Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is Judaism Sex-Positive?

So, this article about Chasidic women in Judaism was written in response to many of the negative responses to the asifa. The article is about Chasidic women, specifically, and I certainly can't speak to whether Chasidic women find their husbands attractive (though I sincerely hope that they do). But I found the author's assertion that "Judaism is the original sex-positive culture" ridiculous.

Yes, yes, I know that sex within the realm of marriage is a good thing in Judaism. Except when it's not, which is about half of every month. The author says, "[O]nce you're married, sex is totally cool and awesome and G-d likes it." Which, well, is only part of the story. And I'm not saying the laws of taharat hamishpacha are a bad thing in any way, but our practice of sex is certainly not proof that we're sex-positive.

And how come such a sex-positive culture doesn't ever talk about sex? Now, I'm not saying we should drop all the boundaries of tzniut and start talking about sex like it's meaningless, but not talking about sex at all in any sort of space with any sort of authority figure until right before you're married when you talk mostly about restrictions and then never talk about sex again is not sex-positive, nor, I would argue from my current vantage point, very healthy. 

I once went to a forum that was supposed to be an open forum for couples to discuss challenges of taharat hamishpacha. I, not being married, went because I was curious and wanted to know what I was facing (I was already engaged). And you know what the only topic of conversation was? How to talk to your children about taharat hamishpacha. Now, call me crazy, but that is the only challenge couples face when it comes to taharat hamishpacha? Or, more likely, that's the only one they feel comfortable talking about in a safe space designated for talking about challenges. That is not sex-positive.

Now, maybe the answer is we don't want to be sex-positive as a religion. Because if we're too sex-positive high schoolers are going to start having sex, and that, of course, leads to mixed dancing. But, seriously, there are real ramifications to being sex-positive. And I get that. And I think it's a discussion we should probably have as a community. Because I definitely agree that teenagers having sex is really, really bad. But you know what's worse? Teenagers having unsafe sex. And I definitely agree that tzniut is important, but at what cost?  

I simply don't think Judaism qualifies as sex-positive just because we're not debilitatingly sex-negative. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hello, Finals

My stomach is so confused.