If a person is thinking of another woman during intercourse, what is it considered?

Does it matter if it is his wife or not? (Could it be considered adultery if committed with let's say a girlfriend?)

  • As far as halacha is concerned it's only adultery when the woman is married or betrothed, minhatorah a man can have more than one wife Nov 29, 2018 at 23:33
  • Please clarify who's sleeping with whom.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 29, 2018 at 23:38
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/40927
    – Fred
    Nov 30, 2018 at 4:18
  • @JoshK There's a safek if the child is a mamzer in the case you're talking about. Nov 30, 2018 at 6:32
  • @chacham Nisan Really? I've never learned anything like that...the child of a married man and a single woman could be considered a safek mamzer? I would love a source on that if you have the time and inclination Nov 30, 2018 at 15:06

3 Answers 3


The Talmud (Nedarim 20b) expresses this in a slight riddle.

Says Rebbi: Once should not drink from a cup whilst thinking about another cup. Based on the verse (Num. 15:39) ‘do not stray after your heart and eyes’.

Ravina qualifies: Even if he has two wives; this is still inappropriate.


Rambam Issurei Biah 21:12

"וְכֵן אָסְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יְשַׁמֵּשׁ אָדָם מִטָּתוֹ וְלִבּוֹ מְחַשֵּׁב בְּאִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת."

"Similarly, the sages forbade a man to have marital relations while thinking of another woman."

Also, thinking of adultery is not adultery.


Midrash Rabbah Bamidbar 9:34 (note that this is a Midrash, not Halacha):

אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ בִּזְּמַן שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה מִיַּחֶדֶת עִם בַּעֲלָהּ וְהִיא מְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת עִמּוֹ וְלִבָּהּ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר שֶׁרָאֲתָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ, אֵין לְךָ נִאוּף גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל טז, לב): הָאִשָּׁה הַמְנָאֶפֶת תַּחַת אִישָׁהּ תִּקַּח אֶת זָרִים, וְכִי יֵשׁ אִשָּׁה שֶׁמְנָאֶפֶת תַּחַת אִישָׁהּ, אֶלָּא זוֹ הִיא שֶׁפָּגְעָה בְּאִישׁ אַחֵר וְנָתְנָה עֵינֶיהָ בּוֹ, וְהִיא מְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת עִם בַּעֲלָהּ וְלִבָּהּ עָלָיו

Our masters taught: When a wife is alone with her husband and is engaged in intercourse with him, and her heart is with another man she saw on the road, there is no greater adultery, for it is said, "[you were like] the adulterous wife who welcomes strangers instead of [lit. under] her husband." (Yechezkel 16:32). But is there a woman commits adultery under her husband? Rather, we're referring to a case where she met another man and set her eyes on him, and while she is engaged in intercourse with her husband, her heart is with that man."

  • 1
    This is about a woman thinking of another man, not a man thinking of another woman.
    – Double AA
    Nov 30, 2018 at 2:05
  • בני תשעה מידות.
    – kouty
    Nov 30, 2018 at 12:12

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