various forms of cyber-infidelity.  In addition, discussion of various bedroom enhancement techniques and gadgets are also explained. The authors provide information on all topics that one can find on the internet in a much less modest form, however in a manner that is concise and tasteful for religious persons.  Knowing that there are ranges of halakhic opinions regarding bedroom conduct, and beyond that, due to general cultural influences, individual practices that vary considerably from what may have been discussed in typical chosson and kallah instruction, Ribner and Rosenbaum offer information without halakhic guidance — this they leave up to the couple to seek out on their own.

I highly recommend this book for religious married couples who seek a tasteful source for education about marital intimacy that is distinct (but not necessarily contrary) to religious instruction.

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