Sunday, March 18, 2012

Still a Virgin

If you are one of the people who thinks I whine to much you will not like this post so do not read it.

After my last post I was strong for a while. It helped very much that I had made my decisions about what I want to do. The decision to have sex if an appropriate chance falls in my path helped because at least I know who I am and what my choices would be. I do not any more have the weight of confusion on me. If a man comes along who could be my husband I will go down that path to it's fullest. And if a man comes along who could be a good sexual partner for me I will go down that path without being confused about what I want to do. I have decided and that feels right.

It does not feel good to realize now many months later that perhaps neither of those opportunities will ever come into my life. I may never have a chance to make the choice.

I am ready for a "friends with benefits" situation but do not know how to arrange or ask for such a thing. The men who are my friends are too religious for me to ask this of them and besides if they were attracted to me I assume they would have wanted to date me. I do not want to hear from another man I respect and like that he is not attracted to me.

The men who are not my friends but might be open to a sexual relationship that is non-religious men ( I have met some from internet dating) freak out when they find out I have never had sex. They do not want the responsibility of being my "first" or they assume I must have strange sexual issues they do not want to be involved with, which might be true but I do not have a way to find out.

Some readers warned this might be the case, they warned that men in their 40's who are not religious, by the time they reach their 40's they do not necessarily want just sex anymore they want a real relationship, and the idea of a relationship with me feels too intense for them especially since religion is still very important to me.

I do not have the social or sexual tools to solve this problem. Like I said before I do not want to have sex with someone I will never see again or someone I have to pay. I do accept that if I do not meet someone within those limits I will just have to be a virgin when I die. I would rather be a virgin than do something outside the limits I know would make me happier. But it is hard to accept that I do not know how to find someone within those limits. I feel like a baby flailing around with no idea how to do things that come naturally to everyone else.

Also, I have not found someone to date (as in a real relationship that involves love and maybe later marriage) either. It is not easy to be an Orthodox woman in her 40s and it is even more difficult if you are not slender enough. I am offered to be set up perhaps twice or three times a year and usually the matchmakers start with an apology that they know the man does not meet even my few basic criteria. I usually agree to meet the man anyway or at least speak on the phone because I want to be open minded and I do not have many choices but like I have said before I do not want to get married just for the sake of being married, I want to get married because I love the person and he loves me, and. . . well I am trying to be open minded but it is very very difficult.

I am realizing that there is a very very real chance that I might never know in this lifetime what it feels like to be fully in love and that I might never know in this lifetime what it feels like to be in a full physical relationship with another human being. No matter how much I want it there are some things I might never know and never experience. I feel ugly and unwanted and I cry myself to sleep often even though most people who know me during the day would never know that.

I remember my parents telling me that life is not fair. Only in the last few months I realized more and more what that means. There is no response to it. There is no answer. Simply, life is not fair.

Update a few days later . . . . I have gotten some very nice emails from readers about this post. Each one nicer than the next. Thank you. The email made me realize the question I have. Exactly what should I say? If you are an otherwise Orthodox man who maybe is also a virgin or maybe has had one or two partners but in any case is very private about these things . . . or if you used to be Orthodox and now are not . . . or if you were never Orthodox but you are meeting an Orthodox woman you met through a dating website . . . what should someone like me (a woman you know from the community or maybe a pretty close friend . . . or someone you have met once or twice because you were set up or met online) say to bring up the subject of sex and see whether you might be open to helping each other be less lonely and sexually frustrated? How can I bring it up and still have my dignity if the man is not interested either because he is not attracted to me or because he is too religious to say yes? What if he is someone I have to see in the neighborhood whether he says yes or no, so I would feel awkward if he says no? People are telling me to be calm and natural but I have no idea what words to use in different circumstances. You can leave a comment here or send an email to but I hope you will leave a comment so that other people in the same position as me can see it too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

(I wrote this many weeks ago but for various reasons did not post it right away).

In the few days after I posted the last post I got about 1,000 visitors a day. I want to thank and for sending so many people to my blog. It is nice to get attention. Also the people who came here from

I also got some traffic from other Jewish blogs:,, and

The truth is that the Orthodox community is the audience I really hope to reach with this blog. When people come here from metafilter or reddit and tell me how terrible religion is or that I should "just have sex and get it over with already" I appreciate the visit and the concern but that is not the people I hope are listening. It is interesting that once the Jewish blogs started sending me traffic the nature and tone of the comments here started to change.

The people I am trying to reach are Orthodox people who might be teaching their students or children or youth group members about being shomer negiah. I want them to know and understand the possible consequences and keep them in mind when they speak or teach. The people I am trying to reach are people who are like what I used to be, young shomer negiah people who think that older singles who stop being shomer negiah are not really religious enough or not committed enough. I want them to know and understand how much harder it is as time goes by and how much I regret being as judgemental as I used to be.

Anyway it was interesting to me to read the hundreds of comments left here and at other blogs and the emails people sent me. Also it was very strange to be the person people are talking about, reading about myself as other people made comments about me. Very strange! Anyhow here are some responses to comments that came up here and there.

You have serious psychological issues.

Of course I have serious issues: in addition to having issues like anyone else (including married people) I have the additional issues that come with being celibate my entire life. But I do not think that the most serious of my issues are what prevented me from finding a husband. I think the fact that I did not find a husband, and have had no sexual release whatsoever with another human being, is what over time caused my more serious issues.

Anyway I know many many wonderful single women whose issues are no worse than those of married people. There is a known problem in the Orthodox community that many fine women have a hard time finding a husband. Yes I have issues but I do not think my issues are so awful that you can blame my singleness on them.

You've never had a relationship past two dates? You have issues.

You misunderstood my post and have not read this whole blog. I have not had a second date in the last few years but yes I have had boyfriends in the past. (Those relationships were shomer negiah).

Do you have an active social life?

I have friends I spend time with and I often go out and do new things where I meet new people.

Do you live in New York?

I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether to answer this. I am extremely protective of my identity and want to remain anonymous but of course saying that I am from New York or Baltimore or Jerusalem could still mean that I am any one of thousands of people.

The real reason I do not want to answer this is that from the emails I receive it is obvious that there are many many Orthodox people in exactly my situation. So in some ways I actually like it that I could be anybody because really I could be anybody! If you think about the Orthodox women you know who are single and older I could be any of them. I am not an isolated case. I like that people are worried about their neighbors who might be sad. We should be worried about each other. Not poking into other people's business but thinking and caring. So if not answering this question leaves it in your mind that maybe I am after all your friend in Toronto or Monsey or Passaic or Brooklyn then I think that is a good thing.

I am not answering it just to satisfy the people who want to set me up. I do not and will not date anyone who knows I am the writer of this blog, nor will I tell anyone who I am besides the three friends who already know and who I trust. If you are upset that I am giving up chances to be set up then please pass along the favor and set up (with thought and care) any of the single Orthodox women you already know. Like I said it might be me. If not I will be happy to think that other people are getting set up on good dates because of my blog.

Just have sex already.

The people who are telling me to "just" have sex are people coming from a completely different culture from mine. Like I said I appreciate your viewpoints but you do not understand where I am coming from.

Just hire someone and get it over with.

I have written that it is important to me not to feel cheap. One difficult thing about my situation is that I feel unattractive and undesired. I can think of few things that would make me feel worse than feeling that once I decide to have sex I need to pay someone to do it because no one I like would do it for free. That is depressing.

