Guilty Pleasures

Last week there was a tremendous response from readers about my piece “Sex…Kosher Style.”  So this week, I decided to stay on the topic and explore it from a different mindset…

We’ve all heard the term “make-up sex,” but what is it really?  I searched for definitions of the term in different places. defines it as “rough and extremely gratifying sex had after an argument.” shares “The Advantages Of Make-Up Sex” and explains that “sexual reconciliation after a long, gut-wrenching argument makes the entire acrimonious experience worthwhile…there’s no greater sex than that angry, raw, animalistic sex that a couple shares after having laid (no pun intended) all their cards on the table.”  Even Redbook advocates make-up sex after a fight in its article “Explosive Sex: The Surprising Turn-on You Can’t Ignore” and offers “seven makeup-sex strategies that have worked for wives who’ve found that it’s better to give (and receive!) than to withhold” sex after an argument.

Is make-up sex really that good?  Uh, yeah.  But why? For starters, the physical states of anger and sexual arousal share similar symptoms; pounding heart, increasing blood pressure, panting-like breathing.  To avoid a mix-up, it’s up to the mind to distinguish between the two states and maintain focus.  But when you love someone and don’t really want to be arguing anyway, and if your brain strays away from the argument, the fervent wrestling (figuratively speaking) can easily turn into passionate embracing (literally speaking).

From the Jewish perspective, however, a few words of caution.  A man should not have sex – any type of sex – with his wife if:

  1. She is afraid of him, or if he has to coerce or rape her;
  2. He truly dislikes her or consistently thinks of another woman during sex;
  3. Sex was forbidden by rabbinic [or medical?] decree;
  4. He is still angry with her after a quarrel;
  5. He is drunk or in a mentally altered state;
  6. He has already made up his mind to divorce her;
  7. She is suspected of infidelity, or promiscuity with other men;
  8. She demands sexual relations from him in an immodest way.

Rabbi Levi specifically warned that any offspring born from these objectionable sexual relations could become “rebels and transgressors.”[1]

So what do we take away from all of this? A child should be conceived during favorable conditions; for his or her sake, the parents’, and society’s.  Sex should take place between a loving couple; not between a fearful or distant or uncommitted one.  And, make-up sex should be used gingerly to transform adversarial or combative emotions into passionate, loving, and reconnecting ones.

Try it.  It’s a great way to win an argument!

[1] Adapted from the Talmud Bavli, Tractate Nedarim 20b; a compilation of teachings of 3-6th century scholars in Babylonia; final redaction in the 6-7th centuries.


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