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.

Watching pornography is not compatible with our conceptions of modesty and of the potential holiness of sexual relations. It is prohibited to men and women. Halachic sources even instruct us not to watch animals engaged in relations for modesty concerns.

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 even in activities that might be arguably technically permitted. One of the Ramban’s examples of transgressing the exhortation to be holy is over-indulging the sexual urge.

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

Please write back with any further questions.

This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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