This comment implies also that virginity is a burden to be cast off, a chore to do as soon as possible rather than procrastinate. If that works for you than great but personally if I am going to have a sex life I would like to put some thought and care into what actually I am comfortable with and what kind of experience I would feel good and safe about.

Having sex with a "friend with benefits" would not solve your problem of being lonely and wanting a loving long-term relationship.

That is true. I have thought about this a lot and understand that even if I am in a sexual relationship with someone I like and respect, if I do not love him then there will still be a certain loneliness. But I no longer feel I can count on finding someone to love so I am consciously making a decision that I would rather live at least without the sexual deprivation. I would rather be lonely and sexually active than lonely and sexually deprived.

Also having a friend with benefits or any other type of no-love-involved sexual relationship does not mean I can never fall in love in the future.

You are obviously very picky, wanting "a like-minded man (who was also socially normal, intelligent and somewhat decent-looking, at least to me." How many men have you rejected? If you just give up the idea of finding someone out of your league, you can get married.

This is very frustrating to me because I am one of the least picky people! I did not say I want to marry a man who is a famous model and has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and is a standup comedian and exactly shares my culture and religious views in every way. I want someone who is decent-looking to me, in my eyes. There are many kinds of men who are attractive to me. There are men who other women find very unattractive who I think are sort of cute. I would like to be with someone who has basic conversational skills and is not a bum. Yes I have rejected men because they were downright rude or bizarre or very seriously mentally ill and not managing it well. I have rejected men because they have been married three times and I do not want to be wife number four. I have rejected men because we literally did not have any languages in common, or he smelled bad or because he spoke in a bigoted manner about gays, black people and successful women.

I do not want to get married just for the sake of saying I am married and I certainly do not want to spend my life sharing a home and a bed with someone who is missing some common decency. No matter what issues I have I still deserve to be happy and like I said I do not need Mr. Out Of My League to be happy.

The fact that you are nervous about "sleazy" or "oily" men just goes to show that you have a lot of problems.

As the authoress of a blog about sexual frustration I get many emails from men who proposition me – a stranger on the internet. From the language and tone of many of the emails it is clear to me that I must be careful not to give the impression in my real-life dating of being a virgin who is just dying to have sex. There are many men who would like to take advantage of that situation for their own titillation. It is one thing to be honest about my past and my issues and my current wishes with a respectful and respectable person. It is another thing to open myself up to the possibility of being taken advantage of by unsavory people who are more excited about the idea of deflowering an Orthodox virgin than they are about actually being in my company. I do not at all think all men are sleazy but from the emails I get it is obvious that I must be careful.

Please do not sully your neshama. After you have been pure for so long, how could you give it all up now for just a few moments of pleasure?

This is the flip side of "just get it over with already." You are assuming that my virginity is a commodity and you certainly have not read this whole blog.

About my neshama, I have written here before that I feel deeply that my neshama is already scarred. After a certain point the loneliness and sexual frustration and sense of betrayal and disappointment and anger led to a point of no return. I can never again be the young naïve person who believes that keeping mitzvos, particularly avoiding premarital sex somehow protects me from tarnishing myself. Actually I feel that I am missing an important part of life and am inclined to believe truly that Hashem as a loving and compassionate God will understand that I did what I could for as long as I could and have reached the breaking point. You cannot blame a child who is just learning to add for failing a calculus test and Hashem simply cannot blame me for not wanting to be celibate any more at the age of 40. If this is a test then it is simply too difficult and sooner or later I was bound to fail. My understanding from many comments here is that I held out much much longer than almost anybody could ever expect. More importantly, I held out as long as I personally could (and could not). I have reached my potential and passed it. I am finished.

I think that the people who leave comments asking me to remain pure (oh I really do not like that word) are either young or married or both. You cannot imagine what I have gone through. Or if you do then you are a stronger or more faithful person than I am and I admire that but I am not you and you are not me.

As for giving up my purity for a few moments of pleasure, you do not understand that my hope is to find someone with whom after some practice I will have many many many moments of pleasure. And if he leaves my life eventually then I will find someone else nice and have more and more pleasure and on and on. That is my intention right now. (Also I hope that along the way I will find someone to love and marry. But like I said at the age of 40 I no longer assume or expect that to happen.)

You should daven more. If you daven with all your heart, Hashem will listen to your cries.

I think most people suggesting this are young or married or both.

Do you think that I have not cried my heart out in shule, at home, at the Kosel? For over 20 years? If Hashem has been listening then He has been answering "no" and like I said I am finished. If I cannot get what I need with God's blessing then I will just have to get it anyway or I will end up in a mental institution or dead or just desperately unhappy for the rest of my life and that is not acceptable to me.

This is what I think is interesting about the people who think that I am single because I have issues or because I need to pray more, and the people who think that I would not be planning to have sex if I had been taught Judaism better or had more faith in Hashem. It seems to me that you are trying to find reasons to explain why a person who is nice and sincerely religious could end up where I am now. I think people like to tell themselves "this could never happen to me because I do not have such personal issues like her" or "this could never happen to my daughter because she is beautiful and NJG sounds unattractive" or "I for sure will get married because I am davening for it with all my heart" or "even if I never marry I will never have sex because I am a good Jew and I can be stronger than NJG." (If you can, again good for you)

The point of this blog, what I want teachers and parents to know, and young singles who are maybe making career choices or other decisions with the assumption that they will get married soon is that we do not always get what we want. Do not you tell your children that "life is not fair"? Well it is not fair and we have to live with that. No matter how hard you daven for something there is no guarantee you will get it. No matter how much you believe in Torah there is no guarantee that you will always feel happy and belonging and healthy living a Torah life. And there are some people, few, who have the fortitude to keep living that way (the people who are gay and stay celibate come to my mind) but also there are strong people, good people, people of faith who eventually just cannot do it anymore. Those people need neither praise nor pity but just understanding and acceptance as people and as Jews who are doing their best.

You should talk to a different rabbi, someone who will really inspire you and show you a way to think about your problem differently. Someone who will give you the strength to keep going without having sex.

Without going into details, I know many many inspiring rabbis from across the Orthodox spectrum and many communities and I have read all the Feldheim books and such and I am sorry but after a certain point there is little inspiration that can make up for falling asleep alone every single night year after year.

If you want to recommend a rabbi or female teacher who has always been single and is 40 or older and has found a way to be really really happy with that then have them email me (I mean that sincerely) but it has become so empty to me for a rabbi who has been married for 30 years to tell me how beautiful my suffering is to God. What used to have meaning to me now sounds condescending.

We were not given mitzvos to feel good. We were given mitzvos to serve Hashem, no matter what.

I accept that which is why I never had sex as a teenager even though I was a healthy normal teenager . . . or in my twenties . . . or in my 30s . . . and like I said if someone can remain celibate but happy enough to function then I admire that. But also like I have said here most people can NOT live without sex. It is just as important as food and water and air. I am not talking about avoiding a tasty nonkosher food or watching TV on Shabbat or even my parnassa. I am talking about a basic need. I cannot serve Hashem if I am so depressed that I cannot get out of bed or if I spend literally all day wanting to cry.

I am davening for you every day to find your bashert.

Thank you! I appreciate that very much.

If you are going to have sex, do not set your expectations too high. It is not always great, especially at first, and you might get emotionally hurt sometimes. But that is part of life and the price you pay to have great sex with great people.

Thank you. I knew that but it is good to be reminded. I will keep it in mind.

If you have sex you will regret it; women cannot help but become emotionally involved.

