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

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Permissibility of relations on Pill

30 April, 2007

Question:

If a rabbi permits the use of contraception (birth control pill), is my husband committing any sin while we are having relations? He is very worried about this.


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

There is no sin at all involved in having relations while using contraception in situations where it is halachically permitted. This is certainly the case in your situation, where you received a ruling from a halachic authority. Relations while a woman is using a halachically permissible method of contraception do not violate the prohibition against hotza’at zera levatalah (wasting seed).

While it is true that procreation is considered an important aspect of marital relations, procreation is not their sole purpose. There is a second mitzvah involved, the mitzvah of onah (marital intimacy), according to which a husband is obligated to have relations with his wife when she desires it, even if she is unable to conceive at that point.

We hope that marital intimacy can be a point of connection and strength in your relationship, and not worry. For an extended discussion of the religious significance of marital intimacy, please see Rabbi Avraham Peretz Friedman’s essay here.)

If your husband wishes to explore this topic further, he could approach a rabbi or teacher he trusts or read Rabbi Friedman’s book.

Please be in touch with any further questions.

This response was updated on 8 August 2022.


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