There's a man in my bed: The first experience of sex among modern-orthodox Newlyweds in Israel

Ofra Shalev, Nehami Baum, Haya Itzhaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The first experience of sex is a significant life event for men and women. Studies investigating first-time sex focus largely on relationships at a young age and among teenagers, whereas studies of that experience in the context of marriage are extremely sparse and focus mainly on clinical population of unconsummated marriage. The authors explore the individual and mutual emotional effect of first-time intercourse among Modern-Orthodox newlywed couples in Israel. In-depth interviews with 36 men and women during their first year of marriage revealed unique challenges and difficulties related to sexuality in general and to first sex experience in particular. The findings indicate that first sexual intercourse is experienced by men and women as associated with emotional and behavioral difficulties, which appear to be rooted in the traditional nature of the religious Modern-Orthodox society in Israel. The authors explore reasoning and justifications for these challenges and detail different coping strategies-of the individual and of the couple. The findings might be relevant for other traditional societies in which couples experience sex only after marriage. The findings might also support professionals and sex therapists in addressing newlywed couples needs in similar traditional populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-55
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sex and Marital Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013


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