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Hebraic Attitudes Toward Sex

Fred Rosner, MD
JAMA. 1971;217(13):1865. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190130067024.
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To the Editor.—  I fully agree that "our attitudes concerning nudity, virginity, fidelity, love, marriage, and 'proper' sexual behavior" are "intimately entwined with moral issues, [and] religious and cultural value systems." However, I wish to point out several inaccuracies in Marmor's communication " 'Normal' and 'Deviant' Sexual Behavior" (217:165, 1971). Laws against abortion did in fact exist among the ancient Jews, and are described in detail in several recent publications.1-3 Premarital sex is absolutely prohibited in all the Codes of Jewish Law (Maimonides, Karo, Alfasi, Asheri, and others). Incestuous and premarital prohibitions in the Bible include not only sexual intercourse but also kissing, fondling, and embracing.Sexual activities in Judaic thinking are considered a normal and healthy part of married life to be enjoyed at regular intervals. There is no anti-sexual or ascetic tradition in Judaism. In fact, sexual intercourse is a basic right of the wife. However, rape,

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