The Jewish Orgasm and the Gender of the Offspring

One Sabbath morning my father returned home from the synagogue starving. That morning Rabbi T got carried away with a very long lecture and the Morning Prayer ritual that had started at 6am ended up at 11am instead of 9am. My father started Kiddush, the traditional blessing of the wine, mumbling the words fast so he could get to the food.  Unlike him, my mother did not share his urgency to eat, and that morning in particular she wanted to enjoy the blessings. “Slow down,” she asked, “I want to be able to hear the words.” My father looked at her, took a deep breath and tried to pronounce the prayers slowly but his hunger caught up with his tongue. “Slowly,” my mother raised her voice and gestured with her hand for him to do so. My father nodded and made a second attempt to please the ears of the lady-of-the-house. Unfortunately his effort did not last long. At this point my mother got very angry. “Quickly! Quickly!” she said furiously, “Everything with you has to be quick! That is why you gave me two daughters first and only on the third time you finally produced a son!”

Her words seemed to have cured my father’s appetite and he left the table.  We laughed, but did not understand what she was talking about. “It is in the bible*, “ she said and she was more than happy to explain it to us, her teenaged children. “It says that if a woman comes first in sex then she will have a boy, but if the man finishes first then they will have a girl. Ask Rabbi T,” she dared us. “His older son had five daughters, until his father called him for a talk and after that he had six sons.” My sister Liora and I looked at each other, realizing that our existence was an evidence of lousy sex. At the same time our brother, Nathaniel, had a smug smile spread on his face. At that moment I realized why my mother preferred her boys to her girls and why she was full of contempt for men who had only girls. 

I was thinking about all the women that I know and I could no longer see them for the human beings that they were, but as a walking reminiscence of a night when their father failed to pleasure their mother before reaching his own sexual climax.  My mother came from a family of four daughters from three different fathers, could it be that none of my grandmother’s husbands succeeded in pleasuring her? No wonder why she was angry all the time. No wonder why aunt Mazal, my father’s sister, announces loudly and proudly “A male baby! A male baby!” each time a boy is born in the family, but keeps silent when a girl is born.

That day I decided that I would not allow myself and my-future-partner to have any baby girls. We will practice and practice until we will have it right and I will not give anyone any reason to laugh at our bed performances. Two years after my marriage, when my mother called and complained that it has been taking us too long to provide her grandchildren I answered that we were still practicing.  

As time went by and I started noticing reality (versus mythology) around me, I couldn’t avoid questioning this theory/belief. How would this theory explain mixed gender twins or triplets? Is there such a thing as half, third, or two third of an orgasm? If “men first” is supposed to yield only girls how could anyone explain the boys that are born from the sperm bank, when the sperm donor came years before the insemination? What does it mean for babies born from sperm and egg surgically removed? I think that nowadays with more than 30 years of babies born as a result of different fertilization treatments, the “biblical” theory is proven wrong. 

The saddest thing from this whole fake story is that generations of people who believe in it, go through their life feeling ashamed, angry, unwanted, inferior, etc. It is true for both men and women. Men see in their daughters a reminder that they did not perform well in bed, and women grow up to believe that they are a result of a bad performance. Women are especially hurt from such stories/beliefs; while a man can recover his reputation by producing boys, a woman is stuck in her gender for the rest of her life. This belief feeds all kinds of negative perceptions that different societies have about women and use it against them.

A few years ago, one of my cousins dared to confront aunt Mazal about her discriminating approach to the birth of girls. Aunt Mazal’s answer was something we could have not ever expected. She said, “My life as a woman was so hard and painful that I’m sad whenever a girl is born.” When she was 12 year old, still living in Yemen, Aunt Mazal was forced to  marry an older man and become his fourth wife.

*Leviticus 12:2If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child...” King James translation is missing the Hebrew meaning, which is hard to translate: "Isha (A woman) Ki (that) Tazria (releases [seed]) Zera (seed) VeYalda (and gave-birth-to) Zachar (male)..." There are many discussions on this sentence. Some believe that the Hebrew world “Tazria” (releases seed) means the female-orgasm. From this sentence stems the belief that a woman will conceive a male baby if she had reached her orgasm before the man. In biblical times the existence of the female eggs was unknown, but people imagined that a woman has something equivalent to the male ejaculation -  the release of seamen during orgasm. To explain the fact that women, unlike men, can release their "seeds" and conceive without reaching sexual climax, it was believed that "seeds" released without orgasm are inferior and yield a female baby. This perception is not unique to Judaism, unfortunately it is also found in the Greek philosophy that later influenced the Christian theology. This perception of trying to explain the female biology by masculine terms is even common in modern science. The most famous example in this case is in the field of cardiology: For many years more women than men died of a heart attack, despite the fact that statistically more men than women have a heart attack. It turned out that a heart attack in women is very different than a heart attack in men and yet, for years the modern medicine only knew of the masculine form of the disease and treated women by this guideline, which was deadly for them. In the video below cardiologist Noel Merz tells more about this story.

This biblical segment from Liviticus 12:2 is called “Parashat Tazria” – “The story of Tazria”. Here are some discussions on the subject:


  1. I touch really precise version these articles I stingy there are writers that can create moral stuff.


Post a Comment