This assumes all women are alike but I will go with it and acknowledge that as someone who always put importance on sex and wanted to save it for marriage this could certainly become a problem for me. I might have a sexual relationship with someone and then feel devastated when it ends. I also expect that I will feel disappointment to be doing this with someone I do not love and probably some shame at having had premarital sex because after all I have been taught a certain way all my life.

I have thought about this a lot. Over all if you do the math I do not think that in this worst-case scenario I would be less happy than I have been. Sometimes to win rewards you have to take risks. I understand there will be times I will feel sad but since I am often already sad right now I think I have little to lose and a lot to gain.

You should have a baby with artificial insemination or adopt one. That will make you happy.

Yes I would like to have children but even in the best of circumstances getting pregnant at 40 or going through the adoption process and then spending years raising a child is a long and exhausting not to mention expensive process.

This is not the best of circumstances. I would be raising a baby by myself, on one income, with not much support from my busy and far flung family and friends. I have respect and admiration for women who do this and support the idea of Orthodox women having babies on their own but I do not think that becoming a single mother on purpose would make me happy, I think it would make me exhausted and in debt.

You should have a baby. That will take your mind off sex.

I have never heard such a crazy reason for having a baby.

You should adopt a child or do more chessed. In the merit of your actions, maybe you will get married.

Another ridiculous reason to become a single mother! Yes if I adopt a child it would be a beautiful thing and a wonderful way to make the world a little better. It would also like I say be expensive and stressful and (more important for your point) isolate me from the single's scene. I am not going to improve my social life if I have to get a babysitter to go on a date or to a single's event. I think I would be a good mother but under these circumstances it would be irresponsible.

For other older singles considering adopting or conceiving a baby I want to say that if you have the emotional and financial ability and a good support system and it is something you really want to do I support that.

As for doing more chessed how do you know that I am not already spending much of my time doing chessed for different communities? It is like praying, I have done that. I have enjoyed doing nice things for the community and for individuals but it is not a magical charm that leads to marriage.

Unattractive people find partners. You must have other issues, or you just need some self-confidence.

Perhaps. Having self-confidence is hard when so much is stacked against you or you have just been so unlucky in love. And like I said earlier I know I have issues, everyone does, and I am always trying to work on them.

I want to say here that I do not come across in real life (I think) as a pity case. I do not walk around with my head hanging down. People who meet me, especially at work, probably think I am very self-confident. Some of the most depressed people come across as the most undepressed in real life. But I appreciate your point.

You are probably fugly or really, really fat. That is why you are having so much trouble, so I do not understand why people feel sorry for you.

This may goes under the category of "people looking for reasons that my situation will not happen to them." It is usually said dismissively as in "what are you all worked up about? She's probably really gross looking."

Let us assume for a moment that I am in fact "fugly" or "really really fat." Do you really mean to suggest that people who are ugly or very fat do not deserve to be happy? That there is no reason for us to expect a healthy, loving relationship?

It is especially depressing to see this comment on Orthodox sites without anyone arguing against it. The hypocrisy is so painful to me, to see what the values in our community really are when people can hide in the internet.

You should lose weight. Just go to the gym.

Been there done that. Anyone who puts "just" and "lose weight" into the same sentence has never I think tried to lose a significant amount of weight. However I do appreciate the point that making effort to be healthy is important and will help me be more attractive to some extent.

You should try masturbating.

I do. I have written about it in my blog. I imagine that having sex with another human being is on a different level.

Religion is just awful/ not true/destructive/a lie

I disagree. Religion has been a meaningful and enriching part of my life for almost all of my life.

Like I said I do not expect people who are not religious to understand nor are they the intended audience for this blog even though I appreciate your coming here and sharing your words.

Your blog is so honest/nuanced/well-written/interesting/ thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Thank you!

Not having sex has ruined your life / I feel so bad for you, your life is wasted.

Remember that this blog focuses on only one part of my life. Yes there are things in my life that are hard. Being depressed is awful. But my life is not over and it certainly is not a waste just because I have never had sex. Here on this blog I am voicing one particular and awful aspect of my life but like I said I do not consider myself a pity case except maybe in this one area.

I am sick of your whining. Get a life.

Like I have said I do not walk around whining about being celibate in my real life. This blog is the only really open forum I have for whining. If it bothers you then you do not have to read it!

You made your choices. Take responsibility for them. You are not a victim.

That is true. As I have said being shomer negiah was meaningful and enriching for me for a long time. I chose to be Orthodox and I chose to be shomer negiah and I chose to assume certain things about how my life would be. The only thing I truly truly regret is that I did not take more practical action 6 years ago around the time I started this blog. It has taken me 6 years to go from saying "I cannot take this any more" to saying "I am going to do something about it." Six years is too long to be pondering without making a practical change.

I think you must be gay.

I assure you I am most certainly not.

I am a dating coach / rabbi / nice person who listens well. If you want to meet, let me know.

You may post your contact information in my comments and perhaps other singles in my situation will contact you, and maybe me.

Can I date you?

That is nice but I will never ever meet a man under circumstances where he knows that I am the writer of this blog. Can you imagine? My date knows that I am a virgin and all about my past relationships and all these heavy things about my depression and sexual frustration and how many vibrators I own . . . and I do not know anything about him? That would be very weird and very much open me to a situation of someone assuming they really know me or someone trying to take advantage of what they think they know about me. It would be too strange.

I would be happy to have sex with you.

I am not interested in accepting offers for sex from strangers on the internet. It is one thing to say join a dating website to meet new people and talk with them about sex when I am ready but another to accept sex from an anonymous person who reads my shomer negiah blog. Also a special "no thank you" to all the men who wrote to me telling me how well endowed they are and how talented they are in bed.

I am unhappily married and would be glad to have sex with you. I have had many affairs and we can keep it really discreet.


Here is a link to a website where single and unhappily-married Orthodox people connect to find sex partners . . .


You should become a pilegesh (concubine). It's a real thing, honest.


Here is my story with sex or religion or both . . .

I have received so many moving and sad and thought-provoking stories. I am so happy that people feel safe emailing me their own stories. But also I am so sad for all the people out there who are so unhappy.

One thing I have learned to appreciate is how much better off I am than the people who are unhappily married. So many people wrote to me saying how horribly lonely it is being married and still feeling alone. Or being married and still never having sex. Oy my thoughts go out to all of you.

You sound like a lovely person. I hope you find what you are looking for. Best of luck to you.

Thank you so much.

Why don't you blog more often?

I blog only when I have something new or meaningful (I think) to say about the topic of this blog. There is no point repeating the same complaints and things over and over again if nothing has changed. Thank you all again for coming here and reading what I have to say. Until next time . . .

Monday, February 28, 2011

Theory vs. Practice

It has been a long time. I wish I had something substantial to say about how my life is different now – for example, that I am seeing someone, or engaged, or married – but unfortunately none of that is true. In fact, I have not had any sort of relationship since the one I wrote about 5 or 6 years ago. Many dates, but nothing that led to anything worth writing about.

However, there have been some changes in my approach to the issues of negiah and sex, at least in theory, so I thought I would write a new post. I know some of you are interested in the application of this halacha and how it actually affects people in real life, so I want you to know how it is affecting me.

(Also I want to apologize to people whose comments waited for many months or even years before I approved them. There was a batch that I did not see until now.)

I am now 40 years old, and I have never had sex. I have "made out" with one man, and that was more than 5 years ago. I am trying to deal with it with as much humor and grace as I can – I do not go around complaining to my girlfriends, for example, and I try to keep busy so that my life is not all about feeling sorry for myself – and for the most part I am still a normal member of society even though I do sometimes succumb to deep sadness.

