July 15, 2019
Latest News

Selling sex toys to ultra-Orthodox Jews

By Pablo Duer

Jerusalem, Jul 8 (efe-epa).- Talking about sex may be taboo in ultra-Orthodox Jewish society, but one couple is hoping to overcome that barrier in order to sell sex toys discretely so that Haredi couples don't run out of steam.

Limor and Dudu Kleinman, a couple who lives in the Jewish settlement of Tsur Hadasah on the outskirts of Jerusalem, have for years delved into issues related to sexuality.

Limor has a university degree in sexual therapy and Dudu has taken multiple courses on the subject.

About two years ago they decided to open their own business focusing on one group in particular - ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Their company, which they called "Ve-Ahavtem" - a Biblical expression in Hebrew meaning "and you shall love" - combines advice with the sale of erotic toys under the supervision of a rabbi who ensures the products conform to "Halakha" or Jewish Law.

Dudu told Efe their products comply with Halakha, whereby men and women have to be together and bring children into the world, and another commandment is that the man has to keep his wife happy.

In order for this to happen, according to Dudu, couples need to invest in their relationships, and Ve-Ahavtem provides the tools for that.

By tools, Dudu was referring to the sex toys they sell, which they call "pleasure products." All of them are certified medically and rabbinically, and are exclusively designed for use by couples and not individually, as the aim is to improve married life.

They pointed out that products for male masturbation are strictly prohibited in Jewish Law because it would lead to a waste of semen, something that should only be used for reproductive purposes.

They do sell weights to strengthen a woman's pelvic floor, a remote-controlled vibrator and rings to prolong an erection.

"In Judaism, pleasure products are 100 percent accepted. What is not accepted is what pornography uses them for because if you look into any regular sex toy store, you will see a lot of photos that don't match Jewish people's values like pictures of naked women or naked men," said Limor.

She added that what they were selling were their own products and they could not sell products from other brands as they depicted body parts, which went against their values.

The aim of pleasure products was to improve intimacy and not substitute a man or a woman, she said.

They said in order to establish Ve-Ahavtem, they had to face the challenge of negative perception surrounding the toys, especially among members of the religious community, something they managed to change with the help of rabbis and by separating pleasure products from pornography.

"What we did is taking those pleasure products and changing everything around them. As long as we take the pornography out of those products, it's all allowed and it's even sometimes necessary for some couples," said Limor.

One of the most important aspects of their business, considering the taboo surrounding sexuality among the community, is discretion.

The toys not only come in completely enclosed cardboard boxes, but couples can collect them from outside the door in order to avoid going inside.

Their clients range from young newlyweds to longtime couples.

Limor said women made most of the purchases and many couples approached them before getting married to prepare for the wedding night.

People come not only from the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Mea Shearim or Bnei Brak, but from other settlements and even Tel Aviv to the small private sex clinic at Limor and Dudu's house.

They also have Muslims clients who, according to Limor, come to them because their approach to sexuality is removed from the pornography that is abundant in conventional sex shops, which is forbidden in Islam.

For Limor, who seeks to play the role of a sex educator for adults, pornography is the worst sex teacher in the world, and it harms both religious and non-religious people by creating a world of sexuality that does not conform to reality.

Another topic the couple has been considering is the role to play on social media, which they feel has made people forget how to interact with one another, including talking about sexuality correctly.

To counter this, they offer games in instruction manuals encouraging couples to ask one another intimate questions that they would usually be embarrassed about asking. EFE-EPA


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