There's very few things that the Torah (Five Books of Moses that is) mandates we must do special for our wives. The three that are mentioned are food, clothing, and sex. Sex is regarded as a holy act in Judaism. It is the way that we can become G-dlike in that we can partner with G-d to create, and it has to be treated with a certain reverence. That being said, we aren't Puritans about it either. The rabbinic literature actually discusses sex freely and without judgement. There are certain guidelines for behavior, but ultimately the literature is simply meant to inform a rabbi in helping couples build successful marriages. While we are open about it, the actual discussion should be a private matter so that the person asking doesn't make any mistakes about what proper conduct is (Mishnah Chagigah 2:1).
That being said, there's usually two concerns a rabbi has when he hears that a guy has reservations about taking care of his wife's needs. One is that a guy would like to do xyz but feels that he's doing something wrong or he's having some guilt. That's why it's good to have a rabbi to talk to who can be sensitive to your issues. The other is that the guy doesn't really want to meet his wife's demands in bed and thinks that he can use the religion as an excuse to leverage the situation or get him out of something he doesn't want to do. That doesn't fly. Can you find rabbinic literature to ban any number of behaviors? It's there if you want to find it. Is that the way you should conduct yourself? It depends, but often restrictions that negatively impact the relationship are not restrictions rabbis like putting in place. So someone running to the rabbi to bail them out is not necessarily going to find a sympathetic ear.
There are certain things that I can feel pretty comfortable putting here that aren't okay, so it's understood there's more to discuss with the others: you can't force yourself on your wife or punish her for not putting out. You can't sleep with her if she's asleep, intoxicated, or in any other state where she can't really consent*. You can't engage in behaviors that cause actual wounds like cutting or other very extreme S&M (Lv. 19:27-28) or cross-dress (Dt. 22:5). I can't think of anything else that isn't a longer discussion that would be better discussed offline.
*The Raavad actually considers this a form of adultery, since she is a married woman but if she doesn't consent she is not your wife.
On a lighter note, I could recommend you follow the advice that God told Abraham:whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you . . . (Gen. 21:12). On a more somber and realistic note, it’s important to have a frank discussion about this issue with your wife.
For those who are unfamiliar with this subject, here is a brief introduction that will attempt to explain the complexity of this widespread phenomena that exists in Western societies. According to psychologists, sadomasochism involves the giving and/or receiving of pleasure—often sexual—from acts involving the infliction or reception of pain or humiliation. The psychology of sadomasochism is complex. Part of a person’s psychology sometimes seeks submissiveness, or dominance. One could say that S&M views relationships and sexual intimacy in terms of power and control that influence much of people’s social behavior. In homes where a female often plays a submissive role, a female may choose to act out her fantasy of being dominant in a sexual relationship, or the reverse for a man.
While the terms sadist and masochist specifically refer to one who either enjoys giving pain (sadist), or one who enjoys receiving pain (masochist), many practitioners of sadomasochism will alternate between these two modalities of behavior.
Jewish law does not always spell out every kind of sexual situation. We deduce laws based upon comparisons and sound reasoning. In general, Maimonides discusses the manner in which engages in sexual intimacy in the section entitled, The Laws of Forbidden Relations:
Since a man’s wife is permitted to him, he may act with her in any manner that he desires. He may be intimate with her in any manner he desires. He may kiss any organ he desires, engage in vaginal or anal intercourse or engage in physical intimacy without relations, provided he does not release seed in vain. Nevertheless, it is considered pious behavior for a person not to act frivolously concerning such matters and to sanctify himself at the time of intimacy, as explained in Hilchot Deot. He should not depart from the ordinary pattern of the world. For this act, was given solely for the sake of procreation.
Would Maimonides approve of wearing a black blindfold, or a little slapping of the posterior? Probably not–because he feels that this would not add to the sanctity of lovemaking. However, Maimonides acknowledges that fantasy can have a role in a healthy relationship so long as one fantasizes only about one’s beloved (fantasizing about anyone else is morally wrong; nor should he have sex if he plans on divorcing her, or if he is angry with her, see MT Isurei Bi’ah 21:12).
Since a man and woman may make love any way they like, it seems to me that the lighter non-violent forms of S&M may conceivably be permitted according to this way of reading Maimonides.