But I am angry, even though I cannot always explain who I am angry at. Perhaps myself. Perhaps life. Fate. God? It is difficult to shake the feeling that I was so incredibly naïve to internalize the idea, when I was younger, that if I acted a certain way and had certain very solid and rooted, wise values, that a like-minded man (who was also socially normal, intelligent and somewhat decent-looking, at least to me) would think I was wonderful and would want to spend his life with me. How innocent I was, how stupid, not to realize that no matter how "religious" a man may seem on the outside, no matter that every Friday night he sings "sheker hachen v'hevel hayofi," if you are not pretty enough nothing else matters, not really, not in dating.

The internalization of the fact that Orthodox people are every bit as superficial as everyone else has shaken my love for the community, and by extension for the laws that govern it. So much of what I value about the Torah was related to family life. The kind of Shabboses I wanted to spend with my own children, the way I want to celebrate holidays with my family, the values and memories I would like to share with a husband and pass along to future generations.

Without any of those things invested in it – if my observance of mitzvos is only for me – then it all starts to feel more annoying. Shabbos is annoying – lonely, boring, and annoying. Holidays are time consuming, boring and annoying. Purim, for example, is coming up. Take away the children and Purim is just hearing the megilla again and giving food packages to a couple of people and having a big meal with relatives I do not particularly feel like seeing, especially when they have had too much to drink. I would actually rather go to work since I like my job.

On the outside, few people know that I have changed. I wear the same modest clothes and, publicly, at least, still keep Shabbos and all other observances exactly the same way. But I have changed. I have less patience for it all. I feel deep down that if I am not going to get the practical benefits of a Torah lifestyle – if it does not even make me feel particularly spiritual anymore, and I am angry at God and I cannot seem to attract a decent Orthodox man – then I would at least like to have some fun. I toy with the idea of spending a Shabbos at the beach instead of keeping it at home. I am very seriously considering not going to shule on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur this year because God has already heard what I want many many times, and I am not in the mood to ask for forgiveness from a God who I feel so deeply has turned away from me.

Part of me knows that is self-centered and petty since it is the same God who has given me my health, my income, my family and friends but let's be real. I am 40, lonely, bored and sexually frustrated. I am starting to have had enough. I feel sad about this, becoming the kind of person who would have appalled me when I was younger.

I wrote once on this blog that being and staying Orthodox is not for wimps and that it takes a lot of fortitude to keep the mitzvos day after day, year after year. I guess I am losing some of that fortitude.

One of the comments I approved today was from a woman in a similar situation as me, in her early 30's, who wrote that she stays strong by remembering that Hashem loves her like a father loves a daughter, and that everything has a reason. I have tried to feel like that and there was a period of time that I was able to feel that at least sometimes. But it is getting more and more difficult for me. I hope the woman who wrote it is able to continue feeling it because for what it is worth it does help, if the feeling is there.

What is interesting is that when it comes to sex, the purpose (or one of the purposes) of the prohibitions against touching or sex before marriage is fully and completely upturned the older I become without it.

People say that it is important to save sex for marriage, and even kissing/touching, so that it will be special. We live in a Western society that cheapens sex, and the Torah-observant community wants to keep it holy and unique, something special and mysterious that one shares only with a life-long partner.

When I was younger, that worked. I saw sex exactly that way, as something incredibly intimate that one should never, ever do with a person who has not fully committed to you. As I have said in the past, I do not think that being shomer negiah, or at least celibate, is a bad idea for teenagers and people in their early 20's. It is good to keep these things special. It is good for people who get married young.

But what happens as one gets older is: As one's sexual frustration grows, it starts to weaken the threads that used to hold together "sex" and "specialness" in the mind. Sex becomes more and more of a simple primal need, like food or air, and eventually, if one does not eat or breathe, one will not care if the food is full of preservatives, or bland, or if the air is slightly polluted. You have to eat, even if the food is not gourmet, as long as it is not poisonous. You have to breathe, even if the air is not clear and refreshing, as long as it is not toxic. And you have to have sex, even if it is not with the man of your dreams, as long as he is not a sleazebucket.

The idea that a person can "live without sex," used so often to minimize the suffering of people who, according to halacha, must live celibate lives, does not take into account that one can also "live" with food being pumped into one's stomach, but never eating. One can "live" on a ventilator. But who calls that living? Yes, I am living without sex in the sense that I am both a virgin and still alive. But it has led to depression and misery. It is not "living" any more than subsisting on 600 calories a day is technically "living" or breathing very polluted air and coughing all the time is "living."

So to me, at this point, sex is something that I feel I want, need, MUST DO whether I am married or not. No, I do not want it to be cheap. I do not, for example, plan to hire someone to have sex with me. Nor do I plan to have sex with someone I have just met, or who I do not like, or who is not nice to me.

But, in theory, if I got to know a man whose company I enjoy, and who I share a sense of mutual respect with, and who I feel would stay around in my life for at least a few months – even if only as "friends with benefits" – but who, for whatever reason, was not marriage material, I do feel that it would be fine – good for me – to enjoy a sexual relationship, and that I would not feel cheap. Disappointed, still, not to have found a deep and lifelong love, but not cheap. One of the privileges of being 40 is that I know well what would make me feel cheap and what would not. It is one of the advantages of not being 18 anymore.

What keeping this halacha has done in my life, over time, is erase the connection between sex and love, and instead has made sex-by-itself something so vital that it that requires "only" basic respect and liking each other. Pretty much what most people in their 30's and 40's expect out of sex in Western society, if they are not religious, I am guessing.

Lest you rush into judgment and fear thinking that Nice Jewish Girl is about to debase herself by finding herself a "Sex Buddy," please remember that I have absolutely no idea how to find such a situation. I do not know how to communicate with a man that I might be willing to have sex with him. I dress like a frum girl, and have a reputation as a frum girl, and I would not know how to communicate to appropriate people that I am willing to tarnish it even if the opportunity came up with a decent man. I do not, after all, want to become a target for sleazy people. And most decent men who are not Orthodox and who want sex after say a few dates won't bother with me because I don't know how to let them know that I'm not one of those Orthodox girls who wants marriage or nothing at all.

My ideal situation is still to get married to a man who loves me and wants to have a Jewish home and family with me. But I would be willing to settle for a cute man with a sense of humor and lots of patience who could initiate me into the world of sex. Right now, I do not know how to find either one of those without risking becoming a target of oily people.

So, like I said, nothing substantial has changed. It is all theoretical.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still Single

The rest is commentary.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yes I am OK

I have received so many emails from people asking what has become of me and they hope I am OK. It is nice to know that even through an anonymous blog there are so many people in the world who care about me. The reason I have not updated this blog is simply because there is nothing new to write. Yes I have been in Israel now for a few months and that is going well. I am making new friends and love being in Eretz Yisrael so very much. And since I am new here I have had more dating activity than what I am used to. I guess there is a pool of men in any particular place and when a new woman moves to town there is a period of lots of possibilities. New people to meet on websites, new events to attend, new shadchanim to use. Just like in America not every offer and not every man who reads my online profile turns into an actual date, but it is nice to be in a new place meeting new people.

However I have not had more than 2 dates with any one man, and so there is nothing substantial to write about on this blog. I have not had a new relationship. Sometimes I am OK with that and sometimes I feel very sad. Sometimes I feel terribly terribly sexually frustrated and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I am terribly lonely and sometimes I feel OK. Sometimes I blame it all on my weight and sometimes I am more philosophical about being single.

