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What is the frequency of marital intercourse prescribed by Halacha?

I am confused as the Talmud in Ketubot 62a says that for men of independent means it is every day.

But the Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Hilchot De'ot 5:4 says that - "He should not frequent his wife like a rooster. Rather, [he should limit his relations to once a week] from Sabbath evening to Sabbath evening, if he has the physical stamina."

So what does the Halacha follow (for a man of independent means)?

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    Is the rambam stating an obligation or recommendation? – Double AA Oct 15 '15 at 21:32
  • @DoubleAA Good point. I don't know Hebrew but the English translation does say 'should' and not 'must'. So it is a recommendation. – Nathan Oct 23 '15 at 8:23
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/73659 – msh210 Jul 13 '16 at 20:14
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There isn't a contradiction here. The sources are talking about two things:

1) A woman's right to conjugal relations/sexual fulfillment/attention and her husband's duty to be available to her sexually. The halakhah limits his duty to within reason - and reason dictates that independently wealthy men need to be available to their wives daily if need be, as they have nothing pressing that would exempt them (Ketuboth 62a). This does not mean that he is required to be with her daily necessarily, but rather that she has the right to request it of her wealthy husband daily if she so desires.

2) The Rambam in Hilkhoth De`oth 5:4 is speaking of the husband not requesting sexual relations from his wife continually, i.e. "like a rooster."

Each source is speaking from a different perspective - that of the wife and the husband, respectively.

Hope this helps. Kol tuv.

  • So a wife married to a man of independent means can request conjugal relations every day if she so desires, but a man should limit his requests to once a week, preferably on Shabbos ? – Nathan Oct 15 '15 at 22:06
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    Yup. You got it. But this is ONLY an explanation of the sources. Most modern poseqim caution that although once a week on Shabbath is an ideal, it is for the very few and not the many. That is, in our times of sexual immodesty and bombardment, they caution men to not limit themselves to strictly out of fear for the safety of his marriage (among other things). The usual advice is that couples should be sensitive to each other's sexual needs and be together as many times in a week that both parties are willing. I even had a community Rav once who... – user3342 Oct 15 '15 at 22:42
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    ...instructed all the couples living in his community to strive for a frequency of 2-3 times weekly as a minimum. And he told ALL the baalei batim - including the kollel rabbis and its members - to essentially ignore the directive of Hazal since in our times it isn't so applicable. However, even in not limiting oneself to only once on Shabbath the inyan of not frequenting one's wife "like a rooster" (i.e. being pestering and insatiable so that she is annoyed and/or feels disrespected) is still applicable and good advice. Like everything else, CYLOR. – user3342 Oct 15 '15 at 22:45

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