Netflix is driving a ‘Sex Famine’ in Western Marriages
Rabbi Shmuley March 2019
Controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, has visited Australia with an ominous warning for lovers of both pop culture, and of love: Netflix is killing sex.
The Orthodox Jewish teacher and media personality says binge viewing has to take much of the blame for “the rise of the platonic Western marriage”.
“We speak of a ‘golden age of television’ [thanks to investment by streaming services], but if someone has time in bed at night to watch all this stuff, the reason they have so much time is because they’re not having sex,” says Boteach, who hit the national radar with his appearance on Q&A on Monday night.
The author of Kosher Sex and the new book Lust for Love: Rekindling Intimacy and Passion in Your Relationship (which he co-authored with Pamela Anderson) says binge watching is not just a substitute for more active bed-based recreation, it is a distraction from couples’ real issues.
“What binge watching does is, it almost saves your marriage – because we don’t want to confront the loss of passion, to acknowledge it, so having this noise to fill the silence is a convenient escape from having to focus on the loss of intimacy.”
On the downside, Boteach says this is contributing to “the sexual famine that exists in the modern Western marriage”.
“And if marriage, at best, is going to provide you with companionship, then you are not going to incarcerate yourself in it.”
According to Boteach, drivers of the demise of marital sex include that people are “too tired” and “too familiar”, while desire-killers are”factors that relate directly to modern society”.
“Whether it’s mental health issues and an overly-drugged society, whether it’s the fact women really have two jobs today, working to help support families and then all the domestic responsibilities; these are all important factors.”
The ubiquity of pornography is also reducing interest in real-world sex, he says.
The rabbi has tips to help re-ignite the fire: these include “don’t walk around the bedroom naked; nakedness in marriage has to be earned”. “The idea marriage is about total openness and sharing everything is stupid; we are not supposed to be grafted to each other and morphed into each other; this leads to erotic familiarity.”
He urges women to be more open to their partners about their fantasies; husbands should ask wives “erotic questions”, and there should be no discussion of anything practical after 9pm.
“What they discuss after 9pm has to be a practical-free zone. The practical is what openly extinguishes eroticism.”