The Rambam writes (Hilchos Isurei Biah 21:1):

כל הבא על ערווה מן העריות דרך אברים, או שחיבק ונישק דרך תאווה ונהנה בקירוב בשר--הרי זה לוקה מן התורה

One who comes upon one of the Arayos via their limbs, or hugs or kisses in a lustful manner and benefits from the touching of skin receives malkus according to the Torah.

The implication is that the category of Shomer Negiah is only applicable with regards to lustful touching. Now I am aware that there is a discussion of cases where lustful pleasure is highly unlikely, e.g. shaking hands in a business setting. However, it seems to be the common practice that men and women will casually touch members of the same sex, since it is assumed that they cannot be attracted to each other at all. What about the case where one or both of the parties has a homosexual, bisexual, or asexual orientation? How will this change the categories of people that may be touched?

For clarity, here are two examples to illustrate this question:

  • May an asexual man touch a woman? (Normally we assume that the man could be attracted to the woman, but in this case we know that he is not.)

  • May a bisexual man touch a man? (Normally we assume that the man could not be attracted to the other man, but in this case we know that he could be, potentially.)

I am also interested hearing about how yichud might or might not apply in such cases, if it is relevant.

  • 9
    related: שו"ע אבן העזר - סימן כד סימן כד - אין ישראל חשודים על הרביעה ועל הזכר: (א) לא נחשדו ישראל על משכב זכר ועל הבהמה, לפיכך אין איסור להתייחד עמהן, ואם נתרחק אפילו מיחוד זכר ובהמה, הרי זה משובח. וגדולי החכמים היו מרחיקין הבהמה, כדי שלא יתייחדו עמה. ובדורות הללו שרבו הפריצים, יש להתרחק מלהתייחד עם הזכר:
    – avi
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 17:35
  • @avi That's the opposite, though.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 7:34
  • @DoubleAA how is that the opposite?
    – avi
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 7:48
  • 1
    @avi I think DoubleAA means that if a man is homosexual, we can ask if he should be able to be misyached/touch a woman even though normally a man couldn't.
    – user3318
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 8:00
  • 2
    Let me clarify: I'm interested BOTH in people who have an attraction we don't expect, and people who don't have an attraction we do expect. I'll try to make that clearer in the question.
    – user3318
    Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


This question is tricky because it's not clear that Halachah recognizes such a phenomenon of one who is just asexual though technically physically capable of sexual intercourse. Similarly, it's not clear whether Halachah recognizes absolute homosexual orientation as one who not only is irrevocably attracted to men but also absolutely uninterested in women, despite the fact that he, too, is physically capable of sexual intercourse with a woman. However, whether homosexuality itself leads to its own requirements of forbidding Yichud with other males is already addressed. See Tur and SA EH 24 and Bach, ChM, and BSh there, as well as Chochmas Adam 126:14; Aruch HaShulchan EH 24:6; Shu"T Daas Kohen (Kuk) YD 3. If one knows himself to have homosexual tendencies then indeed he must not be alone with another male, especially if the other male also has such tendencies. Regarding an asexual or homosexual man being alone with a woman, it would appear that indeed since he is physically capable of sexual intercourse all Halachos of Yichud would apply. All literature on the issue discuss whether or not one who is physically incapable of sexual intercourse may be lenient regarding Yichud- and even then it's not simple...

  • 1
    This answer could be improved if you'd include citations for the "asexual or homosexual man being alone with a woman" side of the question. Though you may not have literature that directly addresses that question, you've alluded to literature that comes close.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 14:09
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Thank you very much for the answers. Consider checking out the following short Beginners' Guide: judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3887/8775.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 14:22
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