The hole in the sheet and other myths about sexuality and Judaism

David S. Ribner, Peggy J. Kleinplatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


For more than two millennia, Jewish communities around the world have found themselves the focus of speculation, misinformation, fear, derision and, at times, envy regarding the sexual beliefs and practices of its members. Over the centuries, some of these perceptions have become powerful enough to reciprocally influence how Jews perceive themselves. This paper seeks to shed light on some of the better and lesser well-known myths which surround sexuality and Judaism. The initial concentration is on a representative view of sexuality, intimacy and related gender expectations as discussed in traditional Jewish sources such as the Bible, Talmud, and Midrash. We then examine a number of myths which have become part of the legends surrounding Jewish sexuality, and look at the origins, where available, of this "common wisdom" and provide source material supporting more accurate information. While this paper focuses on the stigma and preconceived notions regarding Jewish sexuality, our point has application whenever we as sexual health professionals are called upon to educate or practice in the value-laden realm of human intimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-456
Number of pages12
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Culture
  • Judaism
  • Religion
  • Sexual myths


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