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Educational Approaches to SelfControl: Jewish and Psychological Approaches Towards Managing Sexualit


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Title: Educational Approaches to SelfControl: Jewish and Psychological Approaches Towards Managing Sexualit

Educational Approaches to Self-Control Jewish
and Psychological Approaches Towards Managing
Benefits of Self-Control
A Worthy Goal Importance of Self-control for
Success in Life
  • Preschool children offered choice between an
    immediate small reward and a larger delayed
  • Those able to wait became adolescents and young
    adults whose parents rated them as more
    academically and socially competent, verbally
    fluent, rational, attentive, planful, and able to
    deal well with stress

High Self-Control Linked to
  • Better overall personal adjustment, less
  • Ability to get along with others better
  • Better family cohesion
  • More trustworthy and consistent leadership

Benefits of Control
  • ???? ??? ? ???? ?
  • ?? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ????? ?? ????? ??? ????
  • Every month can be difficult to ???? ???? so
    man must learn even before he gets married how to
    create non physical intimacy

  • Rav Tzvi Yehudah Hacohen Kook
  • ???? ???? ???? ??????
  • There is a time with a focus on the physical and
    a time to focus on the companionship aspect of
    the relationship

Impediments to Self-Control
Secrecy Breeds Shame and Powerlessness
  • Secrecy breed shame, shame breeds powerlessness
  • Guilt that is characterized by pathological
    levels of self-blame is likely to paralyze- guilt
    that focuses on behavioral self blame is likely
    to energize

Perspective Nothing Tougher
  • ???"? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??
  • ??? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?????
    ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ???????, ???? ????? ????
    ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????????
    ????? ????? ???? ????????? ?? ???? ??????.

Need to be Doubly Cautious When Overcoming Human
  • ????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?
  • ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ???
  • Even Haezer 211 uses the term ??? ??? - in
    cautioning us to the need to distance ourselves
    greatly from inappropriate intermingling with the
    opposite sex
  • This double language seems to be reserved for
    situations where it is human nature to be drawn
    towards such activities- e.g. arrogance and lust
    for money (same lashon used for humility and

????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ? ?????? ?????
??? ??????
  • Fantasy is more injurious than the sin itself
  • Rashi understands this teaching to mean that
    thoughts of sin are more difficult to control
    than actually committing the sin itself.
  • ?????? ????? - ???? ????, ???? ?????? ?? ????
    ???? ????? ?? ????.
  • It is more difficult to control something which
    is not considered to be a problem in the first
  • One conclusion of Rashi's analysis might well be
    that the reward for controlling one's thoughts
    would be greater than the reward for avoiding an
    "actual" sin, following the principle taught in
    the Ethics of the Fathers
  • In accordance with the difficulty is the reward.
    (Mishna Avos 526)

Rambam on ?????? ?????
  • Maimonides, in the Guide for the Perplexed, has a
    radically different understanding
  • You already know the teaching "Thoughts of sin
    are kashe, more difficult, than sin." (Yoma 29a)
    I have a wonderful explanation If a person sins,
    it is generally due to circumstances which result
    from his being a physical creature -- that is, a
    person will sin due to the animal side of
    himself. But thoughts are the treasure of a
    person which follow his "form" (his image of God)
    and if a person sins with his thoughts, then he
    has sinned with his greatest asset ... because
    the purpose of the mind is to cling to God, not
    to slip below to the animal level. (Guide for
    the Perplexed 38)

On the Importance of Controlling ?????? ????? "
  • Therefore, if a person sins with his body, it is
    understandable because the body is physical, and
    therefore has all sorts of physical urges and
    animal instincts. The mind, on the other hand, is
    the manifestation of the image of God. To sin
    with one's mind is therefore a greater
    desecration than sinning with one's body.
  • Rabbi Ari Kahn

Recommendations Effective Ways of Thinking About
  • Mind-set
  • Goals, Monitoring, Attitude

Struggle as an Engine of Growth
Struggle as an Engine of Growth Vilna Gaon
  • ???? ??? ? ???? ??
  • ???? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ????
  • Take hold of instruction let her not go keep
    her for she is your life.
  • ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???
    ???? ????
  • ??? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ????? ??? ?? ????

