Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Appropriate video content for women

22 April, 2012

Question:

I read in a previous tshuva you gave, that the halacha is not as clear regarding the issur of hirhurim for women since they do not violate the same law if they DO have inappropriate thoughts. Is a woman therefore allowed to watch something with sexual content in it?


Answer:

We did note in one of our posted answers that "the prohibition against hirhurim is therefore not as clear in women, because there is no equivalent physical response [to men's]."   Even so, a major halachic decisor, R Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe Even HaEzer I 69), held that a woman's ogling men with erotic intent is prohibited, and his logic can easily be extended to other types of hirhur, such as watching sexual content that is likely to lead to arousal.

"Sexual content" is a broad phrase.  At minimum, inappropriate sexual video content for a woman includes male nudity or relations (real or simulated).  But the religious imperative in these areas, as in others, goes beyond the strict letter of halacha.  Even if the prevailing cultural winds have moved us past the point at which the individual can say with confidence regarding inappropriate content that 'I know it when I see it', women and men should make careful, reflective choices about what to watch.  Recent technological advances and family-minded film websites have also made it possible to filter what one watches with precision.


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