Christina Aguilera and Husband Split: Why Modesty Might Be Sexier than “Naked Sundays”

While logging into my email today, I was struck by the story of singer Christina Aguilera’s separation from her husband. A celebrity break up is not particularly newsworthy – if anything, it’s the Hollywood relationships that last that should be covered!

What got my attention was the reason for the split. “They were very much in love,” explained an insider. “But over the last six months, it became clear they were more like friends than husband and wife.”

Now while passion fizzling out in a five year young marriage isn’t completely unheard of, I remember reading not too long ago about Aguilera’s secret ingredient to keeping her marriage spicy.

She called it “naked Sundays” and according to the article, every Sunday, she and her husband “just do everything in the house [naked], and we’re just cozy and laid back. We don’t need to go anywhere, we’re just with each other.”

Although Aguilera and her husband have a two year old boy, the naked Sundays apparently continued as recently as April of this year when Ms. Aguilera was quoted as saying, “I think it’s important that [Max] sees mommy not be ashamed for her sexuality. … We’re art collectors, there are a lot of female nudes around the house. Max will be growing up in a house where it’s just the norm…It’s only weird when you shame it,” she said, adding, “I’m more confident and comfortable in my own skin. I think I’m even a more sexual Christina.”

Although a child caught up in his parents’ separation is sad, what I find most upsetting about this story is how modesty is equated with shame and nudity is equated with passion.

Because we Orthodox Jews are a modest bunch, we’re generally viewed by society as sexually repressed. While there may be religions than view the flesh as sinful and strive towards life long celibacy, such thinking is completely antithetical to Jewish philosophy.

The restrictions we live by – dressing and behaving modestly around the opposite sex, reserving intimate touch for marriage only, having a husband and wife physically separate each month during the wife’s cycle – are put in place so that desire can build up for the times when sexuality is permitted.

While naked Sundays might seem exciting at first, the passion they create  apparently is not sustainable. So why not try for modest Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays? There will, of course, be some time for immodesty for a married couple – we just won’t read about any of it online – the passion or the fizzle out.

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  • Avatar photo Ashleyroz says on October 13, 2010

    I think above everything, even the modesty issue is this issue of people expecting a marriage to be fresh, new, and exciting for the duration. I think people are too impatient. 6 months of “feeling like friends” doesn’t seem that bad to me, but then again when you’ve promised and REALLY committed to staying with a person for the rest of your natural life, it’s just a blink of an eye. Marriages, and I’m sure even marriages that include family purity have their slow/boring periods, their hot/spicy/exciting periods, and even downright miserable periods. I guess when everything else in one’s life becomes easier and easier and hedonism loses its novelty, waiting 6 months or even a year for the spice to come back is just too much to bear.
    I’m finding that a few of my friends and even some family who were married in the past 2-5 years are starting to split already. You wouldn’t believe how many of them cite “I feel like I’m living with a roommate/ friend” as one of the reasons on their list. Sure, a little witholding is a good thing in my opinion for keeping a spark, but it isn’t the whole picture. I think the real culprit is fairytail expectations, impatience, and an unwillingness to work as a team instead of as separate entities.

    • Avatar photo Allison says on October 13, 2010

      I completely agree, Ashley. Living a modest lifestyle is not a guarantee of a constantly spicy marriage or even a life long marriage. Other key points must be part of the equation as well. I just wanted to make the point that observant Jews who are often regarded as sexually prudish might have a thing or two to teach someone as “free” as Ms. Aguilera when it comes to sexuality.

  • Avatar photo Tsipora says on October 13, 2010

    I have to say that the first thing that came into my mind when I read about Ms. Aguilera split from her jewish husband is not about modesty. Actually, I don’t really care what Ms. Aguilera have to say about sexuality or the way she wants to raise her child mind you. What I care about is that this intermarriage is coming to an end. Just like Ms. Clinton’s wedding ceremony, Aguilera’s was celebrated with a priest and a rabbi and to complement this circus, she wore a cross under the chuppah. How many more jewish souls are we going to lose from such unions?

    • Avatar photo Allison says on October 13, 2010

      Tsipora, I hear your point, but I didn’t venture into the intermarriage arena because intermarriages happen and end every single day. What I found unique about this story was the fact that a person would recommend a weekly “naked day” as part of the formula for a good marriage when traditional Judaism believes that modesty is part of what keeps a marriage interesting.

      Regarding intermarriage, though, now that you’ve brought it up, I have to say that as a formerly non-observant, uneducated Jew who was raised with strong values to marry only Jewish, I find focusing on intermarriage only as an empty goal.

      My parents, in their defense, were interested in Jewish continuity, but if I had married a Jew but remained as uninvolved and uneducated as they had raised me, there would not have been much Jewish continuity even if I did marry a Jewish guy.

      What I find to be a much more useful goal is spreading Jewish knowledge. Giving Jews a reason that they’d *want* to live Jewish lives. If the stereotypes and negative ideas about Jewish observance get broken down and are replaced by education, no one will have to be “guilted” into marrying Jewish like I was. It will just be the next logical step.

  • Avatar photo T. says on October 13, 2010

    she definately should’ve been way more modest in her videos, we don’t want to see all that+ I bet her husband didn’t either!

  • Avatar photo Melanie says on October 13, 2010

    Maybe you should become a shrink for the stars! I say this in jest, but only partially… if all of these stars, who supposedly are looking for spirituality and seek out kaballah, actually followed modest behavior in their marriages, I wonder how many of these marriages would survive? Great blog. Loved it (you update me on the happenings in the news, both world, politics, and celebrity – so thanks!).

