<<<So, remember (no, of course you don’t, I talk too much) when I said Jewish women had it better than Christian/Catholic women (I know Catholics are Christians, it’s just that for most of Jewish history the only Christians were Catholics)?
The ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, says that husbands are obligated to give their wives three things food, clothing, and sexual relations (usually defined by rabbis as orgasms). Interestingly, this obligation ONLY falls on the man.
Women always had the right to own property.
Marital rape and spousal abuse was not okay (not saying it didn’t happen, obviously it did, but it wasn’t kosher). Jewish law is actually “yes means yes” and it has been for thousands of years.
There is/was/will be a LOT of unfairness and patriarchy in Judaism. But I do love how forward they were.
There’s a scene in one of the books where Jamie wonders whether it is “the lack of the foreskin” that makes Jewish (and Muslim) men think that marital sex is a good thing. I always wanted to sit down with Jamie and have a conversation about it 🙂
rachel, thanks for the reminder. the shulchan aruch [jewish book of law] has a large section on what is owed to a woman in marriage. but unfortunately that is balanced in a negative way by strict laws, also in the shulchan aruch, governing what is and is not allowed in the jewish marriage bed. for example – if i recall correctly – the bodies must be covered except for the genital areas, so that visual stimulation is out.
on the other hand, i view all such writings as reflecting the times in which they were written; in that sense the laws demanding sexual satisfaction for the wife are pretty much avante garde for their time.