Sex & Dating in the Holy Land

Everything you need to know about sex, dating, relationships, and the single life, right here, right now

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Tel Aviv has got it all: sex, drugs, and rock n roll...but most importantly, sex. While there are plenty of fish in the sea, it can be tough to reel in the perfect catch worthy of spending your entire Shabbat with. Nonetheless, it's important to put yourself out there, whether that be at one of Tel Aviv's top pickup bars or at an awkward speed dating night laced in romance and regrets. That's why we've rounded up everything Time Out has on dating, relationships, and being single–from the scandalous to the dark & twisty–to guide you on your ventures. Et voilà: the good, the bad, and the ugly truths of sex & dating in Israel.

The single life

Single and ready to mingle: how (else) to navigate Tel Aviv's nightlife while single
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Single and ready to mingle: how (else) to navigate Tel Aviv's nightlife while single

[a continuation of 'single and ready to mingle' part 1...]   Every day, young people from all over Israel migrate from their safe homes to single bedroom apartments, with old beds, smelly refrigerators, and dreams of forming a punk band with a female drummer to keep them warm at night. But the biggest dream of all – as represented through generations of pop culture from "Annie Hall" to "Sex and the City" – is to fall in love in the big city...or at least gain a fair amount of sexual experience that you can fondly recall to your frightened grandson in the future.    Today, it seems as though the opportunities for meeting people are endless; the bars magically appear in every corner of the city like baby cockroaches, dating apps dominate the Smartphones of every self-respecting 8-year-old, and Facebook has long since redefined what was once called "self-representation," whereby hitting on someone now merely constitutes "liking" one of their selfies-with-a-cat.   But alas, some would say that Tinder and other dating apps seem to keep us farther away from each other. Personally, I miss the good old 90's, when you could ditch remedial math class just to hang out at Dizengoff Center and get to know your future boyfriend in a poster store of soft metal bands.   So I decided to take one for the team and go out on an investigation on the scandalous streets of Tel Aviv grilling innocent single bystanders about their most embarrassing dating stories, and their favorite dating ap

The 21 toughest things about being single in Tel Aviv
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The 21 toughest things about being single in Tel Aviv

As we learnt from our speed dating article, being single ain’t all sunshine and lollypops (or free meals and multiple orgasms to be politically correct). It’s a mad world out there, especially for those lone wanderers still looking for Mr. Right (or as the wise Carrie Bradshaw once put it: Mr. Big). Here are a handful of reasons why it sucks to be single in the White City.   1. A sloppy one-night stand with the cute boy from Jerusalem turns into a weekend-long event (since buses don’t run on Shabbat and he’d rather “spend time with you” than brave a sweaty, over-stuffed sherut ride back).   2. The third date qualifies as an appropriate time to meet your date’s parents over a family Shabbat dinner (second if they really like you).   3. Hearing about the incredible apartment your married friends are looking at in the city center — one they can actually afford because they're splitting rent — while you’re paying double for a studio in HaKerem. You thought rent was expensive in Manhattan?   4. Because Tel Aviv is small, you keep bumping into your exes, only to find out that each of them has recently gotten engaged. There’s a reason you blocked them all on Facebook.   5. There is always some beautiful bride-and-groom combination taking wedding photos on the beach at sunset. All you want to do is go for an evening run without being reminded of just how dreadfully single you are.   © Shutterstock   6. Netflix recently got a new feature that not only suggests movies

Let's make a date

The need for speed – my first time speed dating in Tel Aviv
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The need for speed – my first time speed dating in Tel Aviv

It was a regular day at the Time Out offices (typing, sneezing and dreaming of lunch), when my co-worker suggested the speed dating night that she had seen somewhere on Facebook. I had just broken up with yet another boyfriend and thought the concept was absolutely hilarious.   When I found out that the event was set at the Hipsters new headquarters: Beit Hapsanter (piano house), I knew it was fate. Speed dating for snobbish hipsters that don’t have money, use Tinder ironically and would never admit their loneliness, yet cry themselves to sleep? I just had to investigate. If not for myself, then for the magazine.     © Ariel Efron         My editor-in-chief sent me off with an assignment to participate and a(n empty) promise that love awaited me around the corner. Then again, she's an ex-model, and as kindergarten socializing taught me: God favors the pretty ones.   For me, modern dating is like shopping on eBay; you can choose you product in the internet up to the most specific details: color, size, price and if he emotionally connects to Gilmore girls. You dream about it, and develop hopes for days. Then, when you finally get to meet for the first time, it’s always a disappointment.     © Ariel Efron         A few days before my first speed date night, the nerves started to kick in, so I called in for backup: my old friend, Tamari, whom with I've shared many lovely memories of drunken strolls down Allenby Street, like the time we physical