I can say that the memories of the one time I kissed someone more than a year ago are both fading and still meaningful. For a while the experience uplifted me and helped me. Now, it is becoming more and more of a non-issue. It is something that I did a long time ago and I am grateful that it happened because as sad as I sometimes feel without that memory I would be much much sadder. It has not changed my views about halacha. I know that I am willing to make very big sacrifices for halacha and also I know that sometimes people reach their limit and thoughts of suicide is an indication of the limit! I do not think about it so much any more. Maybe because I moved to a different country. Every day is a chance to be a different person and I am too busy thinking about where I am now and where I want to be to dwell too much on an event from a year ago. Except that I think about it when I decide to feel sorry for myself, I think about how little one kissing date is to go on for more than a year.

Anyway there is one small piece of news which is that someone contacted me about using material from this blog for a theatrical monologue. I gave her permission under certain conditions. So now the blog is a dance and it will also be theater. Who could have seen that being Shomer Negiah would lead to so many multimedia creations?

I do not think I will post again for a long time since as you see I do not want to post unless there is something new to say. Who knows when that will be? I have been thinking about making this blog into my feelings about being overweight but I am not ready. Being overweight is a reason for a “primal scream” all by itself but I am not ready to do it. Maybe in a few months, who knows.

Until then thank you for caring about me and to all the people who wrote to me about their own substantial personal issues, I wish you happiness.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The last few days I have been thinking about the man I recently dated and I have been feeling lonely. Part of me misses him very much and part of me knows that it is not him I miss but the him I wish he was, the him he would be if he were the person I could spend my life with. He is not that person, so what I really miss is that person, whereever he is.

In so many ways my life is better than it has ever been. Professionally I am in a good place with employers who value my work and are willing to hold my job for me while I go to Israel for a year. I am going to Israel for a year which is wonderful. Thanks to all the work I did on myself when I was depressed I know myself better and have more patience with myself. I have a wonderful family and good friends. My life is very rich.

But I feel like my life is like a doughnut. It is rich and good and has many good things, but still there is a hole in the middle where a good man and a good relationship are supposed to be.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


It has been a while.

I have been doing mostly OK. Baruch Hashem, I am not depressed any more and have even been able to lower the dose of my medication. I have been very productive in both work and outside of work and am basically all right. Of course I have my times when I am sad about being single but in general there is no reason to worry about me any more than you should worry about anyone else who is single and is sad sometimes.

I have been thinking about a few things related to this blog.

The first is that I have been thinking about all the accusations that my blog is a Chillul Hashem and that I am not really frum because I said that I do not know for sure whether I would be Shomer Negiah in my next relationship. I feel that in one way I have been dishonest with readers and a little with myself. When I read over my many posts on this blog I see that long ago I decided not to be S.N. the next time I had an opportunity to not be. The people who are accusing me of planning to sin are absolutely correct. For a long time, maybe several years, I was S.N. not because I wanted to keep that halacha but simply because I did not have the opportunity. I guess you readers will have to decide for yourselves whether that makes me really S.N. or simply unlucky in love.

However I am still glad that I was S.N. for halachic reasons when I was younger. I learned something very important from being S.N. which is that even just kissing and holding hands is very meaningful if it is saved for someone special. That is why I would never do those things until I have dated someone long enough to know that I feel safe with him and that I will not regret it. It is also why I emphasize that I would never do anything that is out of proportion to how well I know someone. I cannot promise to be S.N. in my next relationship but I certainly can promise not to do anything rash and to treat my body and my emotions with the respect they deserve. I certainly do still want to wait until I get married to have sex.

So I suppose that to be perfectly honest this blog was never by a S.N. person but rather by someone who used to be S.N. and then later was simply unlucky in love. Either way I had never experienced the most basic of human sexual contact and was starving for it. So I ask those readers who are angry about my attitude toward the halacha to take that as you like but if so to read my blog instead as being by someone who really tried her best to keep the halacha as long as she could and these were the results. They are not the results for everyone but this blog is true for me.

You may be wondering how I feel from a sexual and emotional point of view now that I have experienced a little bit of touching. The truth is that I do feel better. I never realized how much I felt like a loser because I felt so much that I was different and was missing out from something so basic. Now whenever I start to think that no one is attracted to me I remember that it has happened once before and therefore might happen again. The man with whom I experienced my first kiss and I did not do very much together physically, but it was enough that I got a taste and no longer feel so separate and isolated from the human race. The memories are not much and they are in the past but they are something and it is definitely better than nothing.

I wish I could say I feel guilty that I broke a halacha or “wasted” my first kiss on someone who I did not marry in the end but the truth is that I am not sorry. On one hand it is in the past and was just a little kissing with a boyfriend. It does not make me “cheap” in any way. I certainly do not feel cheap. Maybe if I were younger or had not chosen carefully I would feel cheap, but Baruch Hashem I am 35 and chose wisely. On the other hand it was significant for me in a positive way. From the point of view of halacha I am supposed to say that I feel guilty and hope to do better next time but the truth is that I got past that long ago as I explained above. In the matter of Shomer Negiah I am no longer functioning in the realm of halacha but in the realm of survival. Baruch Hashem there are 612 other mitzvot which keep me very busy and very connected with the Torah and with God.

I think I can honestly say though that I do feel a little guilty about the fact that I do not feel guilty. That is true. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Of course the problem now is that I am once again alone and still looking for the right person. It is so very hard to find him. Once again I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I am scared to be always alone. Once again I am very sexually starving. Once again the problem is not lack of physical contact but the lack of someone to have physical and emotional contact with. But I have written about all of that in the past. I do not need to write about it again. I would just be saying the same thing. The worst parts of being single are the same for every woman whether she is or ever was Shomer Negiah or not.

So now I have to think about the future of this blog. As far as I know I have said everything there was for me to say about being single, about being S.N. whether for halachic reasons or because of lack of opportunity, and about my feelings about having broken my Shomer-ness. So what is the point of this blog anymore?

I have decided that when I feel ready I will use this space to do another “primal scream” about dating and being overweight. There is a lot of pain and shame involved in it and I think it will help me to put those things into words. I will write a post about it when I am ready.

Another thing I need to announce is that I have created yet another email account called I have done this so that in very limited circumstances I can write back to people who send me emails without my ISP address showing to them. I will continue in general not to respond both for my privacy and because I do not want this blog and the emails about Shomer Negiah to take over my life. But every so often I do want to respond and this way I can. Please do not be insulted if I do not respond to your email.

I got an email from a book agent asking me if I would like to turn this blog into a book. At first I did not respond because it is already frightening enough for me to write this blog and be afraid that my real identity will be exposed but a book is too much. But I have gotten so many emails from people all around the world telling me how much this blog made them feel less alone and so maybe letting it be published as a book would be OK. I have not decided yet. I will talk to my rabbi and to the agent and see what happens. The most important thing to me is that what I do is as much of a Kiddush Hashem as I can do. I know some people think this blog is a Chillul Hashem but there are so many who have written to me that it is the opposite and that it gave them faith! The second most important thing is that I stay anonymous.

The last announcement is the one about the move I have been thinking about. I have decided to do it. I am moving to Israel! For now it is just for a year but if things work out professionally then perhaps I will make aliyah. And of course if I find a nice man in Israel I will stay! Of course I am not writing here when I am going or where I will live or what I plan to do there but so far things have fallen into place. Baruch Hashem I was able to arrange a leave of absence from my job so I have nothing to lose by going for a year. Please daven for me that now that I am moving my luck will change too. It is said “mishaneh makom mishaneh mazal.” If you change your place you change your luck. I hope that is true for me.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I am OK.

