Jewish attitudes to sex Judaism's attitude toward sex is between two extremes. Judaism rejects the extreme of "anything goes" and also rejects the opposite extreme that sex is dirty or sinful. Instead Judaism imposes numerous restrictions on sexual relations, but also promotes regular sex between a husband and wife as healthy, worthy of enjoyment and a mitzvah (an affirming commandment.) When sexual desire is satisfied between a husband and wife at the proper time, out of mutual love and desire, sex is a mitzvah.
In Jewish law, sex is not considered shameful, sinful or obscene.Jewish law Sex is not a necessary evil for the sole purpose of procreation.
Judaism regards sex as being similar to eating and drinking. Eating and drinking are natural and potentially beneficial bodily functions. If done improperly, eating and drinking can become hurtful and shameful. If done properly, eating and drinking can be satisfying and joyful. If done according to God's commandments (with blessings, a festive meal on Purim, four cups of wine on Passover...), the mundane acts of eating and drinking can even be elevated to holy acts. Likewise, Judaism sees improper sex as illicit and sinful, but proper sex as a sanctified act. Jewish Law provides guidelines for proper sexual relations.
The Torah states, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18). Judaism views marriage as the essential means to companionship, intimacy and love. Just as God created the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, from one body, the act of marriage symbolises ‘oneness’ and ‘completion’. Judaism values sex as a means of strengthening vitally important marital bonds. Furthermore, the Torah states, "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This commandment elevates sex within marriage to a holy act. Couples engaging in sex for the purpose of procreation are fulfilling the word of God.marriage
Sex is permissible only within the context of a marriage. In Judaism, sex is not merely a way of experiencing physical pleasure. It is an act of immense significance, which requires commitment and responsibility. marriage The requirement of marriage before sex ensures that sense commitment and responsibility. Jewish law also forbids sexual contact short of intercourse outside of the context of marriage, recognizing that such contact may inevitably lead to intercourse.
The primary purpose of sex is to reinforce the loving marital bond between husband and wife. The first and foremost purpose of marriage is companionship, and sexual relations play an important role. Procreation is also a reason for sex, but it is not the only reason. Sex between husband and wife is permitted (even recommended) at times when conception is impossible, such as when the woman is pregnant, after menopause, or when the woman is using a permissible form of contraception.marriage contraception
Judaism does not ignore the physical component of sexuality. The need for physical compatibility between husband and wife is recognized in Jewish law. A Jewish couple must meet at least once before the marriage, and if either prospective spouse finds the other physically repulsive, the marriage is forbidden.Judaismmarriage
Sex should only be experienced in a time of joy. Sex for selfish personal satisfaction, without regard for the partner's pleasure, is wrong and evil. A man may never force his wife to have sex. A couple may not have sexual relations while drunk or quarreling. Sex may never be used as a weapon against a spouse, either by depriving the spouse of sex or by compelling it. It is a serious offense to use sex (or lack thereof) to punish or manipulate a spouse.
Sex is the woman's right, not the man's. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her. He is also obligated to watch for signs that his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it. The woman's right to sexual intercourse is referred to as onah, and is one of a wife's three basic rights (the others are food and clothing), which a husband may not reduce.
The Talmud specifies both the quantity and quality of sex that a man must give his wife. It specifies the frequency of sexual obligation based on the husband's occupation, although this obligation can be modified in the ketubah (marriage contract).Talmudketubah The times for conjugal duty are: “For men of independent means, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for donkey drivers, once a week; for camel drivers, once in thirty days; for sailors, once in six months.”
A man may not take a vow to abstain from sex for an extended period of time, and may not take a journey for an extended period of time, because that would deprive his wife of sexual relations. In addition, a husband's consistent refusal to engage in sexual relations is grounds for compelling a man to divorce his wife, even if the couple has already fulfilled the halakhic obligation to procreate. divorcehalakhic Although sex is the woman's right, she does not have absolute discretion to withhold it from her husband. A woman may not withhold sex from her husband as a form of punishment, and if she does, the husband may divorce her without paying the substantial divorce settlement provided for in the ketubah.ketubah.
Although some sources take a more narrow view, the general view of halakhah is that any sexual act that does not involve sh'chatat zerah (destruction of seed, that is, ejaculation outside the vagina) is permissible.halakhah As one passage in the Talmud states, "a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife." In fact, there are passages in the Talmud that encourage foreplay to arouse the woman.Talmud
In summation, Judaism, in contrast to some other religions, does not view sex as intrinsically dirty or evil. According to Judaism, sex is a mitzvah if it is done with love, within a marriage, and at the proper time.