Daily dose of wisdom, Eruvin 100: female expressions of desire

The Talmud examines walking on grass on Shabbat, and brings the verse And he who hastens with his feet sins” (Proverbs 19:2).

The Gemara digresses to the topic of marital intimacy.  The same verse about walking on the grass forbids marital rape, since legs is a euphemism for body parts used in intercourse.  Our sages go on to explain that when the woman is not interested in getting together, children from that union may have a deficiency.  When the sexual act lacks enthusiasm, the results are also not what they could be.  This applies not only to the children, but to the relationship.  Sex is a major tool to bring man and woman together, when one partner is not into it it doesn’t work.

Even if she is compliant and goes along, if she does not buy into the act, she is not all there.  Our sages out the onus in the man to get her in the mood.  However, they note that a woman who desires her husband creates exceptionally wise and righteous children.  The example is our matriach Leah, in Genesis 30:16 she goes out to tell Jacob that she bought her sister’s turn and he should come to her tent.  Obviously Leah was doing this in a loving and seductive manner, not like a harlot heaven forbid.  She was motivated not by physical pleasure but by desire for her husband and to be part of the mission of bringing the 12 tribes of Israel.

The Gemara does explain that it is inappropriate for a woman to explicitly ask for sex, based on Genesis 3:16.  Women should be modest and not verbally aggressive about desire.  Instead she should communicate through her actions and agreeableness, such as dressing nicely and being easy to please.

In modern times it is said that women are taught to be direct, like men.  However, women also use nonverbal communication.  A man should look for unspoken indications of her interest level.

Our sages note that a man can try to get male children by having intercourse then repeating while his wife is still aroused from the first session.  Modern science has confirmed that male sperm die off before female sperm.  A man who wants sons is advised to keep putting in fresh seed.  See also Niddah 31b

Today’s learning also mentions Lilith, see that essay for details.


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