Sexuality and Jewish Law

What Judaism Really Says about Passion in the Marital Bed

Halachic Positions


Since ancient times, Judaism has offered a wide range of approaches on the matter of sexual expression within marriage, reflecting a wide range of interpretation and sensibility, and theoretically enabling each and every couple to tailor the law of this most intimate, private part of life to the unique physical and spiritual dimensions of their relationship.

But a study of the sources reveals a trend in the last few hundred years to downplay, or even deny, Torah’s embrace of sexual exploration within marriage, generally revealing to the masses only its most puritanical approach.

This study opens up Judaism's sacred texts on sex to the English reader, providing an in-depth analysis of the relevant Talmudic-era passages as well as the medieval, post-medieval and latter-day Jewish commentaries and legal authorities.


the author

Yaakov Shapiro

Yaakov Shapiro grew up in Conservative, Modern Orthodox, Lithuanian-Charedi and Chabad­-Chasidic Jewish schools, earning rabbinical ordination in the latter.

A nine-year researcher, translator, writer and filmmaker for Chabad-­Lubavitch’s media wing, he is currently spending his days in the world of business. But he continues to spend the nights researching and writing on areas of Jewish belief that can, and have, put sincere students of Torah at risk – psychologically, emotionally, physically, and therefore spiritually – with the confident belief that exhaustive source-textual analysis and reexamined translation will uncover a balanced, humane understanding of the Creator’s plan for Its creation.