Sex and the Sabbath

Fri 3:00pm - 3:50pm

Venue: Portal


The pandemic has impacted our lives in countless ways, including our sex lives. Emerging research shows that COVID-19 has negatively impacted many people’s love lives and contributed to an overall decrease in sexual activity. Even before the pandemic, evidence suggested that Americans of all ages (from teens to baby boomers) were having sex less frequently than in the past. There are many theories about reasons for this trend including economic pressures, growing anxiety rates, the prevalence of smartphones, and more. But what if we are overlooking an important cause of the “sex recession”? Could the problem be linked to a decreasing emphasis on rest, including Sabbath-keeping? What if we made more time for sex when we’re wide awake and well rested? In Jewish culture, sex on the Sabbath is considered a “double mitzvah,” which means that not only is it viewed as a blessing, it is actively recommended by rabbinical tradition as an important, sacred activity. Similarly, could other religions including Christian denominations get behind celebrating sex as part of a sacred Sabbath observance? Kate Rademacher has worked for twenty years in public health with a focus on sexual health, and she is the author of Reclaiming Rest: The Promise of Sabbath, Solitude, and Stillness in a Restless World. During this workshop, Kate will present evidence about connections between sex and rest, and will discuss some of the ways that exploring linkages between sex and the Sabbath can be transformative for us as individuals and potentially for our broader society. This will be an interactive workshop and include small-group discussions about the connections between sexuality, rest, and Sabbath-keeping.