Guests – Guest couples having intimacy in the home of a host

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12. Guests – Guest couples having intimacy in the home of a host:[1]

It is forbidden for a guest to engage in marital relations in the home of his host.[2] However, if the host has designated a private home [or room[3]] for the couple [which can be closed and locked to prevent others from entering,[4] and in which the Baal Habayis has no reason to enter[5]], then it is permitted for them to have relations.[6] [Certainly, if the host is not home, and the couple have been given the home for their stay, then it is permitted.[7]] Nonetheless, they may not sleep [and engage in marital relations] with the bedding [i.e. sheets, blankets] of the host [and thus they are to place their own sheets under them, or at the very least place a towel that they own under them[8]].[9] [If the host has designated two separate rooms, one for the husband and one for the wife, then it is forbidden for them to join each other in a single room and have marital relations.[10] Furthermore, some Poskim[11] rule that a designated room is only valid if it is designated permanently for the couple’s use, and not for a mere night’s lodging, and therefore even if the host is not home it would be forbidden. Practically, however, we do not rule like this opinion.[12]]

If other people are in the room:[13] If the couple have been given their own room, then they may engage in marital relations even if there is another person sleeping there, so long as he is sleeping, as is the general law. [However, some Poskim[14] are stringent in such a case and prohibit relations in a guest room that contains other people, even if the other people are sleeping.[15]]



May a couple have intimacy in a hotel room or Tzimmer?[16]

Yes, and they may do so even using the sheets of the hotel.[17] Nonetheless, during times of room service, it is best to place a “do not disturb” sign on the door.

May a couple have intimacy in the home of their in-laws?

Yes. A couple who is staying as a guest in the home of his or her parents may engage in intimacy, so long as they have their own room and use their own sheets or towels, as stated above. See next!

Living in the home of one’s in-laws:[18]

The Sages prohibited a man from living in the home of his in-laws due to it being considered a brazen act.[19] Nonetheless, if the couple has been designated their own room, as stated above, it is permitted for them to live there [and be intimate].[20] Some Poskim[21] learn that the prohibition only applies if the mother in-law lives at home, due to worry of a forbidden relationship. Other Poskim,[22] however, rule the prohibition applies even in a case that the mother in-law does not live at home. Practically, the widespread custom today is to be lenient in this matter [and live in the house of one’s in-laws, even if the mother in-law is there, and to permit having intimacy while there].[23] [This discussion only applies to the home of the wife’s parents, however, to live in the home of the husband’s parents is permitted without restriction according to all. Nevertheless, intimacy would only be allowed if they have their own designated room, as stated above. However, seemingly it is not necessary for them to have their own sheets and towels if they are staying there for a while and considered part of their parents’ household.]   



[1] Michaber O.C. 240:13; E.H. 25:7, “A guest is to avoid intercourse until he returns home”; Tur 240:13; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya 3:9; Kitzur SHU”A 150:14; See Rambam Issurei Biyah 21:15; Ra’avad in Ba’alei HaNefesh Sha’ar Haperisha p. 23; Kaf Hachaim 240:86-87; Sheyikadesh Atzmo [Nachmonson-2015] pp. 307-310

The novelty of this ruling: It is unclear as to what the novelty is of this prohibition, as if there are other people around in the room, it is always forbidden to have relations, even in one’s own home, and if there is no one else around then there is no reason to prohibit it. [M”A 240:27] Some, however, suggest that the novelty of this prohibition is that when one is a guest in a home, the prohibition of intimacy applies if the other people are in the room, even if they are sleeping, as opposed to in one’s own home, that intimacy is permitted in such a case if other people in the room are sleeping. [Elya Raba 240:21] However, other Poskim negate this novelty, as in truth there is no reason to differentiate. [M”A ibid; See Aruch Hashulchan 240:17] However, some write that the novelty is that the guest room must be able to be closed and locked, as perhaps the host will send another person to sleep there as well, as opposed to in one’s own home, that it is not necessary to lock the door. [Aruch Hashulchan 240:17]

[2] Michaber ibid and ibid; Tur 240:13 and E.H. 25:3, “Until he returns home”; Rambam Issurei Biyah 21:15; Kesubos 65a

The reason: As it is immodest for people to be aware that they will be engaging in intimacy. [Levush 240; Taharas Yisrael 240 footnote 359]