I just had to spend an hour deleting comments. Some I deleted for various reasons but in particular I deleted the argument at the end of the last post, where a commenter was pretending to be the "blog admin" and was also pretending to be other commenters. That is not nice! I believe there is something called "netiquette" and pretending to be other commenters is not part of it! Please everyone, the only "blog administrator" on this blog are me and one very loyal friend who helped me set up the blog. But she does not make any changes to the blog unless I ask for her help in changing something. So really the only person running things is me.

Since the comments are sometimes ridiculous and disprespectful I will try for a little while to moderate them. So from now on your comment will first come to me and I will decide whether it will go on the blog. It is unfortunate that I have to do this since I anticipate that it will be time-consuming.

Of course I will allow supportive comments to go up. But I will also usually allow comments that are critical of my decisions as long as they are written in a way that is respectful to me and to the other commenters. I cannot give a definite rule, just that if I feel challenged it will go up but if I feel insulted or do not like it for some other reason it will not go up.

I will have to write at length some other time about my current feelings about negiah but here is a little more information for all of you to think about and argue over in the comments (that now I will moderate.)

First of all, we never had sex. East Side Bubby is certainly a sanctimonious person for jumping to that conclusion and I am very glad that she is not my Bubby. Remember the relationship was short, a little bit troubled, and conducted over a distance of hundreds of miles. We did not even get to see each other in person too many times. In fact that first time we kissed was probably the steamiest thing we ever did. It was all very innocent. A little kissing, a little cuddling, a little hand-holding. That was all I needed and wanted at the time.

Second he definitely never pressured me to do more than I was ready for. The idea that we broke up because I would not agree to his physical demands could not be more untrue. He was very protective of me and also of himself when it came to that. We both knew there were problems in the relationship and wanted to take it slow.

Another thing I must say is that I am definitely not regretful that I "wasted" or "gave away" my first kiss to someone who later it didn't work out with. The negiah aspect of our relationship was wonderful and just what I needed at that time. He was a gentleman in every way, I will always treasure those memories. Especially since the alternative was to be Shomer Negiah with him . . . and you all know how I was feeling about that before we went out. I just could not do it. I did not have it in me. If we had been SN, I would be writing a post saying how I wasted an opportunity to find out how it feels and to finally be held. I am very glad I took my chance and that I chose to take the chance with a nice man who was patient and very sweet to me.

Fourth I will not detail the reasons that we broke up but I hope everyone realizes that relationships are complicated and negiah was just a tiny piece of a much bigger and more complicated puzzle. People have histories and expectations, and there are many stresses that people have to be able to work through, especially if you are older and have already done many things with your life. Does it really matter why we broke up or whether it was his decision or my decision? The important thing is that we could not overcome the problems that we had. But I will be grateful always that he came into my life when he did.

I am feeling OK. Yes I do resent and feel angry over some of the things he did. I did feel hopeful about him for a while and it hurts when your hope is broken. It hurts a lot. But I see very clearly that I am not meant to be with him and it is OK. I see very clearly that Hashem sent him to me as a gift for the time that I had him in my life, if for no reason than just to make sure I got some kisses and cuddles before I lost my mind.

I have been thinking about many questions such as whether I would want to be SN in my next relationship. Every day is a new one, just because I made certain decisions now does not mean they would still be the right ones later. But of course with things the way they are it might be 10 years or more until my next relationship. That is very scary. I am also nervous about what will happen when the memories of this relationship fade a little, if I might go back to feeling desperately frustrated, physically.

But remember that there are many things in my life besides the fact that I have changed from "never been kissed" to "kissed just a little." I am busy making some other big decisions about my employment and possibly moving! My family and friends have been very good to me. So really I am OK. You do not have to feel sorry for me. I am OK.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

We broke up

I do not want to write details about it now. I just wanted to let you know. I will write more when I have had time to process this.

Friday, November 04, 2005

How to contact me

I have posted an email address but I guess that post is buried deep within this blog so most people do not see it!

Yes you can still reach me at shomernegiah at yahoo dot com. I read every email that goes to that address, but remind you all that I almost never answer.

One of these days I will set up a gmail account since I think that gmail does not report the IP address of the sender. I have to investigate that more but if it is true then I will set that up and then I will start answering emails.

You can also contact me by leaving a comment on the blog but then of course it is not private.

I am sorry I do not have a better system but in addition to wanting to maintain my privacy I also do not want the emails to start taking over my life, as they would if I felt I had to respond to them all.

Thank you to everyone who emails me and leaves comments.

PS Yes I am still dating the man you are all wondering about. We are having our ups and downs. When there is something to tell you one way or another I will post it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My blog is a dance!

I just received an email from a Masters student in Dance at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in Manhattan.

He choreographed a dance based on this blog (or whatever inspiration he got from this blog) and it is showing at Tisch for the next three nights! Wow, how cool is that!

I myself am not in New York right now (whether that is because I do not live there or because I am on vacation for the chag is for you to guess) but if any of my readers attend this event please report back in the comments about how it was.

I am sure that this student, Benjamin, would love to have more people come and watch his show.

His show will be performed tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 8 pm (please, Jewish readers should not be mechalel Shabbat to see the show!).
Admittance is free. The Tisch School is at 111 Second Avenue, between 6th and 7th street.

Thank you, Benjamin, for this honor. I wish I could see your show myself.

Benjamin, you are welcome to post more information about the choreography and history of the show in the comments. I did not want to post more because I was not sure how much of the information is for the public.

Now Nice Jewish Girl is not only a person, I am also multi-media!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Many notes and an apology

I have read all the comments to my latest post. I thank all those who are supportive of me, each in his own way. I want to emphasize that most of the people who are expressing sadness that I have broken halacha do not offend me in any way. I agree with them. It is very sad that I have remained single and could no longer wait to feel some basic human tenderness. It is sad that my loneliness finally became stronger than my faith. It is sad that after all I could not live up to the ideal that I have had ever since I was an 18-year-old seminary girl of experiencing my first kiss in the yichud room. There are many things in life that do not always turn out the way we dreamed but we must deal with the circumstances as best we can when they arise. I never asked to be still single and lonely when I am 35. I have kept the halachos of S.N. as long as I possibly could and forever that will be something to be proud of, especially since it seems that there are very very few others my age who can say the same. It is true that in all the months of keeping this blog I have only received one or maybe two comments or emails as far as I remember from someone who was at least 35 and had never broken the laws of S.N. Everyone else is either married, or still single and S.N. but younger than I am. I have much to be proud of, but breaking halacha is never one of them. I am happy for myself that at last I have experienced something so basic to the human condition but pride would not be the right adjective for how I feel. Relieved and excited and hopeful for the future. But not proud.

I am aghast however at the vitriol from those few people who cannot seem to feel both compassion for me and faith in halacha at the same time. They seem to be experiencing some cognitive dissonance over the fact that on the one hand we are obligated to keep mitzvos and that as Orthodox people we do not feel there are any excuses for ever breaking a halacha, ever, except in cases of sickness or other danger to life . . . and yet all over the place are Orthodox people who break halachos all the time because keeping all the halachos all the time is very very challenging. Much too challenging for most people. Are there not any halachos that they, too, break in secret? Do not they, too, have something for which to repent this week? And is not our job to continue to do our best, though only angels are perfect in their service of Hashem?

