Marital Relations – Mitzvah

What is the Jewish view of intimacy? Is sex just for procreative purposes, or is it all right to have relations with one's spouse for recreation and intimacy?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Intimacy is permitted only within the context of marriage, and only during the times when the woman is ritually pure (she separates during and after menstruation, followed by immersing in a mikveh). As long as these guidelines are observed, then Judaism endorses intimacy for recreational purposes, even if there is no chance of the woman becoming pregnant.

In fact, Judaism views sex as a triple mitzvah:

1) It is a mitzvah for a husband and wife to love each other and share intimacy. (Genesis 2:24)

2) It is a mitzvah for a man to fulfill his wife's sexual needs. (Exodus 21:10)

3) Additionally, if there is a chance of procreation, it is a mitzvah to "be fruitful and multiply." (Genesis 1:28)

For more on the Jewish view of sexuality, see "Marriage Power."

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