How Goals are Framed Matter
  • Better performances are observed when people
  • Set themselves challenging, specific goals as
  • With challenging but vague goals
  • Goal-proximity effect (proximal goals lead
  • to better performances than distal goals
  • Goal attainment is also more likely when people
    frame their good intentions as learning goals (to
    learn how to perform a given task) rather than
  • Goals (to find out through task performance how
    capable one is
  • Focus on the presence or absence of positive
    outcomes rather than focusing on the presence or
    absence of negative outcomes

Power of Specific Goal Setting
  • Implementation intentions
  • Whenever situation x arises, I will initiate the
    goal-directed response y!
  • Being induced to think about when and where to
    write an essay as opposed to simply being asked
    to write an essay dramatically increased
    compliance (from 33 to 75)
  • Gollwitzer Implementation Intentions Strong
    Effects of Simple Plans American Psychologist
    1999 Vol. 54, No. 7, 493-503

  • It is exceedingly difficult to control behavior
    that is not carefully monitored
  • Breakdowns in self regulation are often
    associated with ceasing to monitor ones own
  • This can be done with regular cheshbon hanefesh
    activities or asking others to actively remind
    you of your goals

Threat vs. Challenge
  • When a task is viewed as one that can be a threat
    to ones self image or very essence the result is
    often not productive.
  • In contrast, viewing a task as one to be taken
    on, deemphasizing objective evaluation and
    encouraging people to do their best can result in
    challenge-related appraisals and physiology.
  • Thus perceiving an issue as a challenge rather
    than a threat results in
  • Greater persistence
  • More productive thoughts and problem-solving
  • More efficient physiological responses
  • Tomaka, J. Journal of Personality and Social
    Psychology 1997, Vol. 73,63-72, Cognitive and
    Physiological Antecedents of Threat and Challenge

Rechanneling Going from Passive to Active
  • Standard teshuva must give way to change in
    character some methods for doing this suggested
    by the shulchan aruch are
  • Learning Torah
  • Acts of chesed

  • ???"? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??
  • ??? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ?????? ?????
    ???? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ?????, ??? ???
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?????, ????? ??? ???
    ???? ???? ???? ??????? ????? ???? ?????? ????
    ????? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ??
    ?????, ?????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ????? ?? ????
    ????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ????

Regarding Change The Beginning is Toughest
  • ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?
  • ??? ??? ????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ????, ?????? - ???,
    ?????? - ???
  • Regarding controlling sexual appetites if he
    feeds it he will remain hungry, but if he starves
    it, it will be satisfied
  • Each time you restrain yourself, the tendency to
    act will be lessened

Controlling Thoughts
Self-Control Resembles a Muscle It Gets Tired
  • Self-control may consume a limited resource.
    Exerting self-control may consume self-control
    strength, reducing the amount of strength
    available for subsequent self-control efforts.
  • Coping with stress, regulating negative affect,
    and resisting temptations require self-control,
    and after such self-control efforts, subsequent
    attempts at self-control are more likely to fail.
  • Continuous self-control efforts, such as
    vigilance, also degrade over time.
  • The executive component of the selfin
    particular, inhibitionrelies on a limited,
    consumable resource.
  • Muraven Baumeister, Self-Regulation and
    Depletion of Limited Resources Does Self-Control
    Resemble a Muscle? Psychological Bulletin.2000
    Vol. 126, No. 2, 247-259

Practice Builds Up The Muscle
  • Like a muscle, In the short run, exertion makes
    self-control tired and diminishes its power in
    the long run, exercise makes self-control
    stronger and increases its power.
  • The inner resources required for
    thought-suppression was less readily depleted
    after 2-weeks of exercising self-control
  • It is good to exert self-control on a regular
    basis because in the long run, these exercises
    will strengthen self-control and make a person
    less susceptible to the depleting effects of a
    single exertion.
  • Muraven, Baumeister Tice (1999) Longitudinal
    Improvement of Self-Regulation Through Practice
    Building Self-Control Strength Through Repeated
    Exercise.,  Journal of Social Psychology, Vol.
    139, Issue 4

  • In order to avoid looking unnecessarily at an
    improper sight, concern and vigilance are needed.
    It seems that in order to maintain that concern
    and vigilance, one has to enter a mindset of 'be
    on guard', whenever walking outside, and
    certainly in the summer. However, can entering
    such a mindset backfire on the person, in that
    when an immodest image inevitably does appear,
    the impact on him will be stronger--for the
    worse--given his concern for avoiding such
    images? And if so, how then can a person
    strengthen himself so as not to look at the
    inappropriate images in the street, which
    requires overcoming the natural tendencies that
    draw him to look at such things?

