Netflix Is Killing Marital Sex And I Couldn't Be More Turned On
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a clever man.
As the author of Kosher Sex: A Recipe For Passion And Intimacy, he is one of the world’s foremost experts on sex and/or cooking: I haven’t read it, so I’m not sure which. But I know that he has dedicated his life to providing the devout with advice for healthy sex lives, and you’ve got to respect that.
Yet I find his comments during his recent appearance on 'Q&A' this week somewhat curious. Rabbi Boteach said there was a “sexual famine in the modern Western marriage”, and blamed the drought on Netflix.
"We speak of a 'golden age of television',” said the rabbi, “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."
Now I’m not disputing the basic facts that Boteach lays out here. All I object to is his implication that this is somehow a problem for our society. As far as I can see, this development is the best thing that ever happened to us.
So couples are watching television instead of having sex. So what?
How is that a bad thing, when you look at how great television is nowadays, and -- more importantly -- how awful sex is?
If you prefer TV to sex, that’s not signs of a malaise in your relationship: it’s just proof you’ve got your priorities right.
Let’s think about sex. Honestly, objectively, think about it. By any reasonable standard, it is disgusting. People taking their clothes off, exposing all the most unattractive and wobbly parts of their sinful bodies, and then mashing those wobbly parts together like they’re making rissoles.
It’s a humiliating experience at the best of times, as to have sex you are forced to show another person things that nobody but a medical professional should ever see.
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What’s more, sex is tiring. It takes so much energy, and leaves you exhausted. Who on earth wants to come home from a hard day’s work, only to have to expend more effort, to force your aching muscles into further pointless exertion in the name of so-called marital bliss?
If all that weren’t enough, consider that sex involves literally putting parts of your body inside another person’s body. Now, at the very least, that is incredibly unhygienic. As a general rule, inserting foreign bodies into ourselves is considered a bad idea, yet somehow just because the foreign body is attached to a human being it's all right? I think not. If you wouldn’t shove a fidget spinner into your ear, why on earth would you want to have sex?
Now the answer to that question, throughout history, has been “because there’s nothing better to do”. And that’s fair enough. People have to pass the time somehow, and sex is how we’ve done it, traditionally.
But as Rabbi Boteach has noticed -- without truly appreciating the meaning of his discovery -- these days we DO have something better to do. Thanks to Netflix and other streaming services, our time can be spent in a far more entertaining and constructive manner.
Just look at the array of programmes we’ve seen in this Golden Age of Television. 'Game Of Thrones'. 'Russian Doll'. 'House Of Cards'. 'Breaking Bad'. 'Orange Is The New Black'. 'Stranger Things'. The list goes on and on and on. And unlike days of yore, we can watch these wonderful shows over and over again, and binge entire seasons in one day.
Unlike the old days, when you could only watch an hour of your favourite at a time, and then had to find a way to fill the rest of the evening -- inevitably leading you to the disgusting last resort of intercourse -- today television can occupy all of our leisure time. We can be transported to wondrous fictional worlds with brilliant writing, transcendent acting, and sky-high production values, and we don’t have to remove our clothing, get sweaty and out of breath, or mingle revolting bodily fluids to do it.
Think carefully. What would you rather do tonight: have sex, or rewatch Season One of 'Daredevil'?
It’s not even close, is it?
How would sex satisfy your love of beautifully choreographed fight scenes? Sure, it’s unfortunate that occasionally Daredevil has sex, but that’s part of his character’s complexity: we know he’s a flawed hero. And you can spend hours watching 'Daredevil' with barely any effort, as opposed to sex, which is hard to do for even 10 minutes without getting a cramp in your leg.
READ MORE: Do Condoms Make Men Lose Their Erections?
Of course, some will say that we need sex to maintain the human species. But to that I say, firstly, have you ever met the human species; and secondly, scientists can do that with computers and things now, we don’t need sex for it.
So, here we are. As a society, we are abandoning the unpleasant and fatiguing act of sexual intercourse with the relaxing and enjoyable act of watching premium scripted drama and comedy. Contrary to Rabbi Boteach’s assertions, this is not a sign of decline, but of progress.
A sexless, telly-watching populace is a happy populace. The fact that we are moving past our juvenile need to mindlessly couple with each other means we are finally, thankfully, becoming actually civilised. Let’s hope this trend continues, to the point where everyone has access to the highest quality programmes, and nobody feels the need to touch anyone else’s rude bits at all. Then we can finally say we have achieved utopia.