Touch not, lest ye be...married?
We've heard of no sex before marriage, but this seems a little excessive.
Thu Mar 5 2009
I am a 25-year-old Orthodox Jew. The girl I am dating is shomer negiah, which is a religious stricture that forbids any touching, from hand holding to kissing to more (once married you can do anything). I really like her as a person and connect to her on many levels, and while she tells me she is a sexual person, masturbating on a regular basis, I will have no way of knowing what I am in store for, especially as someone who likes to be adventurous and experiment with fetishes in the bedroom. How can I tell if she is a sexual person and if we will connect? I really don’t want to be in a marriage that is sexually numb or repressive.
I did a little research on the whole negiah concept, and although it began with a laudable goal—namely to get men to stop thinking with their dicks and to start appreciating women for more than their sexual attractiveness—in a modern context, it certainly does make it harder to find a 100 percent compatible spouse. You two, however, have already found one possible solution to the problem: dirty talk. The fact that your girlfriend was able to open up about her masturbation habits is an excellent sign. It means that although she takes her religion seriously, it hasn’t completely cut her off from her natural human desires. I would definitely keep pushing the conversation into sexier and more fetish-oriented territories to see how she reacts. And this probably violates the spirit of the religious stricture, but technically there’s no reason the two of you can’t have a masturbation session together as long as you’re both just working with your own junk. If she agreed to do this, you’d learn a lot about just how sexual she really is. As it turns out, there are a couple of other exceptions to the negiah rule: If a woman is in a life-threatening situation, it is perfectly okay for a man to touch her during the rescue (I know this is extreme, but keep this in mind: a snakebite “down there” would require the venom to be immediately sucked out); it is also okay for a woman to be touched by a man if it’s during the course of some professional procedure—say, a medical examination, or a really hot massage (would it kill you to go to massage school?). Okay, I’m way off track now. Stick to the dirty talking, and possibly the masturbation session, and then just have faith that the connection you feel on every other level will inevitably also manifest itself in the bedroom.
I’m a 19-year-old college student and, up until a few days ago, I had the biggest fetish for much older men. I went on a dating site and found a man in his mid to late forties whom I e-mailed with for over two months. Thing is, he saw this as a sugar-baby/sugar-daddy arrangement, but all I wanted was a normal relationship. We finally met each other and it went downhill from there. The moment I met him, a feeling of dread washed over me. He showered me with presents (mostly books, gift cards to my favorite stores) and kept insisting that he had “no expectations.” I held my ground and told him that I was not interested in engaging in any sexual activity that night. I felt vulnerable the entire time and was insanely paranoid that he might try to rape me. When he left the hotel I took the liberty of walking around the penthouse suite he reserved for me, and found lube, condoms and small towels in the bedside drawer. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but that discovery made me feel dirtier than I already felt. I now spend a majority of my time thinking about how disgusted I am with myself (even if nothing physical happened). At my worst, I cry about it. I’m worried that I might need some serious therapy to actually get over this. Furthermore, I don’t know what the proper etiquette is for ending this short-lived affair. Do I give back all the gifts he gave me? (I can’t bear to even look at them.) What should I do?
First of all, you should stop being so hard on yourself and just be thankful that you escaped unscathed and having learned a valuable lesson. Meeting up with strangers is a dangerous business. And although your intentions may have been to simply meet a nice guy to date, you made some really bad decisions along the way. Meeting at a hotel penthouse suite? Um, that’s what governors do when they want to get their prostitute sex on. Bad decision. Not having a game plan for getting out? Bad decision. Not being clear about the fact that you weren’t in this for a sugar daddy? Really bad decision. You felt dirtier than ever because that dude was trying to turn you into a prostitute for a couple of books and some gift cards. I think you should definitely send all the stuff back and sign up for a few sessions of therapy to figure out how you managed to get yourself into such a bad situation.
Speaking of bad situations, here’s a reader response to the advice I gave to a woman whose “boyfriend” took advantage of her inebriated state to force himself on her sexually. Let’s see where I went wrong, shall we?
Part of why I like your column is that you own your shit when you’ve gone down the wrong path. A few weeks ago you advised a woman who had been date-raped to confront her assailant because she “owes it to [herself] and every other woman this scumbag may come in contact with.” That’s a lot to put on someone who’s just been through such a huge fucking ordeal. Yes, this guy needs to be totally accountable for the horrible thing he did. But on the other (more important) hand, this woman was just traumatized by this guy and it’s not her responsibility to do anything other than take care of herself. Anything else can be left until later.
I couldn’t agree more, and if I gave the impression to the contrary then I thank you for setting me and everyone else straight. Now back to more frivolous subjects:
Every other night my neighbor wakes me up around 3am having intercourse. He moans worse than a porn star. And every thrust from his buttocks slams his bed into the wall. This move makes my bedroom quake and causes things to fall off the shelves. What should I do? Confronting him seems awkward, and it might be unfair to keep him from having sex.
Au contraire: Confronting him seems like exactly the thing you should do. Well maybe not confront, per se, but if you’re passing him in the hallway a little “Can I talk to you, wink-wink?” is in order. You may want to even couch it as a compliment to his cocksmanship, but you need to tell him to (a) try to keep the moaning down, and (b) figure out how to prevent the headboard from banging against the wall. He probably has no idea he’s waking you up, and there’s no reason you have to suffer for the sake of his orgasms, so damn the awkwardness and start mediating a solution.
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