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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Harchakot & sexual dysfunction

12 March, 2005

Question:

Can you please tell me whether there are any teshuvot that discuss being mekil on harchakot when a couple is dealing with issues of sexual dysfunction. I have an extreme amount of anxiety relating to sexual intercourse. By "raising the bar" a little bit each night by the end of the 2 weeks after I have gone to the mikveh I begin to feel more comfortable and more ready for sexuality. However, then I become a niddah and the cycle starts again – without any intercourse.

We were wondering whether it might be easier to minimize the anxiety if there is a constant basic threshold of touch and physical contact. That way, during the 2 weeks when I am not in niddah, we don't have to start all over again and the anxiety, aversion, and panic do not come back in full force.

We have been married for 6 years and we have 2 children. However, since my son was born 3 years ago we have had sexual intercourse under 5 times. Before he was born things were not that much better but we kept attributing it to all sorts of issues, i.e., I became pregnant right away after we got married, then we had an infant, then I became pregnant with my second child etc. However, at this point we realize that the cycle has become increasingly more difficult to break and that it is hard to "pin" the anxiety or the sexual aversion on other issues.

We are going to pursue therapy and we will speak to a Rav about the issue if necessary. However, before we begin therapy and before we even approached our rav we wanted to know the issues, become aware of any possible teshuvot that deals with this topic, and do some research to understand the issues. Thank you so much for your time!


Answer:

We're sorry to hear of your difficulties.

Unfortunately, we are not aware of any exemptions of the sort you suggest to the laws of harchakot.

We agree with you that therapy would be advisable. Ideally, you would ask any specific halachic questions that arise to a rabbi who knows you and your situation personally. You are also always welcome to get back to us through this site or (for an immediate answer) through our telephone hotline.

Additionally, it might be helpful for you to go on a hormonal contraceptive (under rabbinic and medical guidance) and to take two sets of pills back to back.  That way, you could double the amount of time you are tehorah while you work through this.

If your physician and/or therapist are not familiar with hilchot niddah, you may want to refer them to our website or app for medical professionals.

B'hatzlacha!


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.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.