#BlogElul – Love
Hey, you know what? This blog needs more spice. Let’s talk about sex!
So, what’s the big deal about sex? It isn’t love, it’s just physical exercise, right? I can love someone without wanting to go to the gym with them! And certainly, sex and religion don’t mix. Sex can’t really be part of Elul.
Well, actually, Judaism does have opinions on sex. Judaism thinks sex is important and in fact, when it comes to relationships between a married couple, essential. It is one of the reasons why either a woman or a man may demand a divorce, and this is in the most Orthodox, patriarchal, and backwards of versions of the Jewish law. A Jew who is independently wealthy is expected to have sex daily, one who works a day job, twice a week, and shift workers or people who travel, every 15 days, 30 days, or 6 months, depending on the nature of their job. Yes, it really does specify. So, come on, people. Get on with it! Are you meeting your quota?
This meets with more than the usual dismay from people. Surely, sex should be when one wants to! Surely it shouldn’t be mechanical, or forced. Yet if it was just ‘going to the gym’, it shouldn’t be a big deal! Just like going to the gym, one would do it regularly to stay fit, (picture it for a moment: one, two, three, four, and again – just one more time people – yes, I know, you have that image stuck in your head now – your welcome) whether one wanted to or not. The thing is, the Torah does recognize that sex isn’t a basic ordinary part exercise. It is an expression of love, one of the deepest we have.
When we allow physical intimacy with another person, we are trusting that person to take care of us. We allow a deep level of vulnerability to exist between us. This is an area where abuse is so easy, that rape has a whole category all to itself. So, sex is about trust.
It is about sharing. We give and receive pleasure and sharing pleasure is powerful. The act builds and reinforces affection – it’s not for nothing that it’s called “making love”.
So, how can something that vital be dictated? It’s bad enough to dictate ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, to dictate caring for children and honouring parents, to dictate ritual and daily practice, to dictate the food we eat and the clothing we wear. Now, this religion is coming into our bedrooms? Ridiculous!
Or is it? Is it a high standard, difficult to attain, set to us as a goal? Is it a question? “Have I done all I can to make sure I do meet those requirements?” Am I taking care of myself, trying my best in my relationship, making the most of every opportunity? Or am I simply allowing daily fuss to take over, to become more important? Am I taking sex for granted? Am I ignoring my responsibilities in this area? This month, as I review everything else, I had better review sex too. Yes, the work is hard. But the rewards are pretty awesome.