Talli's blog

Tightly Wound: A Review and Social Commentary

Submitted by Talli on Sun, 09/09/2018 - 15:53

Tightly Wound is a film by Shelby Hadden and Sebastian Bisbal that tells Shelby's story of dealing with vaginismus and her path to finding treatment.


Intimate Judaism: The premarital sex episode

Submitted by Talli on Tue, 08/28/2018 - 19:37

As human beings, we are wired for connection. When we connect emotionally with a member of the opposite sex, and experience attraction, and/or affection, the desire for intimate touch is a natural instinct. In society at large, this desire is understood to be moderated by social rules that include determining availability, and mutual consent and should include communication about boundaries and prevention of pregnancy when applicable. According to Jewish law, however, premarital sexual activity, even when it doesn't involve sexual intercourse, is strictly forbidden. This can result in an inner conflict.  We are committed to observe the laws but struggle, and sometimes fail,  with refraining from all touch which can feel awkward and un-natural. This tension between human longing and restrictions in behavior is at the core of what being an observant Jew is about. Yet, the paradigm of this power struggle, particularly when the desire side wins out, as it often does, may fail to address the important issues of boundaries, mutuality, consent and birth control, as well as relate to the “degrees” of  religious prohibition involved. What are the keys to discussing premarital sexual activity with Orthodox Jews in an honest and healthy manner? Join Talli Rosenbaum and Rabbi Scott Kahn for a fascinating and frank discussion of these important religious and educational issues.  Listen to the episode here.


Introducing Intimate Judaism

Submitted by Talli on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 10:14



Free Podcast -Jewish Intimacy: The Mind and Body Connection

Submitted by Talli on Thu, 06/07/2018 - 13:25
This interview with Chana Deutsch focuses on emotional and physical intimacy on the context of Orthodox Judaism. We explore the questions:In what ways is sexuality a part of the developing self?How do we address the cognitive dissonance involved in the expectation to refrain for all physical touch with the opposite gender until marriage, but have sexual intercourse on the wedding night?How does emotional intimacy affect physical intimacy, and vice versa?What lies at the core of sexual shame and embarrassment?How can Orthodox Judaism as a culture, engage with sexuality in a healthy way? The following are excerpts from Talli's presentation"At the foundation of a passionate marriage, is a feeling of full autonomy and consent for each partner.""When sex is presented as a goal to accomplish, it feels like a chore and not an opportunity for communicating love, caring, bonding and affection.""We need to reframe sexuality away from women feeling obligated to provide for their husbands needs. Both men and women are wired for connection and long for intimacy." Listen to the full interview here  


With all your heart interview series

Submitted by Talli on Thu, 04/12/2018 - 14:15

Are you a woman who wants to have a happier, more intimate relationship with your husband, but you struggle to achieve that?


The M word podcast: Orthodox Conundrum with Rabbi Scott Kahn

Submitted by Talli on Sun, 03/18/2018 - 21:24



The death of desire begins in childhood

Submitted by Talli on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 20:43

Above the drawing of four modestly attired girls in a supermarket is the caption “Modesty in the public sphere:  What immodest act is each girl in the picture engaged in?’


The M word, an addendum to raising sexually healthy Orthodox sons

Submitted by Talli on Wed, 01/24/2018 - 15:54

First published in Times of Israel


Sexual abuse with no abuser: guest blog

Submitted by Talli on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 16:04

This guest blog was written by Elisheva Liss, LMFT


Upcoming online course: Why trauma survivors avoid sex

Submitted by Talli on Thu, 11/30/2017 - 19:23
Feedback from Part 1 of course: Post Traumatic Sex Disorder: When Sex is a Trigger "This is not just for people treating clients with sexual abuse histories.  The eye opener to me in Part I was the way in which PTSD from any source affects sexuality, and why the neurology of PTSD is so disrupting to the neurology of sexual response.  The powerpoints were very clear, and her presentation was masterful.  Highly recommended This is an unpaid testimonial, and I have received no remuneration for my comments!!! :-)" Ruth S.   The following case illustrates how couples intimate lives may be affected by trauma. Baruch,  a 23 year old combat soldier recently married to Shira, served in the Israeli army. In the course of a mission, enemy fire injured three men in his battalion and two were killed. Baruch, who was inside his tank,  was physically unharmed, but the impact of the terrifying incident affected him intensely and he suffered from severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping. After six months, Baruch was diagnosed with PTSD. He underwent a year of intense therapy that helped him learn to recognize his triggers, self-soothe, and learn to keep calm in stressful situations. He was taking medication to help with depression and anxiety and was also exercising regularly.  His wife, Shira, came with him to couples therapy, stating that while Baruch was doing much better, he was difficult to live with. He often became aggressive with her and avoided emotional or physical intimacy. When they did have sex, he would either not be able to get an erection, or become very quickly aroused and ejaculate prematurely, even before intercourse.  Therapy for Baruch and Shira included psychoeducation based on explaining to them exactly how his trauma affects sex. Sexual desire involves parts of the brain and release of brain chemicals that are similar to those involved in the stress response. Our excitatory mechanisms cause the heart rate to increase and the blood to flow but our inhibitory centers let us know that even though our body is in a state similar to the flight or fight response, we have nothing to fear. People with PTSD lack that regulation. Once they experience sensations and a physiological reality that mirrors stress, they may experience a heightened fear response. Because Baruch experienced these responses, he was holding back on allowing himself to become aroused, which accounted for his erectile dysfunction. On other occasions when he would become aroused quickly and ejaculate just as quickly, he reported that he didn't even feel anything. We understood that Baruch was simply disassociating from the act, though physiologically, his body was responding.In the course of therapy, it also became  apparent that Shira was anxious to become pregnant, and this was an additional source of stress for Baruch. Treatment for Baruch and Shira allowed each of them to communicate better about their feelings in the marriage,to understand one another better, and to create opportunities to improve emotional intimacy with compassion and empathy.  The sex therapy component was focused on restoring awareness of sensations and the experience of pleasure without demands on performance. After several months of therapy, while Baruch still suffered from the after-effects of his experiences in combat, he and Shira were able to recreate the intimacy that had been lost and enjoy making love, and not war. Join me in a two part online course taking place this January. This course will highlight the mechanisms by which emotional and sexual intimacy may be incompatible with PTSD. To illustrate this, studies linking PTSD to sexual dysfunction will be reviewed, aspects of the neurobiologies of PTSD and the sexual response will be elucidated, and treatment suggestions will be offered for promoting healthy intimacy in couples where one partner is challenged with PTSD. For more information and to register, click here