by Emily Taitz

Trade-Off: Sex or Scholarship?

In the Middle Ages, one of the domains in which Christian and Jewish social values differed was that of sex. The value of marriage, and the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, never diminished in the Jewish community in spite of the strongly negative opinions about sexuality emanating from the Christian church. In fact, the Middle Ages was the time of the earliest Jewish sex manual, detailing how men could give women pleasure, thus ensuring conception. By contrast, the Church often suggested that couples who make love with too much pleasure were actually guilty of the sin of adultery.

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