Trying To Control Sexual Thoughts
  • When a person tries to suppress an unwanted
    thought a psychological system is established
    that serves two purposes
  • (1) Monitoring process automatically searches
    the environment for indications of the unwanted
  • (2) Operating Process uses controlled responses
    to override the responses that follow from
    detection of the unwanted thought
  • Dieter trying to suppress knowledge that there
    are tempting foods in the kitchen will watch
    television to distract himself- the monitoring
    system will scan the TV show for tempting foods
    while the operating system will actively override
    the temptation to go to the kitchen to eat

Role of Stress on Control of Thoughts
  • When one is tired, fatigued, or burdened the
    monitoring system is automatically engaged but
    there may not be enough effort available to
    engage the operating function
  • As a result the stressed individual will have
    greater sensitivity to environmental cues of the
    undesired thought but will not have enough energy
    to control these thoughts

Role of Depression
  • When a person does not feel positive about
    themselves they often need to excite themselves
    to trigger their endorphins to feel better
  • A common cycle is that when a person feels bad
    with what they do they try to escape from the
    behavior to make themselves feel good again they
    do the same behavior which made them upset in the
    first place.  
  • Depression can be a cause or a reaction to
  • Gemora in Eruvin after Adams sin he spent the
    next 100 years engaging in HZL
  • When a person cannot deal with what they have
    done they fall further into the problem

Is the Refuah Worse than the Machala?
  • The natural impulse to suppress exciting
  • may not serve us well. From the outset, thought
  • may be difficult because the thought may remain
  • accessible even as we try to suppress it, and we
    therefore become
  • excited in the very act of suppression.
  • Even if the thought is removed from our conscious
    attention, we may thus put ourselves in a
    position to be disturbed by the thought's
  • An exciting thought seems more stimulating after
  • (when we are idly thinking of other things and it
    suddenly intrudes
  • on our minds) than when we are purposefully
  • on it and know it is coming. There is thus the
    ironic prospect
  • that the suppression of exciting thoughts can
    intensify the very
  • excitement that we hope to avoid through
  • Wegner, The Suppression of Exciting Thoughts,
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
    1990, Vol. 58, No. 3,409-418

Dont Think of a Pink Elephant
  • Suppression of thrilling sexual thoughts found to
    be physiologically more stressful than purposeful
    thinking about sex
  • Suppression of exciting thoughts might be
    involved in the production of chronic emotional
    responses that heighten the intensity of the
    problem - such as obsessive preoccupations.
  • Wegner, The Suppression of Exciting Thoughts,
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
    1990, Vol. 58, No. 3,409-418

26 Randomized Clinical Trials of Primary
Prevention Strategies Aimed at Delaying Sexual
Intercourse BMJ (2002) 324 (7351) 1426-1434
  • Failed to delay initiation of sexual intercourse
    in young women
  • Did not improve use of birth control
  • Four abstinence programs and one school based sex
    education program were associated with an
    increase in the number of pregnancies among
    partners of male participants

(No Transcript)
?????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ?????
?? ???? ??? On the Importance of Not Completely
Pushing Away Negative Influences
  • Rav Hirsch says that ??? refers to Yitzchak,
    not Yishmael- Avraham was worried that without
    exposure to the real world negative influences of
    Yishmael Yitzchaks pure character would not be
    inoculated against such negativity

????? ?? ????
  • Yevamoth, 121a, relates an incident where Rabbi
    Akiva survived a shipwreck. When Rabbi Gamliel,
    who witnessed the event asked Rabbi Akiva how he
    survived, Rabbi Akiva answered
  • ???? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?
  • ?? ?? ????? ????? ??, ??? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??????
    ?? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ???,
    ????? ?? ????
  • "The plank of a ship came my way, and I bent my
    head to every wave that approached".
  • The lesson learned from this, says the gemorah,
    is that if a man is confronted with a force that
    threatens to engulf him, let him bend his head
    and not fight it.

