Some people say only a husband is obligated to provide relations to his wife but the wife has no obligations. If she wants to she submits, if not she does not (since her husband is not allowed to rape her), and it is only a recommendation for her to submit as much as possible.

Others say she is obligated to submit.

What is the truth?

Please bring sources.

Related: What is the role of a wife towards her husband according to Jewish thought?

3 Answers 3


Rape has nothing to do with it (a husband has obligations to his wife, that his wife can not rape him does not change anything, (if he was forced it is considered as though he did not fulfill his obligation (Bais Shmuel 77.4))

the answer: she should (willingly) attend to her husband for conjugal relations whenever he demands them from her (if she can) (she is not obligated to have pleasure from it, (lihavdil as Yael did not)).
but she can only be forced (pressured by the court) to attend to her husband for conjugal relations the same the number of times her husband is obligated in relations to her from the Torah). (since she can tell the court she goes according to the lenient opinion, and since it is they who are demanding the burden of proof is on them that the lenient (even minority) opinion (Maharit) is wrong.)

let's start with the Neztiv, (the halacha might not be like him but, his opinion should be taken into consideration) regarding this (which is quoted in the Encyclopedia Talmudit under בַּעַל) his Maishiv Davar, (part 4) Even Hoezer siman 35:

where he explains what ownership does he have in his wife, what does the below refer to:
the word Ba’al (husband) in the Torah (as in Devorim 24:4) has the meaning of master/owner and is similar to “‘owner’ of the ox” in Shemos 21:28
in Vayikra 22:11 the wife of a Kohen is referred to as one if "his acquisition of a person, an acquisition through his money" see rashi (ibid)
a wife is referred to as his slave/female-slave

he says that obviously the ownership is only in regards to conjugal relations and nothing else (as by a slave the ownership is only in regarding to the slaves work (of the slaves hands))
as can be seen from Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah 234.67 or Rambam Nedarim 12:9 (english)

this ownership is seen clearly from the pasuk Devorim 24:1: כִּֽי־יִקַּ֥ח אִ֛ישׁ אִשָּׁ֖ה וּבְעָלָ֑הּ
"when a man takes (acquires) a woman and has relations with her"

that he acquires her only in regards to relations and nothing else

then he brings a parallel to a slave that just as a slave can be forced to work, so to a wife can be forced to have relations and he will not have to pay for damages (as by an unmarried woman who was raped) (he does not claim that it is allowed to rape your wife his claim seems to only be, that financially you did not do any damage to her, since this 'part' (aspect) of her belongs to you)
[it is immoral to rape your wife if you do so G-d Almighty will punish you with bad children]

stories from the Talmud: Kesubos 65a (and brought in the last Taz in Y"D 245) Rava demanding relations from his wife

Rav Moshe Finstain (6 page 148 middle of right column) side brings Tosvos Kesubos 22b that Shmuel's his wife was sick (she did not have energy) so she had the right to push him off

then on the next page, Rav Moshe Finstain clearly says, a wife is subjugated to her husband whenever he wants (if she is healthy)

and similarly (in Dibros Moshe Gitin page 511 top left colomn in parenthesis or in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 6:2.5)
דמן התורה הא ליכא שום שעבוד על האשה לבעלה חוץ מתשמיש

  • How did you get 'demanding' from rava on 65a?he was requesting. The very link you gave translates it as requesting.
    – Orion
    Jul 5, 2018 at 0:22
  • @Orion as i told you in the chat it is not politicly correct so they translate it with that in mind see translate.google.com/m/translate#iw/en/תבעה
    – hazoriz
    Jul 5, 2018 at 0:26
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    @Orion that is the normal behavor of a husband. a wife can not demand she can only hint, but a husband (a Man) can demand using his words , obviously if his wife does not want then he should seduce, but the normal (untill the reacent fake news and feminist propaganda from movies) behavior is to demand,
    – hazoriz
    Jul 5, 2018 at 0:52
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    @Orion it seems she can, but if she does her husband can not have relations with her sefaria.org/Magen_Avraham.240.14
    – hazoriz
    Jul 5, 2018 at 1:10
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    and if he does G-d Almighty will punish his with a bad child
    – hazoriz
    Jul 5, 2018 at 1:16

The Mishnah in Ketubot 5,7 says:

הַמּוֹרֶדֶת עַל בַּעְלָהּ, פּוֹחֲתִין לָהּ מִכְּתֻבָּתָהּ שִׁבְעָה דִינָרִין בַּשַּׁבָּת:

[With regard to a wife] who rebels against her husband [not allowing him to have relations], we reduce her Ketubah by seven dinar [a specific unit of money] every week.

Since a woman who prevents her husband from having relations is fined, it is a clear proof that this behavior is forbidden, at least Rabbinically.

  • 2
    What if she doesn't care about her Ketubbah money? Maybe her worth as a wife has decreased and what she's doing is permitted.
    – Double AA
    Oct 3, 2018 at 12:15

R' Moshe Feinstein says that it's pashut that at a time when it's hard for her she is not obligated. I'm not sure what he means by "hard for her" though. Ask your LOR. By the way everyone must have a Rav who they feel comfortable asking these questions to. https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=920&st=&pgnum=151&hilite=

  • +1 but I bring this source in my answer above
    – hazoriz
    Jun 21, 2021 at 22:55

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