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

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11 September, 2017


Is it halachically permitted for a woman to watch pornography?


We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

According to some halachic authorities, deliberate indulgence in sexual fantasizing is prohibited. Deliberate fantasizing can be distinguished from naturally occuring sexual thoughts, which are not prohibited.  

The Ramban on VaYikra 19:2 explains that the Torah's exhortation there for Jews to be holy refers to sanctifying ourselves by refraining from indulgence in activities that might even be arguably technically permitted.  One of the Ramban's examples of transgressing the exhortation to be holy is over-indulging the sexual urge.  Along these lines, halachic sources even instruct us not to watch animals engaged in relations for modesty concerns.  Watching pornography, which is also not in line with our conceptions of modesty and of the potential holiness of sexual relations, is prohibited.

Please write back with any further questions.

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