Rabbinic texts are androcentric. The relationship between rabbinic rhetoric, even rabbinic constructions of sexuality and actual Jewish female life and practice is far from clear. One thing that seems to emerge from these texts is that sexuality is rarely, if ever, discussed by the rabbis with the good of the woman in mind. Even the Palestinian sources on a woman’s sexual rights from her husband are concerned with procreation, not female sexual pleasure. Moreover, until we know more about the relationship between the rhetoric and reality, between rabbinic legislation and its acceptance, application, and enforcement, we can derive very little from this literature as to actual female sexual lives and thoughts. Did women view themselves as the rabbis viewed them? Was female asceticism, frowned upon by Palestinian rabbis but lionized in early Christian sources, an option for Jewish women in Roman Palestine or in Babylonia? How did these assumptions affect relationships between and among Jewish families in late antiquity? What strategies did women use to conform with and rebel against androcentric societal expectations and institutions? Even female contraceptive strategies are masked by the androcentrism of these texts.
Michael Satlow, Tasting the Dish: Rabbinic Rhetorics of Sexuality (Providence, RI: Brown University, 1995), 332-333.