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My parents never sat me down to talk about what happens between a husband and a wife behind locked doors. Never a conversation about how our bodies transform during puberty and why suddenly the boys on the other side of the mechitza sparked my interest…
why eye contact with them seemed illicit, yet exciting. You could say there was something decidedly dichotomous about my childhood.
) Yet still, in our home, we were not completely shut out to secular influences. I prayed fervently for a month to forget the image of the scantily dressed, dancing girls at the pool party.I mean, no one was engaging in such behaviors anyway, right? In my time as a video editor, I worked for three years on a documentary called Can’t Touch This. The film followed a number of individuals and couples, observant and not, and their practices around premarital sexuality: namely, whether or not they were shomer negiah and adhered to the laws that governed touch between members of the opposite sex. Honor and admire every woman as a unique person, with a wonderful inner world. As beautiful as you are, on the inside and outside, you are not an object. Yes, it was implicitly understood that as we got older, we would have less and less contact with members of the opposite sex. As for conversations, maybe a word or two could be exchanged at the water fountain, but surely no more than that. Yes, we’d learn about yichud (laws prohibiting a man and woman who are not married or immediately related to be alone together) but it was theoretical- an elevator or car ride the most likely assumed scenario.