Through A Hole In The Sheet

Everywhere I go, people ask me if Orthodox Jews have sex through a hole in the sheet.

I’ve never seen Orthodox Jews have sex in this way. I’ve never heard of any Orthodox Jews I know having sex this way. I’ve never heard an Orthodox rabbis prescribe this type of sex.

On this basis, I suspect that the vast majority of Orthodox Jews do not have sex through a hole in the sheet.

Still, when I marry, I would like to try this technique. It might have untold erotic possibilities. I picture all the lights being out. I’ve just been studying Torah for hours. We recite tehillim (Psalms) together and then we come together, only touching through that narrow hole. I’d make sure that she wasn’t at all aroused, that it was pure torture for her, and we would only do this loathsome act because God commanded us. I’d try to finish as quickly as possible so we can make babies and get on with the fun part of our lives.

Snopes reports:

Such is the case with the "sex through a hole in the sheet" rumor. None of the three branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform) require this of their adherents, and indeed taking the joy out of marital sex in such a fashion runs directly counter to all things Jewish. Whereas in some branches of religion sex within marriage is supposed to be primarily for the purposes of procreation, throughout Judaism it’s viewed as a celebration of couplehood — man and wife are supposed to enjoy each other, whether kids are the goal of the encounter or not.

Indeed, not making love to your wife can call rabbinical sanction down upon the head of a Jewish man or even provide grounds for divorce.

The times for conjugal duty prescribed in the Torah are: for men of independence, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for ass-drivers, once a week; for camel-drivers, once in thirty days; for sailors, once in six months. These are the rulings of Rabbi Eliezer.

In a world that made sense, this rumor about joyless sex would better adhere to just about anyone other than Jews. Ah, but sometimes things just aren’t logical.

Interestingly enough, a 1995 article in The Jerusalem Post said about modesty practices in other cultures, "[I]n Catholic Mexico of yore with the use of modesty bed sheets with carefully stitched and positioned holes in them." Looks like its writer confused a scene from the 1992 film Like Water For Chocolate with reality. (See the Sighting section at the end of this page for more about that film.)

One guess as to the origin of the slit sheet belief postulates it as a joking reference to ultra-Orthodox weddings, where men and women are said to attend separate receptions by way of dividing the hall with a curtain. Through a hole in the curtain, the children can pass through, but no one else.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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