This study presents the experiences, feelings, and opinions regarding sex education, of 12 young religious-Zionist women who studied in the Israeli religious-Zionist school system and participated in bride-counseling lessons in the months and days prior to marriage. Each has been married two to ten years and each was participating in a bride-counseling course during the present study. The aim of the in-depth interviews was to understand how each of these women experienced the transition from complete celibacy before marriage to full sexuality in the first days and months after marriage, and to hear about their experiences of formal sex education as high school students and as brides undergoing bride counseling lessons, as well as their new impressions on sexuality education as students in a bride-counseling course. In addition, they were asked to articulate their thoughts on sex education for religious high school girls and for brides they may wish to counsel in the future.
Caught between their perceived commitment to teaching the halachic lifestyle and values, and their sense of obligation to promote the well-being of their students and brides when dealing with sexuality both before and after marriage, these women often voiced ambivalent and even contradictory opinions regarding what to talk about with students and brides, as well as when and how. But they also gave a clear message on the importance of promoting healthy femininity and sexuality within a halachic framework and the need for a formal sexuality program for religious girls in the high school classroom.