Changing the Ways you Obsess Riding the Wave
  • Mentally step back and acknowledge that you have
    just started to obsess
  • Notice your emotional response to the obsession.
    Are you anxious? Scared? Ashamed?
  • Remind yourself that it is o.k. to have a
    momentary obsession
  • Reassure yourself at this moment that the
    obsessive content is irrational. Dont analyze
  • Change your emotional response to the obsession
    by taking specific actions
  • Write it down sing it, change the picture

Letting go of Your Worries and Tensions
  • Decide to stop the intrusive thoughts or images
  • Reinforce your decision with positive statements
    to yourself
  • Practice some brief anxiety reducing relaxation
  • Shift your attention toward a new activity

Supportive Statements to Help End Obsessions
  • That thought isnt helpful right now
  • Now isnt the time to think about it. I can think
    about it later
  • This is irrational, Im going to let it go
  • I wont argue with an irrational thought
  • This is not an emergency. I can slow down and
    think clearly about what I need
  • This feels threatening and urgent, but it really
  • I dont have to be perfect to be OK.
  • I dont have to figure out this question. The
    best thing to do is just drop it
  • I already know from my past experiences that
    these fears are irrational
  • I have to take risks in order to be free, Im
    willing to take this risk

Antecedent Focused Strategies for Regulation of
  • Situation selection- selecting aspects of the
    environment- people or settings best suited for
    obtaining better self-control
  • Situation modification actions aimed at altering
    the environment to modify the likelihood of the
    problematic response

Antecedent Strategies Continued
  • Attentional deployment attention and effort are
    directed at aspects of the environment that help
    achieve the desired emotional state
  • Cognitive change reappraisal of meaning from
    setback to feedback if efforts at control have

Questions to Ask
  • 1. What exactly is the major PROBLEM BEHAVIOR
    that I am analyzing?
  • Vulnerability -gt Prompting event -gt Links-gt
    Problem Behaviour -gtConsequences
  • Possible type of links Actions, Body Sensations,
    Cognitions, Events, and Feelings
  • 2. What PROMPTING EVENT in the environment
    started me on the chain to my problem behaviour?
    Start Day/hour___
  • 3. What things in my environment and myself made
    me VULNERABLE? Start Day/hour___
  • 4. LINKS List actual and specific behaviors and
  • 5. LINKS List new and more skillful behaviors

Dealing with Setbacks
Response Focused Strategies
  • Actively changing an emotional response after the
    undesired behavior has occurred
  • From setback to feedback
  • From threat to challenge
  • From characterlogical self-blame to behavioral

Mistakes as Learning Experience
  • What does this failure teach about future coping
  • Neurosurgeon study

Harm Reduction Overcoming Tendency to Give Up
  • Violating a zero tolerance rule can lead to
    greater disinhibition
  • ???? ??? ? ???? ??
  • ?? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ???
  • ????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?
  • ??? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ???', ????
    ??? ??? ?????, ?? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ???
    ????? ????, ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?????
  • Does this mean that it is permitted to be a
    little evil? No, it is like someone who eats
    garlic and gives off an offensive smell. Should
    he eat more garlic and give off even more of a

Sefer Chasidim
  • Sefer Chasidim- if is a person is at risk of
    doing a worse aveira like sleeping with a nida
    then it is preferable to do a smaller sin like HZL

  • 6. What exactly were the CONSQUENCES in the
  • 7. Immediate ______ Delayed_________
  • 8. 7. What exactly were the CONSQUENCES in
  • 9. Immediate ______ Delayed_________
  • 10. Ways to reduce my VULNERABILITY in the
  • 11. Ways to prevent PROMPTING EVENT from
    happening again
    the harm

Chain Analysis
  • In the course of a typical behavioural analysis a
    particular instance of behaviour is first clearly
    defined in specific terms and then a 'chain
    analysis' is conducted, looking in detail at the
    sequence of events and attempting to link these
    events one to another.
  • In the course of this process hypotheses are
    generated about the factors that may be
    controlling the behaviour.
  • This is followed by, or interwoven with, a
    'solution analysis' in which alternative ways of
    dealing with the situation at each stage are
    considered and evaluated.
  • Finally one solution should be chosen for future
    implementation. Difficulties that may be
    experienced in carrying out this solution are
    considered and strategies of dealing with these
    can be worked out.

