Monday, December 12, 2016

An Open Discussion About A Closed Issue - Part 2

Encouraged by feedback from this post, I continue the thought....

It is well known that one of the biggest problems in any marriage is the issue of sexual compatibility. He has certain needs and desires and so does she. The odds that they will have exactly the same needs and desires are almost the same as the odds that tomorrow the entire world population will grow wings and fly off to Mars. It just CAN'T happen. So how does the couple deal with the difference in needs and expectations?

That is a big question which will have a great bearing on their marital satisfaction in general. How much knowledge do they have about this topic? Well, they each heard a 20 minute talk [give or take] before their wedding making them sure candidates to have no understanding or knowledge of this topic other than their instincts. 

Some couples work it out. They discuss it, learn each others needs and try to accommodate their partner and ultimately come to a happy resolution. Many others - don't. Often, one of the two is not interested or barely interested. So that means that it almost never happens and when it does it is satisfying for neither. 

A sure-recipe for big problems outside the bedroom as well. 

Who can they talk to about this? Their Rav? Sex therapy is not on the semicha bechina. Rabbonim are not trained for this. 

Go to a professional? Not everybody has the money or the openness to do such a thing. Since the topic is "unclean" and "taboo" people don't feel comfortable talking about it. 

We must emphasize: Sexual satisfaction is not just a fulfillment of physical needs but something MUCH MUCH deeper. 

To illustrate: When someone is sexually abused, G-d forbid, all it takes is ONE TIME and the person is often scarred for life. The more it happens the deeper the scars. Why is that? Because sexual contact touches a very deep part of a person's psyche and when done in an abusive way it is extremely destructive.

That means that in a healthy marriage a satisfying relationship can have an equally potent positive effect. But if there is dysfunction then there will be deep breaches in the relationship and in the psyches and souls of the couple. 

If you walk down the street in a Charedi neighborhood and see kids smoking at a street corner laughing about nothing with an empty look in their eyes and a filthy iphone in their hands, it might well have started in their parents bedroom [unbeknownst to them of course]. 

Think about it - one of the primary causes of OTD kids is a lack of Shalom Bayis. Shalom Bayis begins in the bedroom. Lets face it: Men and women are completely different. If not for the attraction then there would be no marriage. I have never been a woman [nor do I plan to be despite the modern movement to change genders as you go along] but I have been around guys quite a bit in my life and am one myself. There is no chance that a guy would be interested in a girl if she weren't feminine and attractive. Guys are interested in Bava Kamma - girls are not [almost always. I still have yet to see a woman or girl learning gemara on a bus or airplane although I have seen thousands upon thousands of men doing so]. Girls are into cooking. Most guys aren't. Girls are into their makeup and hair. Guys don't wear makeup and are usually losing their hair. Girls are into talking about feelings while guys skip that "girl talk". Guys like to feel important and be boss. Women like strong men who are important and boss.

These are gross generalizations. But it is undeniable that men and women are different. What brings them together is the fact that she is attracted to his masculinity and he to her femininity. If this is lacking, then they are in big trouble. Over time the relationship is evolves and they develop a soul connection and don't need the physical as much. But that takes time. 

In our times things have changed. In the olden days, a match was made, expectations were low, and the couple survived - sometimes they were happier sometimes less so.

Today it isn't so simple. The world is an open world. A guy walks down the street and he sees very attractive women [who are better dressed and put together than they were back in the shtetl]. There is Internet and billboards featuring beautiful women. If his wife isn't satisfying then he will be frustrated and angry.

Frustrated and angry people are less kind and generous. Less kind and generous are not good middos for fatherhood and husband hood. Like I said - who knows how many kids are out on the streets today because their parents weren't sexually satisfied. That is the root cause. Kids generally don't like to leave loving, warm homes. If they are leaving then something is often wrong. 

Not to mention all of the adults going off the derech. That is ALSO very often due to unsatisfying marriages. Of course there are other factors as well but this one cannot be ignored. 

So I repeat my call to be aware of this issue in your life and not to sweep it under the carper. The dirt under the carpet will collect until it can't be cleaned anymore. 

No less a personage than Dovid Hamelech would get his hands dirty with niddah shylos in order to permit a husband to have relations with his wife. Hashem wants it to happen with kedusha and tahara to the satisfaction of both spouses. That is why He allows us to erase his name in order to enable physical intimacy. That is why the gemara gives tips on sexually satisfying one's husband. And the Torah itself requires a man to be with his wife whenever she desires. 

This is really a huuuge deal. It is a religious, spiritual and emotional issue that has far reaching ramifications.

Halevai that my words should help people grow in this vital area.