The myth that religious Jews are required to make love through a hole in a sheet is nonsense. Pleasure was a concern of the rabbis; they understood that it is enhanced by nudity. In fact, if one of the partners does not wish to have relations in the nude, it is considered grounds for divorce.
Still, the laws of modesty do apply even in private.
The Torah states, "Make your camp Holy." Modesty must be maintained even in private. Marital relations are a vehicle for intorduciting spirituality into the the relationship. G'd is an equal partner in the marriage.
What does Judaism say about marital nudity? Some married couples NEVER see each other naked (it is said)..
Rabbi Martin J Berman
The concept of tzniut – modesty is certainly an important concept in traditional Judaism. How one dress in public, how much skin is shown, whether or not you go out in public is an important question. Unfortunately, we mostly hear the issue concerning women and not men, but both are equally bound to have a sense of modesty – although how that is defined is subject to debate and various societies and that includes the Jewish community come to very different conclusions.
How should that translate to intimacy between two married people? To start with nudity, even around the same sex, is often seen as offensive in the more puritanical elements found in Jewish tradition. We are always in the presence of God and should act accordingly. Yet the Talmud discusses the question of a man saying the Shema when his wife is naked in bed with him and it states that her body is like his own – so there should be no issue. (Berachot 24a). Earlier the discussion was about a woman reciting a blessing when she is naked and separating challah (part of dough that is supposed to be given to a Kohen) and from the discussion it is clear that as long as her vagina is covered while she is sitting on the floor – something which a man cannot do. Further on it states that a man cannot recite the Shema when his wife is present and the parts of her body which are normally covered are not.
I cite these passages because none of the rabbis involved suggested under any circumstances the man should not see his naked wife and vice versa. It is true that the rabbis had serious misgivings about a man looking at his wife’s vagina and the also stated that sexual relations should not take place in a lighted room. But elsewhere we find codified that a man may kiss any part of his wife. Are there Jews who avoid seeing their spouse naked? I am sure that is the case. Is it prohibited, I don’t see why that should be. Intimacy between spouses is an important part of a healthy marriage and the fact is that Jewish tradition has great latitude about sexual play between husband and wife. In a passage just recently read as part of the daf yomi, Rav Hisda gives his daughters advice about how to maintain a good marital relationship and then even tells them how to get him excited in bed.
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