  • It is frequently the case that individuals will
    attempt to avoid this behavioural analysis since
    they may experience the process of looking in
    such detail at their behaviour as aversive.
  • However it is essential that not to be side
    tracked until the process is completed. In
    addition to achieving an understanding of the
    factors controlling behaviour, behavioural
    analysis can be seen as part of contingency
    management strategy, applying a somewhat aversive
    consequence to an episode of targeted maladaptive

  • What environmental events or "states of mind",
    affective/mood states or biological factors) make
    the person more vulnerable to engaging in
    problematic sexual behavior?
  • INTERVENTIONS Contingency management,
    self-management skills
  • 2. THE PRECIPITATING EVENT Environmental
    Precipitants, Triggers, Cues, Antecedents
    Environmental events that precipitate the chain
    that leads to the problematic sexual behavior
  • Being alone- too much time on hands, feelings of
    boredom, sadness

  • Self Invalidation ---- "I can't stand this!"
  • INTERVENTIONS Increase self-validation, distress
    tolerance skills,
  • Emotion Dysregulation Shame/Panic, Sea of
    Dyscontrol/Active Passivity INTERVENTIONS Active
    Problem solving, exposure and response prevention
  • A) DYSFUNCTIONAL LINKS (Each thought, emotion,
    action, and event that linked the vulnerability
    factors and precipitants to the targeted
    behavior. A link is dysfunctional if it moves the
    client away from their long-term goals.
    Dysfunctional links might include any of the
  • Skills Deficits Skill deficits in mindfulness,
    emotion regulation, and distress tolerance
    related to problem behavior.

  • B) EFFECTIVE BEHAVIOR Secondary Targets to
    increase emotion modulation, self-validation,
    realistic judgment, emotional experiencing,
    active problem solving, accurate expression and
    non-mood dependency
  • Variables Specific to this Person (in addition to
    above) Any specific emotions AND/OR cognitive
    patterns, AND/OR action sequences that
    precipitate/support the targeted problem
    behaviours or inhibit/punish effective behaviours
    that could replace problem behaviours.

Adolescent Sexual Activity Challenge for
Educators and Parents
Adolescent Sexual Activity General Considerations
  • Poor family relationships predict premature
    sexual activity
  • Early sexual activity among teens is associated
    with early use of alcohol, and drugs and poorer
    social adjustment several years later
  • Grades fall significantly the year after the
    first sexual experience

National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent
Health JAMA 27810, 823-832 N12,118
  • Predictive of onset of risky sexual behavior
  • Perceived school connectedness
  • Study of top 20 vs lowest 20 schools
  • Parent-family connectedness
  • Parental expectations regarding school
  • Parental disapproval of early sexual behavior

Key Predictors Opportunity and Parental Values
  • Time alone with member of opposite sex Adolescent
    personal values- in part shaped by parental
  • Parental monitoring in context of good

  • As the amount of time invested in a particular
    relationship increases the expectation that
    sexual involvement will occur increases

Sexual Content on Television Kaiser Family
Foundation Report , February, 2001
  • Frog in beaker analogy
  • 75 of prime time shows contain sexual content
    (up from 67 two years earlier)
  • 84 of sitcoms contain sexual content (up from
    56 two years earlier
  • 10 of shows depict or strongly imply sexual
  • 16 of such scenes involve couple who just met
  • 95 of sitcoms do not make even a passing
    reference to the risks and responsibilities of
    sexual activity

Protective Factors
  • Parent-child relationship characterized by
    ability to turn to parents first for any problem
  • Belief that parents value abstinence
  • Time parental availability
  • Peer group that supports abstinence

Seeking Social Support The Talk
  • Embarrassments shouldnt paralyze it should act
    as a clue, helping detect what you are afraid of
  • Ask teen for their opinions dont only share yours

