Talking About Sex

December 1, 2007
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Ben Tepfer

In the course of my four years at a Jewish high school, there is one Jewish lesson about sexuality that has been constant: sex between a man and a woman unites the couple in marriage. According to that dictum, I have numerous high school friends who are “married” to several people. Look today at the youth as a whole; we are constantly being bombarded with sex in music, television, and the news.

But we also have the Tanakh, which teaches that sex is a holy act. In the Song of Songs, King David writes some of the most erotic poems that I have ever read in my studies in any subject. This is not to say that the Tanakh preaches fornication to lascivious teenagers, but rather describes sex as a most beautiful aspect of love. At least, that is the message I’ve received.

As beautiful as these ideals are, though, teenagers hardly take them into account when figuring out their own responses to sexual ethics and behavior. The big problem with teenage sexuality is that everyone is so afraid to talk about it. Rather than avoiding talk about sex, parents should focus on sexual responsibility and devotion; these are the true sexual ethics of the Tanakh. While some of my friends swear that they will wait until marriage to have sex, for others sex is just another thing to do. I fall somewhere in between. I am certainly not going to wait until marriage because I believe in passion and I feel that nothing should hold me back. Of course, I am only seventeen years old so one might ask: what do I know of love? Maybe not as much as someone older, but I know I think about my actions and recognize the beauty of a love that transcends the physical into something close to divine.

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Ben Tepler, a senior at Gann Academy in Waltham, Mass., enjoys playing guitar, participating in USY events, making films, and doing community service.

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