Does Judaism Encourage Sexual Pleasure?

A question debated by many in the religious society for generations will be brought up for public discussion for the first time in a first annual halachic conference for women organized by the Puah Institute: Does Judaism encourage sexual pleasure?

Many religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews perceive the sexual urge as a symbol of material (or even brutish) passion, and believe that a person aspiring for spiritual elevation should overcome this urge, or at least “settle for less.”

The Puah Institute, which helps couples dealing with fertility problems, seeks to uproot this perception which its rabbis believe is inspired by Christianity. According to the institute’s rabbis, pleasure is a mitzvah.

Under the title, “Femininity, Relations and Motherhood,” the Puah conference will present two conflicting worldviews – one maintaining that the desire to enjoy sexual relations harms their sanctity, and the other asserting that sex is an inseparable part of the mitzvah.


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