Sex in the Marital Bedroom

Jewish Law mandates regular sex between marital partners. Regular sex, “Onah,” is a woman’s right, and a man’s obligation to perform. This is exactly the opposite position held in Western culture where sex is solely a man’s right, and a woman’s sole duty. One must acknowledge then, that in Judaism, a woman’s sexual needs were recognized a long time ago. The Talmud is very explicit when it says that, “…a man is obliged to initiate sex with his wife any time she desires it, even beyond his obligation of Onah.”

The Rabbis even specify how many times a week, and per month, one should have sex. Rabbi Eliezer says, “Men of independent means–every day, workmen–twice a week, ass drivers–once a week, camel drivers–once a month, and sailors–at least once every six months.” (Ketubbot 5:6)

The Talmud explains that it is especially auspicious to make love on Friday nights to join the holiness of sexual relationship to the holiness of Shabbat.

Rabbi Gold argues that the Torah is concerned about the loss of virginity, and for the consequences such loss may have for a woman of marriageable age. “If a man seduces a virgin and lies with her, he must make her his wife by payment of a bride’s price. If the father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay.” (Exodus 22:15-16) However, in rabbinical law it has a price. A female virgin brings 200 zuz, while a non-virgin only 100. A man’s virginity is never at issue. Hence, Rabbi Gold argues that, “…a virgin willing to sleep with an unmarried man, and live with the consequences has not transgressed any commandment.” In fact, he states that, “In the Kingdom of Judah, the established custom was for betrothed couples to have sex before marriage.” (Ketuboth 1:5)