Basic instinct: Tel Aviv nightlife's top five pickup spots
Nightlife

Basic instinct: Tel Aviv nightlife's top five pickup spots

You can wander along Dizengoff Street, the Tel Aviv Port, or Rothschild Boulevard and come across endless alternatives to Tinder-ing, but when time is of the essence, zone in on one of these tried-and-true pickup spots - all of which are guaranteed to be hot zones for flirty shenanigans and midnight barstool make out sessions. Here’s a look at the best pickup bars and clubs that are part of the Tel Aviv nightlife scene.

Locals on love and other drugs
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Locals on love and other drugs

Since Valentine’s Day is really just an excuse to dole out the shekels on last-minute kitschy gifts, over-priced multi-course meals and uncomfortable lingerie, we decided to profile 10 locals on the stuff everybody actually wants to talk about: kinky fetishes, dating deal breakers and where to get drunk on V-Day.  ■ Photos by Ilya Melnikov     The Sex Pot: Adi Sasson   © Ilya melnikov       Age: 28 Profession: Telecaster for radio station 103; Manager at Rothschild 12 Relationship status: Single and livin’ it up (“I’ve been single all my life”)   How do you gauge if you want to spend time with someone?  First we have sex, and if it’s good, we’ll see. When was the last time you had sex?  Yesterday. I don’t remember his name. Weirdest sexual experience?  I had a threesome with my two best friends. In the middle of having sex the two of them got into a fight over something. Needless to say, we’re not friends anymore. Deal breaker? Ugly shoes (Crocs, Teva, those nasty brown boots, etc.). If a guy is wearing good shoes, I’ll totally sleep with him. When did you lose your virginity? 18.  How many men have you slept with?  Maybe a million. Most romantic date? Once a guy drove all the way to Tiberias to pick me up for a date in Tel Aviv [it’s a 3.5 hour drive].  What happened? We had sex twice. Once in the car and once back at my apartment. Do you believe in love?  I did, but only for a short time. It always has an end. Valentine’s Day plans?  Last y

Small country, plenty of fish - @whitecityboy (s)exposes gay online dating in Israel
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Small country, plenty of fish - @whitecityboy (s)exposes gay online dating in Israel

If there's anything good about so many available dating sites and apps, it's that online dating is no longer considered taboo. Of course it's annoying when our friends cling to their phones obsessing over a potential date, and sure, it's not easy to concentrate on all the beauties Israel has to offer while traveling around, when the "incoming message" folder is on fire. We blush, we explain ourselves, we might even say a white lie or two, but let's face it: Israel might be a small country, but there are plenty of fish in the sea, especially when it comes to gay dating apps. 
 The Lovebirds "Not into hookups - only serious guys!" - says the description on their Grindr profile, which of course most people won't read at all. Unwanted "xxx pics" and booty calls are part of the game, but these guys often express how much they loathe gay dating society, they refuse to engage in casual hook ups, and if they find out you are a tourist they won't even engage because for them separation means complications. Their profile picture shows a nice guy wanting to share love - but their high expectations and lack of spontaneity often pushes them away from finding the one who they could make the dream come true with.
 The Playful Couples Poor ever-busy Tel Aviv couples with overrun schedules, simply not having the time to even squeeze in a quickie between a brunch and a meeting. They are forced to look for convenience outside of their relationship. Some of the long term partners have a rep

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Date night

The most romantic restaurants in Israel
Restaurants

The most romantic restaurants in Israel

Whatever the reason – whether in desperate need of an escape from the children or looking for a pre-theatre prix-fixe in Neve Tzedek – these romantic restaurants in Israel will surely satisfy your hunger and get you in the mood. Five-star quality chefs, fine Israeli wines from wineries near and far and sensational cuisine from seafood to Italian are just the start. Add the arousing atmosphere – from panoramic views of the Golan Heights to candlelit rooftop restaurants in Jerusalem – to the table, and you’ll never want to return to reality again. Book a sitter, find a dog watcher and make reservations at one of these romantic restaurants. And, just in case, make sure the sitter’s schedule is free because if dinner goes well, you may be out all night.