There is a second rabbinical source also worth considering. Rabbi Akiba and Ben Azzai (ca. second century CE) argue on a topic that comes very close to this specific issue:
What is the greatest precept of the Torah? Rabbi Akiba argues that it is the precept, You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).
Ben Azzai said:This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind,he made them in the likeness of God (Gen 5:1). Do not say, “Since I have been put to shame, let my neighbor also be put to shame, for if you do so, know that you are shaming someone who is made in the likeness of God.”
Based on this rabbinic controversy, one could say that Ben Azzai would oppose S&M since certain people might enjoy receiving pain; however, this does not entitle such a person with obvious masochistic tendencies to inflict his “pleasure” unto others—especially when it pertains to the relationship and a husband and wife have in the bedroom!
I would add that many psychologists think that sadistic and masochistic fantasies usually begin in childhood, and the disorders usually manifest in early adulthood. When associated with antisocial personality disorder, psychologists agree that it may result in serious injury to others or even death.
Ergo, hardcore S&M is definitely out of the question. Some lighter forms of S&M may be permissible. I must confess, for me this subject has little appeal, but here are some basic guidelines I suggest you and your wife discuss together.
Tying someone to the bed is probably fine so long as the ropes or twine does not leave marks in the skin. Whips and chains are definitely unacceptable. As is always the case, sexual intimacy must be consensual and based on that paradigm, anytime a person feels uncomfortable with a fantasy of S&M, the role-playing must end. I would also add that couples engaging in milder forms of S&M should keep a respectful distance from the S&M community, for what goes on in the bedroom must stay in the bedroom and not beyond. Limits must be defined and respected at all times. Such an attitude will obviously not mesh with much of the secular S&M culture, but Jewish ethics always demands that we treat one another compassionately and lovingly in the act of lovemaking.
In short, fantasy does have a place in sexual intimacy—a fact that Maimonides acknowledges, so long as one fantasizes only about one’s beloved. Fantasizing about anyone else is morally wrong; nor should he have sex if he plans on divorcing her, or if he is angry with her (MT Isurei Bi’ah 21:12).
Therefore, it seems to me that consensual and playful S&M does not violate the norms of Jewish tradition—provided one does not get carried away with fantasy and remember the Other is never an object, but a feeling and responsive human being.
 Tur and Ra’avad disagree, cf. Beit Shmuel’s notes to Even HaEzer 25:1. Some of the medieval Kabbalists believed that a man having oral sex with his wife would go blind if he gazed and kissed her vagina. Maimonides makes no such distinction.
 On a critical note, we do not agree with Maimonides view that sexuality is only for the purpose of siring children. Were that the case, older couples would not be able to marry. The need for human intimacy is just as important as having children; marriage is suitable for adults of any age.
 Love your neighbor doesn’t mean you must “feel fond of him” or “like him.” But rather, love your neighbor like you love yourself.
Of the many questions I have been privilege to respond to as a panelist for JVO, certainly this query is likely to evoke a libidinous aspect, maybe even a Yetzer Harah-like desire, at the least to know more. And while it is difficult to discern what the particulars may be (is one person's idea of hard sex another's view of normative?), the question deserves a response, even though we may be missing salient details.
First, Judaism generally has a positive attitude about our physical nature and, more specifically, our sexuality. In fact, an old newspaper cartoon comes to mind. If you are familiar with Hagar the Horrible, two characters are in a tavern. One says to the other, "Is sex a sin?" The response: "I don't know. Is it fun?" With a resounding yes to the question, the final frame's statement has relevance. "Then it must be a sin."
Happily, that approach is far removed from Jewish views on this topic. As to "specifics," if sex in marriage may reach its best expression, then mutuality is key. That means, to the fullest extent possible, treating each other as subjects, as persons and not as objects to be manipulated or used only as an outlet for one's own needs. No doubt, such requires the fullest discussion and caring possible. That may include, at least in a modern context, sharing fantasy, desire, wishes and more with each other, even as that does not require that the couple must act on every whim or impulse. However, the responsibility that seems uppermost in this instance is to care for one’s partner in the fullest way possible. To tend to the needs of one's spouse, including physical needs, is praiseworthy and understood also to be another and important path to holiness.
Nothing in Judaism says no to achieving the fullest expression of intimacy, but everything depends on the couple’s communication skills far more than on the nature of their sex lives.
With that in mind, I would be grateful if the questioner were to offer some follow-up to this initial conversation.
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