Questions to ask about Sexual Readiness
  • Are you doing this for yourself?
  • Do you feel rushed by your partner, the
    situation, or yourself?
  • Do you trust your partner, can you talk freely
    with him/her?
  • Do you only engage in sexual activity when drunk
    or high?
  • Would you be comfortable saying no even at the
    last minute?
  • Have you thought about the impact on your life
    and whether it matches your values
  • Sexuality can provoke larger questions about the
    nature of existence, the meaning of life

Multiplicity of reasons behind Adolescent Sexual
  • To prove lovability
  • Proof of adult status
  • Physical pleasure
  • Intimacy, expression of true love
  • Status in peer group
  • Relief from boredom, stress reducer

Public School vs Yeshiva
  • I came from a public school… Once I got to
    yeshiva, it all changed. the guys were holes.
    until the comments. since our school has 100
    kids, its impossible not to know everybody.
    pretty quickly i was getting lots of attention in
    regards to my body- even though we dress sniutly
    and all of that. i've had guys ask me to flash
    them, do jumping jacks, they grab my butt...
    comments upon comments of "wow, you look really-"
    pause, stare at the chest "-good today". when i
    was in public school, i NEVER had to deal with
    any of this. granted, i didn't look the same as i
    do now, but whenever i see my old guy friends i
    never get comments or anything, and when i told
    my best guy friend who is still in public school
    about this, he flipped out and went all "sexual
    harassment" on me. that is what this is, after

if you are a very attractive girl do something
about it, or just let it go cuz unfortunately its
bound to happen.
  • this does sound like a bunch of unnecessary crap
    that you are getting, but you cannot compare how
    your friends treat you to how guys who think you
    are hot (attractive) treat you. it sux that they
    do this, but, sorry to say, if you are a very
    attractive girl do something about it, or just
    let it go cuz unfortunately its bound to happen.
    i recently dropped a ton of weight cuz of
    college tennis, and i got the same ….so dont
    think anything of it. it sux, but it is part of
    the 14-19 culture.

my parents yell at me alot and make me feel
worthless, and he my boyfriendactually makes me
feel loved and like im worthsomething to someone
in the world.
  • My point is, i love him and without him i would
    be sad all the time and like miserable my parents
    yell at me alot especially my dad and make me
    feel worthless, and he my boyfriendactually
    makes me feel loved and like im worthsomething to
    someone in the world. now based on that, do you
    think i was wrong to go behind my parents back
    and go out with him anyway, when they say no? he
    makes me happy when im sad makes me feel loved
    when i dont. makes me laugh when i frown.

my bf left me after we had sex! omg! i feel so
  • I dont get the whole 13 years old shouldnt be
    dating thing. I dated a guy at 14 and fell in
    love. So i get wat your saying... Prove your
    parents wrong, show them you're responsible
    enough to handle a relationship. Make them
    understand that you really do love him... ) year
    later.. we see a post my bf left me after we
    had sex! omg! i feel so dumb..
  • THAT SUCKS!! But i no the feeling.. when the boy
    i lost my virginity to left me, i felt like ,
    i couldnt believe i bought into his about
    the future.. ger.. i get mad thinking about it..
    Like y do all the guys i seem to get with just
    want to get in my pants (well with the exception
    of one..) no wat i mean!?

  • I know in the Christian religion, your supposed
    to stay a virgin until you are married, but are
    their any laws in the Jewish religion like that?
    Lately I've been thinking a lot about waiting
    until I'm married, but on second thought, when im
    just a little bit older, i might be in love, and
    i might want to lose it to my first real love,
    even if we're not married. So i don't know
    whether to wait until Im married, or just until
    im ready, and in love. Is there something like
    this in the Torah? And what are you going to do?

  • I don't actually think there is anything in the
    torah about waiting until you're married to have
    sex (but don't qutoe me on that). In fact, sex is
    considered a mitzvah. On the flip side, I believe
    that contraceptives are prohibited because it
    says "Be fruitful and multiply" (this is why sex
    is a mitzvah). Personally, I feel that if the
    time is right, you should just do it (and please
    use contraceptives if you do). Sometimes you just
    shouldn't let religion get in the way of love.
    Just because it's prohibited to marry a gentile
    doesn't mean that you shouldn't do this if you
    love that person, and just because it may be
    prohibited to have pre-marital sex doesn't mean
    that you shouldn't if you really ARE in love.