The best places to wine and dine in Neve Tzedek
Restaurants

The best places to wine and dine in Neve Tzedek

There is something absolutely enchanting about Neve Tzedek. Perhaps it’s the natural Parisian charm, enhanced by French tourists on every cobblestoned street corner; perhaps it’s the ancient Israel feel, being Tel Aviv’s first ever neighborhood, or the notion that the top Israeli dance company hides at its center. For us, it’s the top quality Tel Aviv restaurants and romantic wine bars sprinkled along and around Shabazi Street. Whether you’re looking for sustenance before heading to the newest Naharin creation or simply into a change of pace, these Neve Tzedek establishments are tailor made for your enjoyment. Plus, don't forget to grab gelato after the show at Anita's, Tel Aviv's best ice cream parlour.

Together forever(?)

10 relationship arguments you'll have at least once in Israel this summer
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10 relationship arguments you'll have at least once in Israel this summer

It's hot. You're bothered. The insatiable Middle Eastern heat has not only put a damper on your style, it has put a damper on your relationship as well. While these may not be relationship deal breakers, you're puppy love is bound to be interrupted by casual 'tiffs while braving Israel's long, drawn-out summer. Don't ditch your partner just yet. Buckle up, and take a deep breath because you're in it for the long haul. Just remember: what doesn't kill you, makes you (both?) stronger.   The Clammy Palm Predicament. There's nothing more romantic than walking hand-in-hand along the beach with the Mediterranean sunset as your backdrop, right? Wrong. Trying to hold onto your partner's sweaty, moist palm is more cringe-worthy than the word 'moist' itself. What did I do to deserve this?   The 'Bussing It' Battle. One of you has had enough of the broiling heat, the other refuses to spend NIS 5.90 on a five-minute bus ride. No one will win.   The Sunscreen Squabble. One is positive they won't burn, even if it's Eilat and the sun is ten times stronger. The other insists on a coat of spray, a thick layer of SPF-50, and 30 minutes of waiting for it to soak in before leaving the hotel room.   The Ice Cream Standoff. While one partner desperately wants Anitas gelato, the other just can't will themselves to cross the line of fire...aka screaming children + stick chocolaty fingers = a white T-shirt's worst enemy.   The Florentin Fight. One of you wants to hit the tourist-packed beac

Coupled up
News

Coupled up

From intercultural relationships, to differences in age, race and religion, how relationships function in a world grown inarticulate about intimacy is something well worth exploring. Israel’s particular cultural landscape can be overwhelming and finding out how couples from different backgrounds date, mate and relate in such a diverse society is positively thrilling. Here's a host of “mixed” couples (half Israeli/half non-Israeli) on how they make it work: SARAH VANUNU, 32, FROM SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, MEDIA RELATIONS AND PR ELI VANUNU, 38, FROM HAIFA, ISRAEL, XOPHONIST  "Oooooh, I tell you what,” Sarah Vanunu says, sitting in the late-December sunshine, smoothing her jeans over her knees. “You told me on the first date,” she turns to her husband Eli, “that you would know the person you would end up marrying a week after meeting them.” We’re sitting around their kitchen table in the heart of Florentine. “And it happened,” Eli’s face lights up, “I proposed after eight days.” It’s Tu B’shvat 2004, and Sarah’s a week away from finishing her six-week backpacking stint on an extended Birthright tour in Israel. She’s at a jazz gig in Jerusalem when she meets Eli, “so tell me three things about yourself, two truths, one lie,” Sarah recounts Eli’s first instructions, and they sat playing this game back and forth all night. They managed to cram what normal couples do in months of dating into eight days: they travelled to Sinai, went for dinners, and visited his family in Haifa for Shabba

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