[3] 1st explanation in M”A 240:27, as explained in Girsa of P”M 240 A”A 27; Elya Raba 240:21; Beis Shmuel E.H. 25:7; Nehar Shalom 240:7 in name of Ra’avad; Toras Chaim Sofer 240:15; Ya’avetz; Chochmas Adam; Taharas Yisrael 240:78; M”B 240:51; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 23:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a couple may not engage in marital relations unless they have been designated their own home, and having their own room within the home does not suffice. [2nd Pirush in M”A ibid]

[4] Aruch Hashulchan 240:17 in answer of question of M”A ibid; Taharas Yisrael 240:78; Toras Chaim Sofer ibid

[5] M”B 240:50

[6] Michaber ibid; Ra’avad on Rambam ibid and in Ba’alei HaNefesh Sha’ar Haperisha p. 23

[7] See Sheyikadesh Atzmo 23:1

[8] Sheyikadesh Atzmo 23:2

[9] Michaber O.C. ibid [omitted from E.H. ibid]; Ra’avad in Ba’alei HaNefesh Sha’ar Haperisha p. 23; Yuma 18b; Perisha 240:22; Taz E.H. 25:3; Chelkas Mechokeik 25:6; Beis Shmuel 25:7

The reason: As they may get semen onto the bedding, which is repulsive. [M”A 240:28; Rashi Yuma ibid; Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger 240; Apei Zutri E.H. 25:19; M”B 240:52; Kaf Hachaim 240:87] Likewise, they never got such permission from the host. [Aruch Hashulchan 240:17]

[10] 1st explanation in M”A 240:27; Siddur Ya’avetz Mosach Hashabbos Mitos Kesef 7 Chulya 3:9

The reason: As the other household members will be aware that they are having intimacy. [M”A ibid]

[11] Mateh Yehuda 240:1; Kaf Hachaim 240:86

[12] Apei Zutri E.H. 25:9

[13] M”A 240:27; See Aruch Hashulchan 240:17

[14] Elya Raba 240:21; Taharas Yisrael 240:78; M”B 240:49; See Aruch Hashulchan 240:17

[15] The reason: As they may wake up and catch them in the middle of the act. [Taharas Yisrael 240 footnote 360]

[16] See Mateh Yehuda ibid that having a permanent designated area is like it was rented, and thus, based on this, certainly if it’s rented it is permitted; Sheyikadesh Atzmo 23:3

[17] The reason: As since they have rented the room, it is considered as if it is theirs for the night, and the owner has no permission to walk in without notice.

[18] See S’dei Chemed Mareches Ches Kelal 141; Shevet Halevi 4:166

[19] Rambam Issurei Biyah 21:15; Kiddushin 12b, “Rav would give lashes to a man who lived in his in-laws home”; Bava Basra 98b; Bei Yosef E.H. 26:4; Kitzur SHU”A 152:12

The reason: As a) One may come to sin with his mother in-law. [Rashi Pesachim 113, brought in Tosafos Riy Hazakein Kiddushin ibid] or b) As its not Tzenius, just as one should not bathe with his father in-law.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that this is not a true prohibition, but rather a matter of Derech Eretz. [Neharda in Kiddushin ibid; Tosafos Kiddushin ibid; Rosh Kiddushin 18; See Beis Yosef ibid] Some Poskim rule that this prohibition only refers to a Chasan who is engaged to be married, and is not yet married. [Tosafos Riy Hazakein Kiddushin ibid; China Vechisda 2 p. 220]

[20] Ra’avad on Rambam ibid; Kitzur SHU”A ibid

[21] Rashi Pesachim 113

[22] Tosafos Riy Hazakein Kiddushin 12b

[23] Tosafos Kiddushin ibid; Rosh Kiddushin 18; Meiri; Shevet Halevi ibid; See Beis Yosef ibid [this law is omitted from the Shulchan Aruch]; See Bava Kama 112a that Rav Yirmiyah lived with his in-laws

The reason: a) It is done for Tovas Hana’ah and due to lack of living space, b) there is really no prohibition to begin with, as it’s merely a matter of Derech Eretz, c) as we hold that the prohibition only applies prior to the wedding, or d) the prohibition only applied in previous generations, however, today Benos Yisrael are more careful. [See Poskim ibid; Shevet Halevi ibid]

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