An Absent Curriculum
  • Girls seem to be confused and pressured in sexual
  • A number of rabbis and educators in coed day
    schools have told me that girls complain that to
    the extent that the number one need of an
    adolescent is to fit in- they feel that they
    cant really be accepted by the boys in their
    school if they arent sexually active

  • A kallah teacher of large numbers of graduates of
    coed day schools reports that the young women she
    counsels seem jaded about sex- as she told me
    they arent particularly looking forward to the
    physical aspect of their relationship with their
    future husbands

Physical Self-concept Anorexia and Bulimia Much
More of a Problem in Our Community
  • At least two of the leading treatment programs
    for anorectic or bulimic girls in the NY
    metropolitan area have had to provide a kosher
    kitchen as part of their clinical services
    because the proportion of their population that
    keeps kosher hovers at around the 50 mark

Contextualizing from the Secular Literature
  • A survey reported in JAMA found that a
    substantial percentage of young adults wish they
    had waited longer before becoming sexually active
    as adolescents

Adolescent Sexual Activity General Considerations
  • Poor family relationships predict premature
    sexual activity
  • Early sexual activity among teens is associated
    with early use of alcohol, and drugs and poorer
    social adjustment several years later
  • Grades fall significantly the year after the
    first sexual experience

Forces such as sexual Content on television
(Kaiser Family Foundation Report , February,
2001) have become increasingly potent in recent
years. The following statistics provide just a
sampling of recent changes in external
  • Power of internet
  • 75 of prime time shows contain sexual content
    (up from 67 two years earlier)
  • 84 of sitcoms contain sexual content (up from
    56 two years earlier
  • 10 of shows depict or strongly imply sexual
    intercourse- this has been found to predict age
    of initiation of sexual activity in adolescents.
  • 16 of such scenes involve couple who just met
  • 95 of sitcoms do not make even a passing
    reference to the risks and responsibilities of
    sexual activity
  • A study done in 2004 documented that heavy
    television sitcom watchers are more likely to
    engage in sexual activity at earlier ages and are
    more likely to regret their early sexual
    experimentation once they reach young adulthood.

National Study of Youth And Religion
  • N3,370
  • Soul Searching The Religious and Spiritual Lives
    of American Teenagers,
  • Smith Denton, Oxford, 2005

  • Across denominations, are Jews more or less
    likely to convey clear messages about sexuality?

Job Congregation has Done Helping Better
Understand Own Sexuality and Sexual Morality
As Bettelheim (1984)commented,
  • "what cannot be talked about can also not be put
    to rest
  • Lighting up Brocas Area

Discussing Sexuality
  • Parents tend to consistently underestimate their
    childrens concerns about sex as well as their
    childs desire to talk to them about these
  • Make your values clear and explicit
  • Empathize but be clear about Dos and Donts
    while it can be hard to say no, I want you to
    say no. The longer you wait to have sex the
    better off you will be
  • I will always want you to talk to me if you are
    tempted to have sex. I will not punish you for
    those feelings, but I will help you resist them
    because it is safer for you to resist them

The Talk
  • Is not an event but a process and a mode of
    interaction with adolescent
  • If adolescent is restless and inattentive take
    this as a sign that they are not taking in your
    message- schedule another time
  • Adolescents understand less then you think- main
    source of their information is often equally ill
    informed peers
  • If uncomfortable discussing sex, say that up
    front my teachers didnt talk to me about sex
    so Im a bit uncomfortable bear with me, Id
    still rather discuss this than say nothing

The talk (continued)
  • Embarrassments shouldnt paralyze it should act
    as a clue, helping detect what you are afraid of
  • Ask teen for their opinions dont only share yours

General Considerations Continued
  • Normalize
  • Sex out of commitment versus fun pull of culture
    vs individuality and meaning
  • Early relationships and risks for premature
    foreclosure power of early sex to distract you
    from who you really are