This piece was written by Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet for a forthcoming publication by Dr. David Ribner and Talli Rosenbaum, “I Am for My Beloved: A Guide to Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples” (Urim, 2019). The book contents information about intimacy, sexual anatomy and physiology, sex within the lifecycle, and Jewish values and attitudes towards sex – with a practical, hands-on approach – to help couples enrich their marital and sexual lives and maintain passion and intimacy within the framework of Jewish tradition.
“Mikveh Night.” Is it a special night or one filled with anxiety? How can we make the evening positive in our marriage? The results of my research indicate that there is a range of reactions by both men and women to “mikveh night.” Some love the excitement that the abstinence brings, and feel that it puts their desires in sync. Others find it very stressful and feel pressure to perform. At different points in life, couples can vacillate along the continuum between these two extremes. Mikveh night can set the tone for what will happen during the rest of the month. If you or your partner find mikveh night to be a source of pressure, if you don’t enjoy the mikveh experience, or if you resent how mikveh determines your sexual schedule, you are not alone. For some people, these feelings are eased when they agree to remove all sexual expectations from the evening. The couples that get the most out of mikveh night seem to be those who use the time leading up to that evening to connect and to communicate about their desires and expectations. Following are some mikveh night tips that can be beneficial even for those who do not choose to engage in intercourse on mikveh night: