A Jewish Woman’s Quest for Orgasm
Last Sunday at the Boulder BookStore, Jewish author Mara Altman did a reading and book signing for her latest and greatest nonfiction novel: Thanks for Coming! Sponsored by SoulFood Boulder, discussion leaders Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder and Rabbi Josh Rose collaborated on this event, hoping to bring radical Jewish culture to Boulder.
Goldfeder and Rose succeeded in their quest—Altman’s reading was unabashedly “radical”. Wearing a loose ponytail and long bangs, the 28-year-old Bohemian beauty read excerpts about her journey towards personal pleasure and orgasm. Though her language was far from modest, Altman’s reading selections titillated the packed audience. Weaving in vivid humor of her voyage towards climactic pleasure, Altman daringly interviewed her grandparents, engaged in bio-electrical feedback at an orgasm commune in California, and enjoyed anal play and massage with a personal masturbation coach. Both Rabbis finally took large, simultaneous sips of water as she described her Israeli Birthright trip as “Spiritual Gonorrhea.”
Attempting to moderate the public discussion, Rabbi Gavriel and Rabbi Josh peppered the audience with the essentials of how Judaism intersects with sexuality. Basically, our religion and culture perceive pleasure as a Judaic obligation. While the Talmud candidly addresses sex, it does so only in the context of a heterosexual, marital contract. As the audience chuckled over Altman’s imagery on oral sex, the Rabbis added balance by emphasizing Judaism’s use of modesty of dress and speech as a symbol of the sacred.
From here, the conversation moved towards a public dialogue about the humor in “coming.” Sex is one of the most vulnerable topics in American culture. While Judaism celebrates sexuality and pleasure, the topic is still somewhat shrouded in sacred silence. To talk about sex in a public forum can create embarrassment—a discomfort that is most often normalized by laughter and mockery. Even so, the message of Altman’s book resonates with women of all ages. The female orgasm can be a woman’s best friend, but until she finds it, orgasmic pleasure can be mysterious, frustrating to find, oftentimes unsought, and only recently accepted by modern society.
Ultimately, Thanks for Coming! chronicles Altman’s journey toward orgasm, yet the real beauty of this book is how she learned how to come into herself as a sensual and empowered woman.
As a sex therapist and educator, one of the most common issues with which women individually struggle is anorgasmia—the inability to orgasm either alone or with a partner. Because of the prevalence of this issue, I have collaborated with a dear colleague, sex therapist Deb Rubin, LCSW, to host a workshop called “Becoming Orgasmic”. This WOMEN’S-ONLY workshop will teach you to become orgasmic alone or with a partner.
Part one of this four-week session will take place Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:15 OR 6:15 to 7:30 PM in February (the 2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd) at the Treehouse in central Boulder.
This workshop is a process group that offers women tools and techniques for home use. ALL AGES are welcome. Brought to you by The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy.
There are only eight women per session, so be sure to reserve your spot by calling 720-331-3354 or send an email to workshops@TheIntimacyInstitute.org.
Have a Sexy Shabbos!