The Politics of Sexuality

Glaringly missing from all the controversy and debate raging around now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearings is the underlying issue that lays at the heart of the matter: Sexuality. Or in legal terms: Roe vs. Wade – the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s constitutional legal right to an abortion.

In a twist of irony, the last-minute bombshell accusation that almost torpedoed Kavanaugh’s nomination was also about sexuality: his alleged sexual attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Beyond the story of extreme partisan politics, beyond the story of the Trump Presidency and age of disruption, beyond every imaginable angle covered by every media outlet, the true inside story – the root of the issue at hand, beyond all the symptoms – is our attitudes toward sexuality and relationships.

We live in times where sexuality has become divorced of intimacy and commitment. It is looked at as a personal right to pleasure and leisure, not as a personal and social responsibility. “Sexual freedom” – the right to engage in sexuality as one sees fit, without consequences or commitment if one so deems fit — trumps the effort and work needed to build healthy and enduring relationships and families.

The right to an abortion (not due to rape or other extenuating circumstances) has become equated with sexual freedom; it has become associated with the voice and battle cry for women’s rights and emancipation. This of course serves men’s interests as well – being able to engage in physical relations without consequences.

Had our society considered sexuality as sacred, and seen sexual relationships as part of a serious commitment and intimate connection between soulmates, one can wonder if there would be both less motivation to choose abortion and less incidences of sexual assault.

How much our politics and our political positions are affected by sexuality and the perceived freedoms around it?

In this charged climate and paralyzing polarization, Rabbi Jacobson will address the state of sexuality in our times, and how it impacts virtually every aspect of our lives. What is sexuality? How is it different than intimacy? What can we do to build healthier and sustainable relationships? How can an improved attitude to sexuality free us from being trapped in a political vortex and help broaden our horizons?

After all that has been said and written about the Senate’s confirmation proceedings, discover, in this refreshing and groundbreaking talk, a new perspective that will shed light on the core issues and its relevance to our lives.

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Jennifer Bahssin
5 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobson,
First, I want to Thank You for all that you do!
Your 60 day’s book made the High Holidays much more meaningful. I’m very grateful for the wisdom you share. That said, with immense due respect, I think you missed the point here.
This was NOT about R v. W.
That issue may motivate people but it is a disservice to Dr. Ford and to women and justice to reduce it to that.
While I agree that we might be better off if there was more reverence for the act of intimacy, this issue was not about Roe v. Wade or abortion or the lack of sanctity in intimacy.
Dr. Ford testified that she was sexually violated- attempted rape, by a drunken college student in a priveledged Yale environment. As a female, I know well this attitude where men exert power over women with a sense of entitlement.
While, I agree with what you say about relationships, with all respect, there is nothing wrong with building healthy relationships, but this is not the “real headlines” or “the real story”.
I recall reading in the Chumash that there are qualities leaders should possess- Mr. Kavanaugh does not express those values. While he was not proven guilty, I don’t doubt Dr. Ford was saying the truth and found the mannerisms in his rebuttal alone exhibited unstable qualities that should have made him unfit to be a Supreme Court judge. The “real story” as I see it, is a lack of moral standards and discrimination of women.
I still love you and think your great but I think you got this one wrong.

5 years ago

A better title would be Beyond The Politics of Sexuality. I’m sending this to many people, including my college aged grandchildren. It says everything I’ve been wanting to share with them. Thank you!

5 years ago

Great talk! My view is that abortion shouldn’t even be a question in the first place, because if a woman really respect and honor herself and the sacred of a child’s life she will never get pregnant if she haven’t planned to be a mother, it’s a matter of conscious and responsability. To conceive and to create a child is the most sacred act that anyone can do. Love and peace.

The Meaningful Life Center