I am eager to know more about different religions from Islam to Judaism. Furthermore, how different religions look at women and comparing their kinds of approaches to the matter of gender and sexuality is one of my favorite topics of research. For the beginning I would like to know what is the idea of Judaism about out of marriage relationship between men and women. I do not mean prostitution and dealing intercourse and money! But having sexual relationship with opposite sex according to the personal choices out of marriage.

Please if you are going to use jargon in your answer, add the equal terms in English too. I am not familiar with Judaism's terminology but surely I would understand them if they would be in English. At least I can search them in the internet to understand.

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    Interestingly, you will probably get very different answers about modern relationships than what Biblical sources may seem to say.
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 0:36
  • Look this link : Rabbi_Yaakov_Emden's_responsa_on_Pilegesh It is a PDF If it does not open copy paste in google search Be well. Patrick Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 12:01
  • See Rabbi Dr. Louis Epstein's 'Sex Laws and Customs In Judaism' chapter 4 & 6. Enjoy!
    – Oliver
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 2:16

2 Answers 2


Basically, it's prohibited.

Deuteronomy 23:18 states "there shall not be a prostitute among the sons or daughters of Israel"; so clearly there is a prohibition on prostitution. (For Jews. Jews expect non-Jews to follow some basics of ethical monotheism, known as the Seven Noahide Laws; this means we expect non-Jews to not commit adultery, however prostitution per se is not prohibited for them.) This is a standard-severity "don't do" prohibition, for which the theoretical maximum punishment (which hasn't been administered for a long, long time) would be 39 lashes. (As opposed to something severe such as adultery, which theoretically could have incurred the death penalty thousands of years ago.)

Maimonides' interpretation is that this prohibits any sexual relations outside of marriage. Other medieval rabbis read the Bible's prohibition as being only on prostitution (open to anyone); according to them, sex outside of marriage was prohibited later, by the rabbis (probably sometime between the year 200 BCE and 200 CE).

Clearly there were Jewish kings in the Bible who had "concubines", which appears to be some sort of relationship that's not full-fledged marriage. There's a lot of discussion as to what exactly a "concubine" means, and whether this was an option only for kings (or chieftains or the like). As the whole "concubine" thing is far from clear, standard Orthodox Judaism today takes it for granted that sexual relations are intended only within the bounds of marriage.

  • So there is only a direct prohibition on prostitution (dealing sex with money) not sexual relationship out of marriage as a personal choice and all the other traditions are according to interpretations. Thanks! :) Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 8:49
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    The verse on prostitution isn't so much as "for money" as it is "someone who's out there for anyone." (There were idol-worshipping practices at the time that had booths of women.)
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 9:35
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    But remember that Judaism believes there's more to the law of the Bible than the literal reading -- we believe "an eye for an eye" means payment, for instance.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 9:37
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    "According to interpretation" doesn't mean anyone can interpret any verse however they feel like it.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 9:38
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    I believe some think that premarital sex is a Bittul Aseh of Kiddushin.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 10:06


Judaism has thrived on retaining what is holy under difficult and seemingly impossible situations. Judaism views unlike christianity and others sexuality as special, precious and holy only when it includes G-d in the picture but when it becomes nothing more then animalistic and materialistic then it can degrade oneself and humanity. Judaism within a marriage preserves the holy outside of it, it is only conducive to worshipping of oneself. As far as maid servants and concubines in Torah law they were to be treated with dignity and respect not just to use and abuse. Sexuality outside of a marriage serves no purpose other then the worship of the physical and the impact in can make on ones hashkafa with regards to women.

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    This answer is basically an opinion. There are dubious claims about Judaism's supposed "special" view on sexuality, undefined jargon, no sources cited, and no acknowledgement that this is one opinion among many. The accepted answer above does a much better job of having a neutral point of view, academic perspective, and answering the question clearly. Commented May 3, 2013 at 19:36
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    Not to mention the fact that sexuality outside of marriage could theoretically serve the purpose of procreation or symbolize love and commitment to a partner.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 20:16

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