CONDOMS

WHAT CAN(T) THEY DO
Condoms are a thin covering that prevent infections from spreading from one person to another, and from sperm entering the vagina which can lead to pregnancy. Condoms are the only STD prevention method that can prevent against most STDs and pregnancy (herpes, HPV, and syphilis are some STDs not prevented by condom use).   There are male condoms that are designed to be put on a penis, and female condoms that are designed to be put in a vagina.

What can(t) they do

     IS THERE CONDOM EDUCATION IN FRUM SCHOOLS
Frum schools generally do not discuss condom use as an acceptable Jewish practice. However, people who are having unprotected sex may not know what a condom looks like, where to get a condom and/or how to use one. A person might also be worried about keeping condoms for fear of someone finding them.

Is there condom education in the frum world

This is what a male aka external condom looks like

What a condom looks like

MALE aka EXTERNAL

 

How to use internal and external condoms

This is what a female aka internal condom looks like. No, it is not a diaphragm. Internal condoms are designed to be inserted into a vagina. They can also be inserted into the rectum for anal sex.

What a condom looks like
FEMALE aka INTERNAL

WHAT ARE THE SPIRITUAL CONCERNS WITH USING A CONDOM

There is a conflict that arises within an unmarried person who is having sex but also wants to try and keep halacha as much as possible.
 

On the one side it is a mitzvah to take care of one’s health, and using a condom protects a person's health. As it says in Parsha Devarim chapter 4, verse 15 
"And you shall be exceedingly protective of yourselves”     “וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם מְאֹ֖ד לְנַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֑ם”

The Rambam (Hilchos Deos 4:1,14) writes: “Because for the body to be healthy and wholesome is among the ways of HaShem… therefore a person must distance himself from those things that cause his body damage.”

On the other side, there is a Halachic prohibition against the use of condoms: The yoatzot on Jewishwomenshealth.com explain that “first, the use of barrier methods may violate the prohibition against illegitimate expulsion of semen (hotza'at zera levatalah). Second, these methods may prevent intercourse from taking place in a natural manner as required by Halacha.” 

That being said, while there may be a halachic problem with using a condom, the decision to use a condom to prevent possible infections or pregnancies that could lead to abortions is likely preferred to not using a condom and dealing with health consequences that can present much more halachically problematic alternatives.

Kosher? Condoms that are flavored require a kosher certification if the flavor is going to be eaten. This would not be a concern with vaginal sex, but would be a concern for someone who is giving oral sex and wants to try and keep kosher. 

What are the spiritual considerations with using a condom


Condoms can be purchased at any chain pharmacy and at most grocery stores. Most city health departments provide free condoms. To find free condoms near you click here

WHERE TO GET A CONDOM

Where to get a condom

WHERE TO KEEP A CONDOM
Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place. If stored in a hot place like a wallet, or glove compartment, condoms can dry out and crack. In frum communities there can be a fear about getting caught with a condom, and worry about where to store one. It helps to know what size a condom is to plan for where to keep it.
Male condoms come in different sizes. The largest ones are no bigger than a large piece of chocolate Chanukah gelt.
Female condoms are about the size of a period pad. Both are thin and can be discreetly slipped away for someone who does not want people to know about sexual activity. If a person is not going to stop having sex and wants to protect against most STDs or avoid pregnancy, getting and using a condom is the responsible thing to do.

Where to keep a condom

What do Rabbis say about using a condom

Every person's situation is different and it is best to find a Rabbi you are comfortable talking with to discuss questions about condom use. Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz writes the following on Jlaw.com “While Jewish law generally frowns upon the use of condoms as a contraceptive, it would permit their use as a means to prevent the spread of a life-threatening illness. The Torah would not require an AIDS patient to practice lifetime abstinence. Whether condoms should be openly distributed to students in schools is a more difficult issue. Obviously, Judaism believes that sex should take place within the framework of a loving and committed marriage and frowns on any efforts that would openly legitimize alternative lifestyles and premarital affairs. At the same time, if adolescents are going to be sexually-active, they should be aware of precautionary steps”. Rabbi Breitowitz is not connected to this website in any way.

 WHAT DO RABBIS SAY ABOUT USING A CONDOM