Well, marital sex too, to be fair.
“I think that kids and adults in the Y.U. and Orthodox communities are raised with a large degree of discomfort and awkwardness with the opposite sex,” says Alan Goldsmith, a Yeshiva College senior.
Because sex is supposed to only take place within the context of marriage, he says, people often view any day-to-day interaction with the opposite sex as inappropriate. “Rabbis and parents must encourage a healthy outlook on sexuality within the framework of halacha,” or Jewish law, he says. “We have to avoid demonizing sexuality.”
Sounds good to me.
The plan is to develop programming for high school and college age orthodox youth addressing such things as healthy self image, gender issues, the holiness of sex, and communication within a relationship.
According to Dr. Michelle Friedman, a psychiatrist…at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah…the primary challenge facing the Orthodox community on sexual issues lies in the discrepancy between the explicit sexuality of modern secular culture and the ideals of modesty and restraint in the Jewish religious tradition. Ignorance of Jewish views on sexuality often lead to misperceptions that cause undue hardships, Friedman notes.
“When you educate, you normalize,” she says. “People tend to be more restrictive when they don’t know. They assume a negative stance â€“ and that’s not often what Judaism is about.”
Hmmm, very interesting, are they implying that maybe the law isn’t as strict as some would think? In any case, kudos to YU for addressing it head on.