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May 15, 2009

Sexless Marriage? Call Rabbi Shmuley

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/sexless_marriage_call_rabbi_shmuley_20090515/

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Trapped in a sexless marriage? Hang on one more television season—Rabbi Shmueley Boteach is coming to your rescue.

HollywoodJew has learned that the “Kosher Sex” author is in the midst of filming a new reality series in which he helps three couples per episode deal with the fact that their marital bed has turned into a Frigidaire.

The TLC Channel has yet to make a formal announcement, buit HollywoodJew has learned the series has begun shooting in Los Angeles, and will air beginning in September.

So far, no word on a title, though we’re told the network, which aired the rabbi’s popular “Shalom in the Home” series for three seasons, is leaning towards, “Sexual Healing.” Hey, comes with its own theme song.


The bearded, energetic clergyman will help sex-starved couples of all races, religions and creeds deal with, among other problems,  porn addiction, adultery, molestation and the inability to reach orgasm. Think “Real Sex” meets “The Frisco Kid.” Okay, kidding aside, while his detractors dismiss the best-selling Boteach as a publicity seeking showman, we find him impressive.  The Los Angeles born rabbi is on a mission to bring Jewish ideas and values into the wider world (hey, kind of like jewishjournal.com), and he is fearless in exploring the issues and opportunities that help him do so. 

In the new show, he’ll guide three couples per episode as they attempt to regain intimacy and save their marriage.
Here’s some info we gathered on the couples particular problems:


1.    Husband has lost sexual interest in his wife. He loves her, but barely touches her. They share the same bed. There is intimacy in the marriage. They share a loving commitment. But he claims to have no libido, neither for his wife nor for other women. His wife tries to kiss him, caress him, and stimulate him. But he cannot be aroused. I have counseled many couples in this tragic situation . The pain a wife experiences when lying nightly naked next to her husbands and not having him demonstrate any desire to even hold her is positively excruciating. We will focus on the causes of this loss of libido. Often it is depression. Still other times it is the boredom of routine and the loss of erotic desire. The husband may also be preempting feelings of rejection by refusing to touch his wife because he does not feel that he is desirable to her. The cause may even be hormonal. Whatever it is, it reflects a loss of romantic passion between the couple that must be addressed and remedied.

2.    A wife who is sexually closed to her husband or who engages in sex mechanically. This could be due to a number of issues as well. One out of three American women have been sexually molested leaving deep sexual scars and a feeling that sex is dirty and unromantic. Other causes involve a feeling on the part of a wife that her husband is only interested in her, as one wife put it to me recently, ‘five minutes before sex and not one minute after sex.’ At other times it is due a wife’s feeling that her husband is not making love to her so much as using her body to have an orgasm, almost as a form of masturbation. Still other women, and I have seen this often, have been raised by their parents with religious views about sex as being only for procreation. They feel that sex is something dirty and is to be engaged in not for pleasure but as a means to an end. A great deal of sexual guilt prevents them from letting go in the bedroom. We will deal with all these issues with real life case studies and remedies.

3.    The husband who is a porn addict, which statistics say affects about a quarter of all married men in America. An addict is defined as a man who spends at least one hour per day downloading pornography. Porn pulls husbands away from their wives. Masturbating to many women becomes more exciting than making love to the same woman. It addicts husbands to variety, making monogamy feel like monotony. It also gives husbands unrealistic ideas about what a (airbrushed) woman ought to look like. I have counseled many wives who discovered that their husbands were addicted to porn. In many ways it was more shocking and unnerving that discovering that they were having an affair. At least with an affair the wife, however devastated, could make sense of it. Her husband was drawn to someone else, and that’s unbelievably painful. But with a porn addiction they saw their husbands as sick.

4.    The couple who are attracted to each other and were having a healthy sex life before the birth of a child upended their physical intimacy. A Harvard study showed that marital sex decreases on average by about 75% after the birth of a baby. Sometimes the reasons are simply practical. The baby needs to be nursed, Mom is unavailable. The kids sleep in the parents bed. The couple, after looking after the kids, are too tired to have sex. At other times the husband’s erotic attraction is diminished mentally by seeing his wife as ‘the mother of his children.’ Still other times husbands complain that their wives ‘let themselves go’ after having a baby, pack on the pounds, and are no longer as attractive. Conversely, many wives no longer feel as sexually desirable after childbirth.

5.    The wife who cannot climax when making love to her husband, or who enjoys masturbation more than sex. Studies show that the ratio of male to female orgasm in marriage is eight to one. Many women prefer self-stimulation to sex with their husbands because often men don’t take the time to really ask a woman what pleasures her or study the female anatomy.

6.    Sex after adultery. Marital sex is devastated by an act of infidelity and sometimes never recovers, even if the marriage does. I counseled one couple where the husband had a yearlong affair. The wife agreed to resume having sex with her husband only once he described, in the most intimate detail, every sexual encounter he had with the other woman, down to the intricacies of her sexual response. But once the husband complied, the wife was so sickened, and so afraid that she would not measure up, that she refuses to till this day to be intimate with her husband.

7.    Husbands and wives who have had many sexual partners before marrying and cannot help but compare their spouse to the ghosts of lovers past, thereby filling the marriage both with unnatural disappointment as well as inhibition.

Boteach’s last series was filmed back east (he now lives in New Jersey, with his wife and 9 children— insert your own quip about his not-so-sexless marriage here). But “Sexual Healing” will be shot entirely in LA.

By the way, the rabbi was just in LA, where he debated Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger on the correct approach to dating.  You can read all about it and see a video of the debate here.

 

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