And yet they have a point in the fact that I have not kept my failing a secret, I have posted it on the internet for all to see. And I have stated publicly that I do not feel guilty about this failing at this time because I know that I have reached the end of my own potential to keep this law anymore. I kept it and kept it and kept it . . . and honestly I am glad I kept it, especially when I was young and impressionable and less sure of myself, and there was the potential to be hurt and violated as so many of my non-S.N. readers tell me they were when they were younger.

And they also have a point that it is callous to break the law and write about it during the Aseres Yimei Teshuva. I will not attempt to justify or apologize for my having kissed for the first time, without being married, just before Yom Kippur. But I do agree that it was wrong of me to write a blog about it before Yom Kippur. My post obviously dredged up a lot of issues for a lot of people, perhaps about their own sins, their own sexual history, or their own guilt for whatever they are repenting this week, and by posting when I did I complicated their thoughts and made their own process a little more confusing, or depressing, or filled with anger.

So I apologize to my readers for not at least having the sensitivity to my audience to wait until after Yom Kippur to post what I did.

Also I want to say very clearly to all the S.N. people who are reading my blog: Keep it up as long as you can! It is a good and holy and pure and beautiful way to live even though it is very very very hard. Like some of my readers I do fear that there are people who read my blog and will use it as an excuse not to be S.N. anymore. Especially young people in their teenage years, when not being S.N. can really lead to things that people regret later. I have gotten so many emails and comments from people who said that their experiences of kissing (or sex, depending on how Orthodox they were or how dedicated to S.N. they were) when they were younger left them with many emotional scars because they did things before they were ready, or with people who were very bad choices for them. I pray that none of my readers will do anything as a result of reading my blog that will give them any regrets later in their lives. Please have faith in yourself and in the Torah as long as you can.

But a point of my blog is that “can” is not an easy term to define. It is impossible to live without food or air, but possible to live without kissing and hugging, and so some people seem to think that of course any single person “can” be Shomer Negiah if only their faith and self-control are strong enough. But I remind those people that there is a big problem in our society of people getting married later and later, and relationships that do not work out for one reason or another, and in particular it is a well-known problem that there are many more frum women looking seriously for marriage than men who are compatible for them. Therefore the task of remaining S.N. goes on for years and years for some people. And so I reiterate that unless you, too, are at least 35 and have never been married, you cannot possibly determine for me whether I “can” be Shomer Negiah anymore. And even if you are my age and still S.N., if you have never been inside my brain and my body and my life you also cannot know if I “can.” Only Hashem knows. Hashem will not judge me based on whether I am as pious as you, but rather on whether I am as pious as I, Nice Jewish Girl, have the potential to be. And I know, I KNOW, with my whole heart, that when it comes to S.N. I have reached my potential. Over-extended it, even. And that is why I do not feel guilty. Because I am completely, utterly shalem that in this area I did absolutely everything that is expected of me and more. My only regret like I said is in writing about it before Yom Kippur and any chillul Hashem I have committed, or any michshol I have placed before others who are similarly weak, by writing about it on this blog. For any sins committed by others as a result of my blog I am deeply ashamed and hope that both Hashem and the people involved will forgive me somehow.

A few more things before I disappear for a little while:

First, the man I have kissed is absolutely not pushing me to go any further. In fact he told me that the next few times we meet he wants to go back to being S.N. at least for a little while so that the physical pleasure does not “get ahead” of the emotional bond we are trying to build. He is a very intelligent and kind man.

Second, the people who are encouraging me to try to get a marriage proposal "out of him" in order to “test” whether he is really serious are not considering that perhaps I myself am not quite ready to get engaged to him. Yes it is true that my goal was never just to be kissed but to get married so that I will have companionship and a family. Yes it is true that I would not be dating him unless I thought that he has strong potential to be Mr. Nice Jewish Boy. And he also is taking a long view and only dates people who have the potential to be a lifelong partner for him. Neither of us considers this a game, or casual dating, or just for fun. We both have serious goals. However that does not mean that either of us has enough information to know whether getting married to each other is for sure a good idea. The point of dating is to get to know each other well enough to see if we would make good marriage partners. It has been only a month. It is a long-distance relationship. There are many situations in which I have not seen him. I have never seen him get angry for example. I have never met his family or seen how he is with them. And of course there are many differences between us because of differences in how we were raised that we need to talk about and make sure that we can work them out. There are many important things to consider before getting married and while in my circles people do get engaged faster than in general American society (usually after 3 or 4 months), I cannot be 100 percent sure that he is compatible for me until we know each other better. At this point I am maybe 80 percent sure that I could marry him but the other 20 percent will take a little longer to come. I am though 100 percent sure that he is a nice man with good values who is good to me, and if this all leads to marriage with him I will certainly not mind! I am 100 percent sure that this is the best relationship I have had for many many years. I am 100 percent sure that he is a good enough man, whom I know well enough, that kissing him does not make me feel cheap. I know him well enough to know that he is worth the risk of making myself vulnerable. There are decisions that one can make at 35 that one could not have made as intelligently when they were much younger. But one month is too fast for me to get engaged.

Third, I am definitely not blogging about my actions anymore until something major happens, like an engagement or a breakup (I hope very very much it is the former but know in my mind there is the possibility for the latter until there is a ring on my finger.) Relationships are confusing and emotional enough without 70 strangers leaving comments about their opinions on what I am doing! I am not blaming people for leaving comments since if I am writing a blog I have to expect comments, but I definitely will not do it anymore. Maybe I will write another post or two answering reader’s questions, but there will not be any updates about whether we are S.N. or not or any other details about my relationship. If something truly dramatic happens I will post it since I know that there are many people who have come to care about me and will be wondering how I am doing – thank you! But no details!

Finally, in the future please everyone make up some name for yourself in the comments section. If everyone calls themself “anonymous” then there is no way to distinguish between the commenters. It is also helpful but not required if you could write whether you are Orthodox or not so that we will better be able to understand where everyone else is coming from in their opinions. But only if you want to. But definitely make up a name for yourself. Thank you.

I hope everyone has a gmar v’chasimah tova, and to everyone who is feeling guilty about their wrongdoings in the past: Do not despair! Hashem gave us Yom Kippur specifically because He wants us to return to Him! He always takes us back with open arms. We are His children. Though we may sometimes forsake Him, he does not forsake us.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nice Jewish Girl has been kissed

Wow. Wow.

I wrote a long post describing how it was, how good he was to me and cuddled with me first and how nice that felt. I did not like kissing while we were standing up but sitting down it was much better, even though it still felt very strange.

And I wrote how in the middle of it I had to stop for a few minutes because I felt sick from all the excitement and fear coming up. I was afraid I might throw up.

And later I asked him to kiss me on the nape of my neck and he did, and how! He is a very generous man. And that was when I finally felt what this kissing stuff is really all about.


But I decided not to post all the details. I want to save some of it for myself. It is enough for you to know that I did it, and yes we kept all our clothes on don’t worry, and he was good to me and it felt nice, and I do not feel guilty at all.

Actually what I feel is that Hashem gave me a very precious gift. In my darkest hour he gave me exactly what I needed. Never in my life have I felt as beautiful as I do right now.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Taking The Chance

This is a very difficult post to write. It is hard for me to admit to myself some of the thoughts and rationalizations that have been going on through my mind for the last few days. Much less write about it for anyone to read on the internet. But as always this blog is an important outlet for me and so I hope that writing will help me to clarify things to myself as well as to whomever might read my words.

