Areas restricted of intimacy: Public area, bathroom, porch, shul, beis Midrash

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15. Areas in which intercourse may not take place:[1]

Public areas:[2] It is forbidden to have relations in [public areas, such as] the marketplace, streets, gardens, and orchards [or beaches].[3] Rather, intimacy is only permitted to be done inside a home.[4] A man who has intercourse with his wife in these areas is liable to receive Rabbinical lashes [i.e. Makas Mardus].

Bathhouse and bathroom:[5] One may not have relations in a bathhouse [or bathroom].



May a couple have intercourse on their porch or back yard?[6]

From the letter of the law, it is permitted to engage in intercourse under the sky, in a walled private area that is roofless, such as one’s walled back yard or porch, so long as one cannot see the moon shining from the area, as explained in the previous Halacha. [However, this only applies if they cannot be seen by others, such as there are no buildings in the area, or if they are the highest apartment in their condominium and cannot be seen by any surrounding condominiums. Practically, many people feel uncomfortable doing so in these areas, as they subconsciously feel that they will be seen or heard, and therefore it is not advised to have intimacy in such areas and it may prove difficult for the husband and wife to focus on the intimacy while there.]


May a couple engage in intimacy in a tent under the sky that is in a public area?[7]



May a couple engage in marital relations in a Sukkah?

It is permitted for a married couple to engage in marital intimacy in a Sukkah.[8] However, there are Poskim[9] who rule that it is forbidden to do so.

May a couple engage in intimacy in a Shul or Beis Midrash?[10]

No. A Shul or Beis Midrash contains Kedusha which prohibits one from performing lightheaded activity within it, and hence, certainly having intimacy in the premises would be forbidden. Thus, even if a couple are the directors of the Shul, and is able to lock it for their privacy and properly cover or remove all the Sefarim, it is forbidden to engage in intimacy in the sanctuary or Ezras Nashim, and certainly intercourse is forbidden. However, if they have a private room within the Shul building, it is permitted to have intercourse while there, although it should not be done if the room is on top of the sanctuary, and hence guest rooms should not be set up there.

May a couple have intimacy in the husband’s office which he uses as his private Beis Midrash?

A private study room does not have the same status of holiness as a Beis Midrash.[11] However, it does have some level of holiness,[12] and hence, it is proper to avoid having marital intercourse in the room, even if all the Sefarim are properly covered or removed. Nonetheless, one who does so has upon whom to rely, if the office is rented and not owned by the person,[13] or if it is designated for other purposes as well, aside for learning Torah.[14]  



[1] See Taharas Yisrael 240:63; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] p. 325-327

[2] Michaber E.H. 25:4; Tur E.H. 25:4; Rambam; Sanhedrin 46a; Kitzur SHU”A 150:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 240:15; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 27:1

[3] The reason: As this appears like promiscuity [i.e. Zenus] and will lead a person to promiscuity. [Michaber ibid]

[4] The reason: In order that it does not appear like harlotry, and in order so one not accustom himself to promiscuity. [Michaber ibid]

[5] Michaber 240:15

[6] See Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeira 2:26, “If one is sleeping in a large Achsadra or large roof… it is permitted to have intercourse”; Implication of Chochmas Adam 128:12 and M”B 240:39, “It is forbidden to have intercourse in an open area which does not have Mechitzos; Implication of Michaber ibid who specifies only public areas, and does not simply write, “a place without a roof” [Now, although the Michaber rules that one should only do so in a Beis Dirah, which means a home, a porch or gated back yard is also considered part of a home and it is difficult to accept that the definition here would be similar to the definition of a room regarding Mezuzah, in which case a roof is required. Now, although people may be able to see them, this worry applies likewise in a house that has windows, which people can see through. Nonetheless, obviously, if the area is not enclosed at all, or is enclosed with a see-through wall or fence, then certainly it would be prohibited.] See Ufikadeta Navecha p. 42 footnote 22 that in a courtyard with Mechitzos, it is permitted; All this is unlike the seeming understanding of Sheyikadesh Atzmo 27:1 who writes that one may not do so in a Chatzer;

Other opinions: See M”A 240:24, brought in M”B 240:39, that, “if they are under the sky, it is forbidden even if they are shaded from the moon.” And so rules Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya 3:5 [This implies that there is a general prohibition to have intimacy under the sky. However, perhaps there is no prohibition to have intimacy under the sky unless the moon is visible and shining, in which case we say that even if one chooses a shaded area, such as near a wall, it is still forbidden. However, if the moon is not visible, such as it is to the side of the sky or it is very cloudy, then it would be permitted]

[7] Sheyikadesh Atzmo 27:1; See however Upikadeta Navecha p. 42 footnote 22 which argues that perhaps it is forbidden to do so in public areas, even with Mechitzos as it is still considered “Derech Zenus” 

[8] Implication of Admur 639:9 and Rama 639:2 who rule that it is proper to build a Sukkah in which one can sleep with his wife; Taz 639:4; Elya Raba 639:8 in name of Sh’lah; Siddur Rav Shabsi; Birkeiy Yosef 639:3; Chayeh Adam 147:2; Ben Ish Chaiy Ha’azinu 9; Bikkureiy Yaakov 639:8 in name of Arizal; Kitzur SHU”A 135:2l; Aruch Hashulchan 639:4; M”B in Biur Halacha 639 “Vial”; See Kaf Hachaim 639:22; Nitei Gavriel 59:11

[9] Beis Dovid 444; Shach Al Hatorah Emor; Emes Leyaakov 7; Shut Rav Yosef Gigtalya 7; Orchos Chaim 639:10 in name of Ikkarei Hada’as 32:12 in name of Beis David ibid, brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid; Da’as Torah 639; Pischeiy Teshuvah 639:22

[10] See Michaber 151:1; Avnei Nezer O.C .32 regarding Tashmish in a room that is on top of a sanctuary; Mishnas Yosef 34:; Halichos Shlomo 19:3;  Piskeiy Teshuvos 151:6 and 8

[11] See Michaber 151:2; beis Yosef 151 in name of Mahariy Ben Chaviv; Nimukei Yosef Megillah 28a; Kaf Hachaim 151:26 that so applies according to all Poskim

[12] Implication of Michaber ibid, “Does not have so much holiness”; Levush 151:28 that nevertheless one should not be Meikel Rosh there too much; Kaf Hachaim 151:28; See also M”A 153:1 based on Michaber 90:18 who implies that it nevertheless has more Kedusha than a Shul and so rules Beir Heiytiv 154:1 in his understanding of the M”A and so rules Kesav Sofer O.C. 18 that it has the same status as a Shul; However, see Elya Raba 240:1 who writes that it does not have the same status as a Shul, and so rules P”M 154 A”A 1 and so is the main ruling, as rule majority of the Achronim. See Kaf Hachaim 154:2 and Halacha Berurah [Yosef] 154:1

[13] See Michaber 154:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 154:2

[14] See Michaber 151:11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 151:21

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