As Katie Baker reported last week, folks looking for a Jewish partner are spoiled for choice, with more dating sites catering specifically to the Tribe than candles on a menorah. But that abundance stands in contrast to the paucity of writing celebrating Jewish sexuality itself. Filling the gap (as it were) is a new site promising to create a "sex-positive discourse about the varied experiences of being Jewish and sexy."
Formally launched earlier this month, Jewrotica pushes back against the familiar stereotypes about Jews (particularly American Jews) and sexuality. The old jokes mocking Jewish women's supposed frigidity ("What do you call a Jewish woman who has sex once a month? A nymphomaniac") still endure, as do stereotypes about the nebbishy horniness of Jewish boys (think Portnoy's Complaint and countless Woody Allen movies.) Even as the porn star of the moment, James Deen, celebrates his Jewishness, old prejudices linger.
"You can be a nice Jewish girl and love sex," Jezebel contributor and Jewrotica "mistress of social media" Sarah Tuttle-Singer told Haaretz. The writing on the site is rated (from PG to XXX), including both explicit erotica and thoughtful commentary on the intersection of the sacred and the carnal.
This willingness to see faith and lust as deeply compatible is especially important at the moment. In both Israel and in the USA, ultra-Orthodox communities have a growing reputation for aggressive puritanism, marked by everything from spitting on an "immodest" eight year-old girl to imposing dress codes on customers in New York stores to making blinders for haredi men to help them avoid seeing a woman's bare skin. The unfortunate implication from the media coverage of these fringe movements is that in Jewish community, the only way to be sexy is to be secular.
Jewrotica offers a welcome corrective to the misconception that the only way to be faithful is to be frum. And hey, if you want to help spread the word, the site is hiring a Judaic Outreach Director.
Jezebel columnist Hugo Schwyzer teaches history and gender studies at Pasadena City College and is a nationally-known speaker on sex, masculinity, body image and beauty culture. He also blogs at his eponymous site. Follow him on Twitter: @hugoschwyzer.