Thou Shalt Have Dirty Thoughts

Look,” says Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, leaning across a white linen tablecloth in the staid dining room at the Stanhope Hotel, “everyone already knew that guys love blow jobs. Clinton didn’t make them chic!” The rabbi from Oxford University, in town to promote his new book, Kosher Sex (just published here by Doubleday), raises his voice, as he tends to do when he gets excited. “If anything, Bill Clinton made blow jobs really boring. Half the time he refused to ejaculate. I mean, this was pretty awful sex they had. This was, like, barnyard sex.”

A dozen blocks away, at the conservative Park Avenue Synagogue, 300 people are waiting for the holy man to show up and spill some more seeds of wisdom. “God, we’re late,” says the rabbi, picking up his cell phone and dashing for the door.

“You were great on the Today show this morning!” yells the doorman.

“Hey, thanks! So, no,” says Rabbi Boteach (“Call me Shmuley”) as he steps into the cab, “Bill Clinton was not having kosher sex.” By the rabbi’s definition, that would have been with Hillary (see Boteach’s last book, on adultery), in the dark ("so you use all of your senses, not just your eyes”), and with the goal being “intimacy” ("not stopping and running to a sink”). “And his primary desire would have been to give her pleasure,” the rabbi says as Ayatollah the driver eyeballs him in the mirror. “That’s the beautiful part, isn’t it?”

Since the 31-year-old Orthodox rabbi and father of six published Kosher Sex in England last year, Boteach and his ideas (oral sex, good; masturbation, bad; sex toys, see Chapter Nine) have, as he puts it, “freaked out some people, but the book was a best-seller for 37 weeks, thank God.” Now he is taking his show to America (“I’m doing twelve cities over the next couple weeks”), where he thinks Jews will be “more accepting. Especially in New York.”

At the Park Avenue Synagogue, Boteach dons a yarmulke and basks in the applause that erupts every couple of minutes as he does his shtick. On premarital sex: “No chuppah, no shtuppa.” On the way men operate: “One moment he can’t keep his hands off you, the next he’s in a coma.” On the key to great sex: “Vulnerability. To need someone is far greater than to love them.” On undressing: “When you take off your clothes, your spouse should have dirty thoughts.” On the reason men fear commitment: “Because women focus on the positive aspects of marriage and men focus on the negative. Anyone ever hear of Groom magazine?”

By the end, they’re waving $20 bills at him to buy his book and get it signed. And he hasn’t even mentioned oral sex. “Honey, I’m past that,” says an elderly woman named Tootsie. “But I wouldn’t have minded if he at least brought it up.”

Thou Shalt Have Dirty Thoughts