Sometimes my girlfriend and I discuss the possibility of having sex in public places, I am open to doing this but would like to get someone's thoughts. We do not intend to do it literally in front of people, we mean doing it in a dark corner of a night club or something where people can't really see but we are still in the public.
Judaism views sexual relations as a sanctified act that should only be experienced within the context of marriage. Furthermore, since the purpose for sexual relations is either procreation or enhancing a couple’s intimacy, it should most certainly be experienced in the most private settings, far from any public situations. I would like to add that the reason for Judaism’s sensitivity in the realm of sex is directly related to the product of the sexual act. People often view the value of something by the significance of the process through which it was produced. In terms of human beings, if sex is simply another biological activity, then the product, the child is simply another animal with a big brain. If however sex is a sanctified act, reserved for a sanctified union, than the product, the child, is viewed as much more than just another animal, but rather a holy creation of infinite worth. The same holds true for relationships. If sex can be experienced simply as a good time, and a biologically pleasurable release, than the relationship within which it is experienced is a good time one, but that’s about it. If sex is restricted to only being experienced within a sanctified relationship, than the sexual act itself reinforces the holiness and sanctity of that relationship creating in my opinion an experience of intimacy on an extremely committed and almost other worldly plain.
I am tempted to wonder whether you are serious in asking such a question, or whether you're just playing with me here. If you're mocking me, I forgive you. If you're serious here are my thoughts:
People are entitled to all kinds of naughty fantasies, and if imagining yourselves getting all wild in semi-public places does it for you, then I don't see the harm.
But to act on such fantasies? I think that would be most inappropriate. Let me count the ways.
First of all, it is against Jewish law. As recorded in the Shulhan Arukh Even HaEzer 25.3, it is forbidden to have sex in public places, and is permitted only in private homes.
Second, in most (perhaps all) jurisdictions in the United States it is also illegal. In certain jurisdictions, you could end up a registered sex offender for the sake of a little thrill. Don't be dumb. Absent a major moral claim or protest action like civil disobedience, Jews should follow the laws of the land. This law deserves to be obeyed.
Third of all, it's extremely rude toward others. If the definition of good manners is to help others feel comfortable and treated with dignity, then it would be most impolite to make others feel uncomfortable if they were to see you or intrude on your liason in a public place. What if children happened to interrupt you? How would you explain yourselves to their parents?
Ask yourself why Jewish and American law agree that such behavior is inappropriate. A major motivation, as noted, is that it would make others feel uncomfortable to see you. Furthermore, and most important in my mind, sex is an act of great intimacy between partners. Ideally, it should cultivate emotional and spiritual bonds between you. Those bonds can only be cheapened and weakened by public exposure. Ultimately, privacy is needed to share real loving.
Modesty, or tzni’ut in Hebrew, is a Jewish value that is, well, perhaps somewhat undervalued these days. From clothing that reveals women’s cleavage and outlines genital areas and leaves nothing to the imagination, to sexually tinged language – in all media – that confronts rather than comforts: People in our society are constantly exposed to sexual images that, for better or worse, offend rather than enlighten.
Judaism generally has a very healthy and accepting attitude toward human sexuality. Unlike other religious groups and philosophies which believe in “original sin”, and understand that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because of some sexual offense, Judaism believes that (1) the soul is pure at birth (even if there were a sexual offense on the part of Adam and Eve, that offense does not redound to our detriment) and (2) sexuality is a gift from God. We further believe that pleasures derived from human sexuality are acceptable, and even pursuable as the object of a sexual encounter. It is well known that we have a high value of “be fertile and multiply”, but sexuality and sexual pleasure for its own sake are also a major part of the Jewish ethos.
It is, therefore, the issue of modesty that we focus upon. It is not so much an act of sexuality or the display of human flesh to which Jewish tradition would object. Rather, Judaism would take a dim view of the flaunting of sexuality in inappropriate places even if it were to heighten your pleasure. Such an action may be exciting to the both of you, but it does not fall under the category of things that Jewish tradition could support. Modesty in the use of these gifts from God is also a most supreme value in Jewish tradition.
I generally do not like to offer “slippery slope” arguments, but this also concerns me. It seems that your idea to have sex in public places would lead to unintended consequences: a degrading of this gift from God; leading others to believe this is an acceptable thing; and public sexuality becoming more widespread to places where children would be exposed; and who knows what else.
Jewish tradition could not support it, and I hope you do not pursue this as a goal.
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