Through a Hole in a Sheet Lessons and Myths of Rabbinic Sexuality
התלמידים יוצאין לתלמוד תורה שלא ברשות שלשים יום הפועלים שבת אחת העונה האמורה בתורה הטיילין בכל יום הפועלים שתים בשבת החמרים אחת בשבת הגמלים אחת לשלשים יום הספנים אחת לששה חדשים דברי רבי אליעזר:
Apropos the husband’s obligation to his wife regarding marital relations, the Gemara mentions other aspects of this issue: Students may leave their homes and travel in order to learn Torah without their wives’ permission for up to thirty days, and laborers may leave their homes without their wives’ permission for up to one week. The set interval defining the frequency of a husband’s conjugal obligation to his wife stated in the Torah (see Exodus 21:10), unless the couple stipulated otherwise, varies according to the man’s occupation and proximity to his home: Men of leisure, who do not work, must engage in marital relations every day, laborers must do so twice a week, donkey drivers once a week, camel drivers once every thirty days, and sailors once every six months. This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer.
תני רב יוסף שארה זו קרוב בשר שלא ינהג בה מנהג פרסיים שמשמשין מטותיהן בלבושיהן מסייע ליה לרב הונא דאמר רב הונא האומר אי אפשי אלא אני בבגדי והיא בבגדה יוציא ונותן כתובה:
Rav Yosef taught the following baraita: She’era,” this is referring to closeness of flesh during intercourse, which teaches that he should not treat her in the manner of Persians, who have conjugal relations in their clothes. The Gemara comments: This baraita supports the opinion of Rav Huna, as Rav Huna said: With regard to one who says: I do not want to have intercourse with my wife unless I am in my clothes and she is in her clothes, he must divorce his wife and give her the payment for her marriage contract. This is in keeping with the opinion of the tanna of the baraita that the Torah mandates the intimacy of flesh during sexual relations.
כי הוו מקלעי ר' ישמעאל ברבי יוסי ור' אלעזר בר' שמעון בהדי הדדי הוה עייל בקרא דתורי בינייהו ולא הוה נגעה בהו אמרה להו ההיא מטרוניתא בניכם אינם שלכם אמרו לה שלהן גדול משלנו כל שכן איכא דאמרי הכי אמרו לה (שופטים ח, כא) כי כאיש גבורתו איכא דאמרי הכי אמרו לה אהבה דוחקת את הבשר ולמה להו לאהדורי לה והא כתיב (משלי כו, ד) אל תען כסיל כאולתו שלא להוציא לעז על בניהם

When Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, and Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, would meet each other, it was possible for a pair of oxen to enter and fit between them, without touching them. A certain Roman noblewoman [matronita] once said to them: Your children are not really your own. They said to her: Theirs, i.e., our wives’ bellies, are larger than ours. She said to them: All the more so! There are those who say that this is what they said to her: “For as the man is, so is his strength” (Judges 8:21). There are those who say that this is what they said to her: Love compresses the flesh. The Gemara asks: And why did they respond to her audacious and foolish question? After all, it is written: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him” (Proverbs 26:4). The Gemara answers: They answered her in order not to cast aspersions on the lineage of their children.

רבי אילא הוה סליק בדרגא דבי רבה בר שילא שמעיה לינוקא דהוה קא קרי (עמוס ד, יג) כי הנה יוצר הרים ובורא רוח ומגיד לאדם מה שיחו אמר עבד שרבו מגיד לו מה שיחו תקנה יש לו מאי מה שיחו אמר רב אפילו שיחה יתירה שבין איש לאשתו מגידים לו לאדם בשעת מיתה איני והא רב כהנא הוה גני תותי פורייה דרב ושמעיה דסח וצחק ועשה צרכיו אמר דמי פומיה דרב כמאן דלא טעים ליה תבשילא אמר ליה כהנא פוק לאו אורח ארעא
The Gemara relates that Rabbi Ila was ascending the stairs in the house of Rabba bar Sheila, a children’s teacher. He heard a child who was reading a verse out loud: “For, lo, He Who forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his speech” (Amos 4:13). Rabbi Ila said: With regard to a servant whose master declares to him what is his proper speech, is there a remedy for him? The Gemara asks. What is the meaning of the phrase: “What is his speech”? Rav said: Even frivolous speech that is between a man and his wife before engaging in relations is declared to a person at the time of death, and he will have to account for it. The Gemara asks: Is that so? Is it prohibited for a man to speak in this manner with his wife? Wasn’t Rav Kahana lying beneath Rav’s bed, and he heard Rav chatting and laughing with his wife, and performing his needs, i.e., having relations with her. Rav Kahana said out loud: The mouth of Rav is like one who has never eaten a cooked dish, i.e., his behavior is lustful. Rav said to him: Kahana, leave, as this is not proper conduct. This shows that Rav himself engaged in frivolous talk before relations.
רב כהנא על גנא תותיה פורייה דרב שמעיה דשח ושחק ועשה צרכיו אמר ליה דמי פומיה דאבא כדלא שריף תבשילא אמר לו כהנא הכא את פוק דלאו ארח ארעא אמר לו תורה היא וללמוד אני צריך
On a similar note, the Gemara relates that Rav Kahana entered and lay beneath Rav’s bed. He heard Rav chatting and laughing with his wife, and seeing to his needs, i.e., having relations with her. Rav Kahana said to Rav: The mouth of Abba, Rav, is like one whom has never eaten a cooked dish, i.e., his behavior was lustful. Rav said to him: Kahana, you are here? Leave, as this is an undesirable mode of behavior. Rav Kahana said to him: It is Torah, and I must learn.