Not all sex is made equal. Sex is sometimes good and sometimes really good. So how does sex go from good to great? Many couples, guided by a whole genre of literature on the subject, focus on techniques, positions, and props. There is, however, another factor that I believe is incredibly helpful when it comes to great sex – timing.
As observant Jews, my wife and I practice niddah – we don’t have sex for a week following menstruation. This practice, over time, has introduced a sexual calendar into our married life. What does it mean to live by a sexual calendar? It means that the week following menstruation, a week that invariably includes the dreaded “Shabbat Niddah,” is a week of abstinence-fueled moodiness. It means that rather than having sex, my wife and I think about sex and talk about sex. We plan upcoming date nights and make sure to book our separate immersions at Mayyim Hayyim.
Having a sexual calendar means that the nights following mikveh are filled with what my wife has dubbed “righteous sex” – we have sex and we really mean it. There is nothing rote or routine about the experience. The sex is great. Of course, a week or so after the mikveh, the excitement usually fades a bit. We might choose sitcoms or books over swapping skin. We might find ourselves too tired from the day’s events to give it the old college try. At those times, I wonder how couples without a sexual calendar get things spicy again. Techniques, positions, props – I’m guessing these work well. For us, though, it’s all about timing. With each month, as the intensity of desire goes from fever pitch to gentle simmer, we know that it’s only a matter of days before we return, once again, to great sex.
Rabbi Benjamin Shalva serves as rabbi of Temple Reyim in Newton, MA. When not at Temple Reyim, he spends his time practicing yoga, watching films, and laughing with his wife Sara Shalva, his five-year-old son Lev, and his two-year-old daughter Avital. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he received rabbinical ordination and holds a Masters in Hebrew Letters, with a focus on Talmud, from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He also holds a B.A. from Vassar College, and graduate certificates from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, CA and the WUJS Institute of Jewish Studies in Arad, Israel.