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 reddit.com and metafilter.com for sending so many people to my blog. It is nice to get attention. Also the people who came here from jacajacjac.tumblr.com.
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.
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 . . .