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February 06, 1987 - Image 84

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-06

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Has the fear of sexually
transmitted diseases
changed the way singles
regard sex?

S ex.

It was in the battlecry of
our contemporaries in the
1960s: "Make love, not war."
That chant and directive led
a whole generation into a new lifes-
tyle, a "sexual revolution," as it was
dubbed, where men and women,
without benefit of marriage could in-
dulge their sexual needs freely.
Now, two decades later, much
has changed the rallying cry of the
drop-out, drop-acid, war protesting,
psychedelic generation. First,
they've grown up, graduated from
college and become responsible work-
ing adults, pursuing alternate pleas-
ures in things material. More impor-
tantly however, is the increased inci-
dence of sexually transmitted dis-
eases (STDs), particularly the
always-fatal AIDS, as well as
chlamydia, herpes, syphilis and
Are singles of the '80s rethink-
ing their sexual freedom? Has suc-
cess in the workplace taken priority
over the desire for sexual activity?
Has the fear. of sexually transmitted
diseases frightened singles into
exclusivity or celibacy? What does
Jewish tradition dictate? What are
the trends?
According to Jewish tradition,
the only allowable circumstance for
the practice of sex is marriage. Ac-
cording to Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz
in his book, Choosing a Sex Ethic: A




Local News Editor

Jewish Inquiry, the Jewish prescrip-
tion for sexual relations is as follows:
"Judaism considers sex God's gift and
procreation His command. It consid-
ers marriage the proper context for
intercourse and makes it a prescribed
religious duty. With such a high
value given to marriage, Judaism
would thus seem to side with those
who see it as the necessary condition
for sexual intercourse."
Rabbi Robert Gordis, inLove and
Sex: A Modern Jewish Perspective,
says that premarital sex undermines
the marriage relationship. "If mar-
riage is to survive in spite of all its
liabilities, it must be endowed with
one unique attribute characteristic of
it and of it alone — it must be the only
theater for experiencing the most in-
timate interplay of love and sex .. .
Premarital sex transforms the sexual
act from being an expression of the
highest level of intimacy and love
into a run-of-the-mill sensual experi-
ence, casual or irregular, available at
any time and with any partner."
At the same time, Rabbi Gordis
says some of the "joy" inherent in
sexual relations among married
couples is lost when practiced with-
out benefit of chuppah because the
partners are anxious about prevent-
ing conception. "When the act of sup-
reme intimacy takes place outside of
marriage, it must inevitably be bec-
louded by concern and anxiety, in-
stead of bringing total joy and release

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