How To Fix A Sexless Marriage, According To An Orthodox Rabbi

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach mixes Kaballah and Tantra to help couples restore desire to their sex lives.

couple on bed Marko Aliaksandr / Shutterstock

In this excerpt, Rabbi Schmuley Boteach tells one couple how using Tantra can help them live in a heightened state. By focusing on the moment without expectation of the end result, sexual passion can be coaxed alive (and sustained!) in a couple. Not your average rabbinical advice, but we'll take Boteach's word for it. He and his wife, Debbie, do have nine children, after all.


By the time Meg and Danny came to see me, they had not had sex in more than a year. Meg had put on weight, but Danny denied that was the reason he did not feel like having sex with his wife. He said he simply had not been in the mood for many months. He complained that his wife bullied him into it, made him feel guilty about not desiring her, and that just diminished his interest in her even more. He said he felt generally lethargic. It wasn't directed at his wife. He just felt uninspired, like he had no energy.


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One comment he made shocked me: "If my wife continues to badger me on this sex thing, then I think I want a divorce." For her part, Meg said that her husband not touching her at night was torturing her. She felt ugly and unwanted. She wanted her husband to be intimate with her.

"We're not roommates, for goodness' sake. We're married. This is unnatural." I told them to start slow.

"Meg, don't push your husband for sex. Rather, when he comes home at night, massage his shoulders. Help him relieve tension. Do that for a few days. Then Danny, like any gentleman, you have to reciprocate. You should start by massaging your wife's shoulders.


From there the two of you can progress to lying in bed and giving each other soft sensual massages for a few minutes each night. If you feel like doing it longer, do it longer. And if you then feel like you're desiring each other more, slowly progress to more intense forms of intimacy. But only if you feel like it. But here's the catch. Do not climax. Neither of you. As it is, Danny, your libido's running on fumes. So don't let any sexual steam leak out."

They followed my advice. With a few hiccups, it began to work.

After two weeks of touching each other, Danny wanted to have sex with his wife.

They did so without climax, although both admitted it was challenging, and Danny had to leave the bed a few times to gain control. But he did it. They made it to a full week without orgasming. Sex became long and involved, lasting more than an hour each time.


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Danny said that the hardest part of the exercise was that he could not sleep after sex. His body was still in a state of arousal. I said to him, "But isn't that good? Look how far you've come. A few weeks ago, you had no energy and no desire for your wife. Now, you have so much energy caused by the desire for your wife that you can't even sleep!"

The long sexual encounters were good for both of them. For Meg, it was a great exercise, a great calorie-burner, and most importantly, great for the ego and self-esteem. She felt like her husband loved her again. For Danny, it was an awakening from the dead.

His shriveled self had begun to expand. And it wasn't only his sex life that was gradually restored, but his interest in the details of his life that has sucked his spirit out in the first place.


Sex is the ultimate expansion of one's life — of course, this occurs literally with physical arousal.

Many things in the body expand (no, I won't elaborate), but it also happens figuratively, with the arousal and expansion of one's inner life. We expand like a sponge. It is at the moment of sexual peak that we are most able to stake in all stimuli and to take them in most fully.

Thus the slightest word from a lover can either bring us to the highest ecstatic peak or else to the depths of emotional pain — should the word be a careless or callous one. This is often named as the cause of female "anorgasm," a woman's inability to sexually climax.


A man makes a snide remark about something strange that his lover says in the throes of passion, or the way that she looks in the throes of ecstasy, and the woman becomes completely cut off from that part of herself. She has absorbed fully and devastatingly the thoughtlessness of her lover. It can take years to recover, if ever.

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Reprinted from The Kosher Sutra: 8 Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life by Shmuley Boteach, copyright 2009 Harper One. Read more about Rabbi Shmuley at