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Jews are known to have been more harsh, at least less “rational” in their attitude to masturbation[1][161].

These Jews have been located among the most sexually “repressive” in the world. “Since the sexes have been separated since childhood the anticipated sexual encounter following the marriage ceremony is a matter of great moment and anxiety” (Mintz, 1992:p64)[2][162]. “Ideally, neither men nor women have any sexual experience before marriage; because this area is rarely ever discussed, however, little information on the subject exists. On the Shabbes some Rebbes often obliquely caution parents to guard their children from committing the sin of masturbation. […] The Hasidic girl is carefully shielded from boys from her early years until her marriage. Matters relating to sex are never discussed. There is no preparation for the bodily changes that take place at puberty, nor is there much exchange between mother and daughter concerning marital relations” (Mintz, 1968)[3][163]. Still, young couples “are warned that the performance of the sexual act must be in the line of duty along with other religious observances, but at no time should it serve as an “abominable deed of passion and lust” (Poll, 1962:p56)[4][164]. Rubin (1972)[5][165] states:


“Both bride and groom have received instruction from their respective parent of the same sex regarding sexual experience, in spite of the fact that parents assume their youngsters to have acquired the necessary information from reading and hush-hush conversation with peers. […] Available evidence indicates little if any indulgence in masturbation, though transgression does not seem to meet with severe sanctions beyond strong disapproval or slight slapping of the offender’s hands. Similar behavior was observed with regard to heterosexual play, except that in this case control is accomplished by strict separation of the sexes, both within and outside the home, a separation that begins almost at birth [p126-7]. […] Boys are gradually introduced to the subject of sex in school, where, accompanied by a degree of embarrassment, they encounter it in the Bible, the Talmud, and the law codes. Girls, on the other hand, are formally kept ignorant until immediately before marriage”.


Against all odds, the author found “traces of autoerotic behavior among boys between puberty and marriage, but it is impossible to even guess at its extent”.

Thus, there appear to be few if any data on children’s sexual experiences.


“It must be noted that hasidic boys are, for the most part, separated from women (other than their immediate family members) starting at the age of three. Their contact with women, therefore, is limited. After Bar Mitsva (thirteen years of age), their daily routine involves sitting and studying for most of the day. No time is allotted for exercise or any other sort of physical release, which is seen as glorifying the body and therefore forbidden. Even non-Hasidic teenagers have trouble maintaining a healthy, balanced attitude toward their bodies and growing sexuality”[6].



Additional refs.:


-- Featherman (1995)[7][166]













Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1][161] Brim, O. G. et al. (1962) Personality and Decision Processes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p221-2, 223-4

[2][162] Mintz, J. R. (1992) Hasidic People: A Place in the New World. Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press

[3][163] Mintz, J. R. (1968) Legends of the Hasidim. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press

[4][164] Poll, S. (1962) The Hasidic Community of Williamsburg. New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, Inc.

[5][165] Rubin, I. (1972) Satmar: An Island in the City. Chicago: Quadrangle Books

[6]Geudalia, J. & Haber, L (2001) The Unorthodox treatment of an Ultra- Orthodox Adolescent., ASSIA – Jewish Medical Ethics 4,1:325-36 []

[7][166] Featherman, J. M. (1995) Jews and sexual child abuse, in Fontes, L. A. (Ed.) Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures: Treatment and Prevention. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc; Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc., p128-55