Sex-Therapist Advocates Masturbation For Orthodox Women Despite Taboo

'FemFeeling' Has Received Endorsement From Several Rabbis

Breaking Taboo: Unlike other “kosher” sex guides, “Femfeeling” advocates the virtues of female masturbation.
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Breaking Taboo: Unlike other “kosher” sex guides, “Femfeeling” advocates the virtues of female masturbation.

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Published December 12, 2013.
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(JTA) — When Max Grunberg wants to know more about the sex lives of the couples he treats, he asks the women to describe what happens after they return from the mikvah.

Grunberg, a Dutch-born couples therapist specializing in the Orthodox Jewish community, needs to ease clients into talking about sex, an activity many religious couples undertake within hours of a woman’s monthly immersion in a ritual bath. Even in the privacy of a therapist’s office, most are still too hesitant to speak about sex directly.

But as a determined campaigner for the rights of religious women to experience sexual pleasure, Grunberg wants his clients to go way beyond merely discussing sex.

In a move that some say reflects a growing openness in Orthodox circles to sexual coaching, he has obtained the endorsement of prominent rabbis for a guidebook he has written aimed at enhancing women’s pleasure during sex and, more controversially, through masturbation.

First published several years ago, Grunberg’s book, “Femfeeling,” is part of a growing number of sex resources aimed at the Orthodox. But unlike other kosher sex guides, “Femfeeling” advocates the virtues of female masturbation, an activity many in Orthodox circles view as immoral.

“It is my mission to make as many people as possible realize that women have the right to sexual pleasure,“ said Grunberg, a baby-faced 61-year-old who lives in the central Israeli city of Ra’anana. “It will make for happier people and a better world.”

In the guide, Grunberg provides drawings of a woman’s erogenous zones but stops short of giving explicit instructions about how to masturbate. But the book leaves little doubt about his support for the practice, telling readers they can use the guide on their own or with a partner and encouraging women to pursue personal sexual fulfillment.

Grunberg says masturbation allows women to better know their bodies and communicate their preferences to their husbands.

“In Jewish tradition female masturbation is allowed when it’s for exploring oneself and one’s sexual feelings,” Grunberg said. “It is valuable for gaining knowledge about the different parts of your anatomy through touch, which is needed to be a sexually knowledgeable women in order to communicate without fear your sexual needs to your partner.”


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