Doing God’s Work in the Bedroom

While the NY Times’s article about a prominent Orthodox sex therapist Bat Sheva Marcus,”The Orthodox Sex Guru” 1/22/15, neglects to include what the Sages of the Talmud really say about women and sexual pleasure (extremely sex-positive, promising women sexual satisfaction in marriage, only permitting consensual sex, etc…), the article is worth reading. Marcus is helping many couples find happiness and closeness after years of marriage. She’s doing God’s work, so these people can work for God.

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The fact that men and women in chareidi communities are denied proper sex-education, and that in the name of preserving sex’s holiness, sex became taboo to discuss or enjoy, means that something is broken and needs to be fixed. Hopefully, we can have more of Marcus spreading the good news that God wants men and women to enjoy sex – and she can help teach them how.

Below her brown bangs, Marcus’s eyes fill with tears sometimes when she talks about how Orthodox Judaism — and above all the most restrictive branches of Haredi Orthodoxy — can quash female eros by imbuing a physical shame and a nearly apocalyptic sexual terror, by teaching that if the laws of tzniut, of modesty, are broken, calamity will come. One Haredi rabbi I met likened eros to “nuclear energy”: Sex could bring disaster to the world, but, he said, “the careful regulation” of it can connect a couple to God and beckon “transcendent experience.”…Marcus, though, sees more repression than transcendence….