  • Avatar photo Jacob says on October 13, 2010

    I think modesty is a large part of the problem. There was no mystery or specialness to their nudity. It was not a sacred part of the relationship. I am most startled by Ms. Aguileras comment about being “more like friends”. Why is that a problem?

    In marriage there will likely be times when a couple is hot, like when they are newly married and times when there is warm affection and enduring attraction. For a couple to choose divorce because they are ‘friends’ is truly shameful to me. I think for most people as long as you still have that, it is possible to bring back the romantic love with work.

  • Avatar photo Jacob says on October 13, 2010

    Tsipora, not all intermarriages are a loss for the Jewish community. I am a convert and intermarried. My wife and I have agreed to have a Jewish home and Jewish children. Our children will have a conversion at birth. I know that it would be ideal to have a Jewish spouse, but even within Jewish marriages there will be dissent if one person is more religious etc…

    • Avatar photo Allison says on October 13, 2010

      Jacob, I’m not here to tell anyone how they should live their life, but as this is an Orthodox website I just want to make the point that according to halacha (Jewish law) a person cannot convert if the non-Jewish spouse does not convert as well.

  • Avatar photo Elle says on October 13, 2010

    I don’t read celebrity news much (never did anything for me) but this article just sheds light on a bigger topic. How people in general view modesty and sexuality.

    I wasn’t raised with any religious modesty whatsoever, but when I was a child I refused to wear “bikinis” to the pool because I couldn’t see why it would make sense. I argued that it was no different than wearing my underpants and so I wore a bathing suit with a long tshirt over it. My aunt made good fun of me and said i was “modest”. I refused to change, but the comment stuck with me a good long time. as a young adult I finally realized the word didn’t mean “ashamed of oneself” but that it meant wanting to cover that which wasn’t for meant to be viewed by others. Modest is something to be proud of, it has nothing to do with shame. (I now dress modestly)

    I’m sad to see how people view modesty. Having been on both sides of the issue, I will say that contrary to what people like to think, modesty breeds self security and assurance. immodesty and free expression of sexuality (as wonderful as it sounds in theory) breed insecurity and dissatisfaction.

  • Avatar photo Galina says on October 14, 2010

    Wow! This is all definately food for thought. I’m not open to sexual repression and I’m not seeing how running around naked on Sundays keeps a marriage hot either. I’m all for some modesty & I agree with Allison. I also agree that the subject of inntermarriage is frustrating at best & overwhelming at worst. I’m also facinated that “being friends” in marriage is considered a negative thing. Isn’t your spouse supposed to be your best friend?? I get that healthy sexuality is a part of marriage but I’m also aware that sexuality fluctuates in long term marriages. Everything goes in cycles, sexuality is part of that.

  • Avatar photo Lamya says on October 29, 2010

    As a muslim, I agree with all the sentiments expressed by the author.. I agree that modestly in dress and behaviour inside and out of the home does contribute to a happier healthier married life. Also, thank you for teaching me a bit more about the jewish religion. Its really beautiful 🙂

  • Avatar photo Sagol says on November 18, 2010

    Omgoodness. I just celebrated my fifth anniversary after being together 7 yrs total and let me tell you that there are phases of feeling just friendly, distant, and even on verges of divorce feelings. But that’s all they are. Feelings! The commitment and covenant we made to each other and unto G-d should be taken seriously. My good fear of G-d makes me act sanely to do what G-d wants me to do as opposed to what I feel like doing. Thanks to that my marriage is still intact and reaping the rewards of obeying G-d and keeping my marriage together. Of course G-d being center of our lives is the only way we can always be and have a hot and even godly marriage. There is no way a marriage w/out G-d can survive, absolutely impossible! Obedience and total reliance in HIM is key. Yes, Judaism is beautiful!

  • Avatar photo Tamar says on January 7, 2011

    I am reading response after response and seeing a pattern about people’s concern about living a “modest lifestyle.” As a returnee to Judaism of about 6 years, I think that people are mistaking prudishness with modesty. In my secular dating relationships from years ago, I remember going through a phase where I felt the passion “fizzle out” of the relationship after a couple of years–yet, we never made it to the chuppah or engagement for that matter! Now, I am married almost five years, I;ve got two kids, a third on the way, and a busy busy crazy life–yet, the passion never fades. I can tell you that while I do follow the laws of Jewish modesty where it’s required outside my home, there is room for dressing down at home. I can close the windows and wear pajama pants and a T-shirt and keep my head uncovered in front of my husband, and if I wanted to I could do “Naked Sundays” like Christina Aguilera, but I don;t because I have little kids running around and it doesn’t feel right. The point is, I think what we mean by Judaism being a religion of modesty is that we internalize an attitude of propriety both in how we dress and how we behave, and the MOST important place for this is in the home. Judaism is not at all about being prudish—in fact, I’ve learned Jewish laws about how incredibly special and passionate lovemaking is actually supposed to be between a couple, and that they’re supposed to be together at least 2x a week because otherwise the marriage gets stale and they have trouble relating to one another as a husband and wife. Jewish attitude on intimacy between a husband and wife ensures desire, passion and interest balanced with friendship and mutual respect and adoration that will last forever. You are expected to be quite the opposite of a prude!:-) So don’t think living a modest life means “Boring, sigh, let’s go to sleep,” but quite the opposite: it ensures that where privacy and passion need to be, they are, and where propriety needs to be balanced with self-expression, they are balanced.


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