I cried in shul on Rosh Hashanah. The prayers were so beautiful and I felt so awed by Hashem and His power. And so scared and guilty. Because I am faced with an opportunity to do something that I believe is a sin and I know deep down that I am going to do it. I hardly feel like I have a choice about it. The thought of not kissing this man at the next opportunity is hardly crossing my mind. Yet also even when I feel the most scared and the most guilty I feel very deep down how much Hashem loves me and that everything from Him is a gift. Even this opportunity to sin is a gift. Hashem knows how starved I am and he has put a plate of non-kosher food in front of me. He is giving me an opportunity to nourish myself and I feel deep down that He is saying “do not worry about what is in the food. Just eat and take care of yourself.” I am about to disobey Him but I feel that He is a loving father.

I am worried that some people will read the last paragraph and mistake my thoughts for something else. Something that I am definitely not thinking is “God will understand.” Not the way people usually use that rationalization anyway. Usually when people (including me) say “God will understand” they just mean “There is something I want right now and I will not let my own guilt stand in the way of taking what I want.” They say “I do not feel like waiting another hour before I eat milk, even though I am still fleishik, God will understand,” or “I am really tired and do not feel like walking to shule right now, God will understand.” Sometimes I think that God must look at us and be thinking “Yes I understand that you are a bunch of lazy bums!”

Anyway I guess in a way I am saying “God will understand” but this is after many many days of deep reflection and crying and of course all the months of doing this blog and all the time before that that I was suffering from deep depression. I know that everyone who sins feels at the time that they are in a special situation somehow and that when they do this wrong thing, for them it is not wrong. Thinking that does not make it right of course. But since this is my blog I can only explain how I feel about it. I think that if I do not take the opportunity to kiss with my new boyfriend (do people use the word boyfriend when they are 35 years old???) then I will be like the proverbial person in the flood who refuses to get in a boat because “God will save him” and then refuses to get into a plane because “God will save him,” and when he drowns and goes to Heaven, he says “God, why didn’t you save me?” and God says “I sent you a boat and a plane and you didn’t take them!” For so long I have been saying that I would not be Shomer Negiah anymore if only a good man came along who I liked and was attracted to and who liked me and was attracted to me. I have cried to Hashem because I am so so lonely and physically starved. I have written here that I would give up food if only a nice, religious, intelligent man would put his arms around me and tell me he loves me. I do not think this boyfriend loves me (yet), but he does like me a lot. If I give up my opportunity when it comes then it means . . . well I do not know what it would mean because I simply cannot imagine letting this opportunity go by.

I know it is possible that this relationship will not end in marriage. You have read about my dating history. I know very well that things can suddenly change quickly. If I kiss him and then we break up I am sure I will feel very bad. But the idea of breaking up and not having kissed him, letting the chance go by, makes me feel even worse, because considering what the dating scene is like these days it may be many years before I find another man who I “click” with. It might never happen at all.

If in another 40 or 50 years I am on my deathbed and I am still single and still a virgin, I would rather have memories of kissing a boyfriend when I was 35 even if we later broke up, then to have no memories of kissing anyone at all and know that I could have done it once but I let the chance go by and now I will never know what it feels like.

I know I should wait a little bit before going ahead, maybe date him a little longer. The ironic part of this is that I do not want to wait because I am not sure enough about our relationship that I really believe we will definitely stay together long enough. I might not have the luxury of taking my time to make a decision. Men have a tendency to end relationships for little or no reason. I hope this one is different but who really knows. This is not an ideal situation. Once again I do not have good choices. I can kiss him now and maybe we will break up or I can wait and then maybe we will break up. There are no guarantees. But to me the lesser of two evils is, if we are going to break up, I want to know at least what it is like to kiss. I am tired of feeling pathetic about myself. The curiosity and emotional and physical brutalness of being Shomer Negiah are killing me from the inside. I wish I knew for sure that this was the right man. But in reality all I can say is that he is a good man at the right time. I will take what I can get. Yes that sounds desperate but you have read my blog, I have every reason to be desperate!

I know that some of you are thinking “do not waste your precious first kiss on someone when you are not sure how strongly he feels about you, after all the time you have waited. Do not let your efforts go to waste!”

I think in particular the commenter named ClooJew will be thinking this. I have appreciated his comments very much. He has articulated many things that I have been thinking myself and many things I believe or at least used to believe for myself. Ironically he himself (I think ClooJew is male but my apologies if that is wrong) gave me the way to articulate why I think that argument is wrong. He wrote “(the position of many commenters here), is that unhappiness is a good reason to abandon one's faith and system of observance. That position belittles all the effort and pain that NJG has gone through all these years. I'm here to support and admire NJG for her faith, her past, her toil, and her standing tall in the face of adversity.”

That comment meant so much to me that it brought tears to my eyes. To have a frum person recognize that I have worked so hard to uphold my values means a lot. And it means a lot to have someone acknowledge that I have done something hard, something so difficult that not so many other people manage to do it. I forget that myself often. It is easy for me to feel pathetic, like I am some kind of loser because I have never been kissed, and ClooJew reminded me that I am not a loser. I am a Jew. It is something to be proud of. And up until now I have managed to work very hard at being a Jew.

But the past that ClooJew admires is the past. I am not the same person I was even two or three years ago. I have been so depressed, so very very sad. My faith might be as strong as it was but my strength is not and my ability to toil at it is not. This is the part that I feel deep down Hashem “understands.” I feel like a little child in Hashem’s arms. I know that He understands my innermost heart and loves me and will continue to love me even though I am weak. I am not a teenager in rebellion, trying to “get away” with something. I am a little girl who has been through too much, and Hashem is rocking me and saying “it’s all right, it’s all right.”

If I give up an opportunity to be held and kissed and reminded that I am a woman, only so that I do not “waste” my efforts of the past, then I will be hurting my present for the sake of honoring my past. I cannot do that and stay whole anymore. I am different now and my needs are different. Each day we make choices based on who we are at that time.

And also, no matter what I do now my past will never be “wasted.” Most single people no matter how observant they are in Judaism do not make it to 35 while still being Shomer Negiah for all intents and purposes. The past that ClooJew is admiring will always be my past and will always be admirable from the point of view of halachik Judaism, no matter what I do in the future. Keeping halacha is never a waste.

But this is a halacha that I just do not have it in me to keep anymore. I simply cannot do it. I love halachic Judaism so very very much but this is one area where my strength is failing me and it is simply impossible for me to go on this way.

I wrote in the comments something I want to repeat here: “I think there are maybe people who read this blog and want me to represent the halachik lifestyle. They want me to wait until I get married before kissing because they want to believe that it can be done, by someone. They would like to believe that someone in the world is holy enough to keep this halacha even for years and years because knowing that would inspire them to try a little harder with their own halachik tests.

I cannot promise to be a poster child for Shomer Negiah. I do not think I am strong enough. I am sorry. Very sorry. I just do not have it in me anymore. For so long I have been valiant but now I think it is time for someone else to be the poster child because I am not strong enough right now.”

This is not the best reason to engage in my first kiss, I know that. I am disappointing many readers but more importantly I am disappointing myself a little bit. I really did want to wait until I was married or at least until I was more sure of the relationship. But this is the chance I have, and I will take it. This is a very special man who is very good to me. I am scared but also very excited. This must be the way a person feels when they go parachuting for the first time and they are about to jump out of the plane! I am not 100 percent sure that the parachute will open but I will enjoy the view while I have the chance.