Detail of Circumcision of Jesus Christ by Pellegrino da San Daniele

Hello everyone! It’s time now for a new column called “Sex Tips From History,” wherein each week I will spotlight a useful sex and/or love tip from that greatest sex instructor of all, history. Some of them are going to be awful, so maybe don’t try them at home. Or do, but be aware that some people hate history and hence will not take kindly to your attempts to bring it into the bedroom.

There are so many sex tips from history that I almost don’t know where to begin. But while looking things up, one common thread I noticed was that a lot of writing on the subject is about how to make sex worse, not better, especially for women. Anti-tips, as it were. What?! This is because for much of human history, sex has been viewed as bad, dirty and frightening, whether because people thought Sky Guy didn’t like it, or because men were afraid that the physically weaker and hence subjugated sex might use it to gain the upper hand on their male masters. Which I’m pretty sure are inextricably linked. (What up, patriarchy?)

And speaking of “tips,” let’s talk about circumcision. Growing up, I was always taught it was a way to signify a boy’s membership in the Jew club, albeit an arbitrary, unnecessary, non-consensually body modifying way. It also has spiritual implications for Muslims and certain types of Christians. Of all the things people do in the name of ancient superstition, making a dude’s penis all nice and streamlined in an operation he probably won’t remember hardly seems like the worst of it, right?

Well, one Jewish sage named Isaac Ben Yedaya thought that circumcision was also useful as a way to keep women from enjoying sex too much, as it turns you into a total minute man:

A man uncircumcised in the flesh desires to lie with a beautiful-looking woman who speaks seductively to attract him. He vexes his mind to be with her day after day, growing weary in his attempt to fulfil his desire through lovemaking with her.

She too will court the man who is uncircumcised in the flesh and lie against his breast with great passion, for he thrusts inside her a long time because of his foreskin, which is a barrier against ejaculation in intercourse. Thus she feels pleasure and reaches an orgasm first. When an uncircumcised man sleeps with her, and then resolves to return to his home, she brazenly grabs him, holding on to his genitals and says to him, “Come back, make love to me.” This is because of the pleasure that she finds in intercourse with him, from the sinews of his testicles—sinew of iron—and from his ejaculation—that of a horse which he shoots like an arrow into her womb. They are united without separating, and he makes love twice and three times in one night, yet the appetite is not filled.

And so he acts with her night after night. The sexual activity emaciates him of his bodily fat, and afflicts his flesh, and he devotes his brain entirely to women, an evil thing. His heart dies within him; between her legs he sinks and falls. He is unable to see the light of the King’s face, because the eyes of the intellect are plastered over by women so that they cannot now see light.

But when a circumcised man desires the beauty of a woman, and cleaves to his wife, or to another woman comely in appearance, he will find himself performing his task quickly, emitting his seed as soon as he inserts his crown. If he lies with her once, he sleeps satisfied, and will not know her again for another seven days. This is the way a circumcised man acts time after time with the woman he loves. He has an orgasm first; he does not hold back his strength. As soon as he begins intercourse, he immediately comes to a climax.

She has no pleasure from him when she lies down on when she arises, and it would be better for her if he had not known her and not drawn near to her, for he arouses her passsion to no avail, and she remains in a state of desire for her husband, ashamed and confounded, while the seed is still in her “reservoir.” She does not have an orgasm once a year except on rare occasions, because of the great heat and the fire burning within her. Thus he who says “I am the Lord’s” will not empty his brain because of his wife or the wife of his friend. He will find grace and good favor; his heart will be strong to seek out God. he will not fear to behold that which is beyond, and when He speaks to him, he will not turn away.


Do you hear that, ladies? ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED. That’s how you should feel after intercourse. Basically, like a character on Girls. I feel this text may also explain a lot about the sexual neuroses of Jewish men. According to this guy, you are only supposed to do it once a week, because maybe that’s how long it takes for her to forget how bad itwas the last time.

Luckily for us chosen people, Isaac Ben Yedaya could not have predicted the desensitizing effects of constant, compulsive masturbation to internet pornography, which functions like a digital foreskin of sorts. And my, how the tables have turned in modern America re: the cut vs. uncut debate. Whoever thought that it woud be the virile, goyishe, foreskin havers of the world who must worry about whether women would refuse to fuck them because of their awesome pleasure flap? Not Isaac Ben Yadaya! (I want to make it clear at this juncture that I do not condone sexual discrimination on the grounds of circumcision status, because that’s silly.)

In the end, it seems many men of all types eventually figured out how to give women orgasms, even some of those who remained “minute men.” (I will never get mad at a long oral sex jam followed by a few paltry minutes of p-in-v.) And maybe that never slowed them down to begin with. But nonetheless, let’s take this opportunity to love the one you’re with, and be happy he/she is at least trying to make you feel satisfied after you do it. Go on, give them a hug. They’ve earned it.