In This answer one user says (on the topic of Judaism):

the only reason why one should ever have sex is to have children with their spouse

However another user disputes this

I was wondering which one of these was correct, so here is my question: Is it allowed according to Halacha to have sex without the purpose of having children?

Note: I am not Jewish, nor well versed in Judaism, so apologies if I say anything offensive.


1 Answer 1


The code of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 240:1) spells out the ideal intents one should have when intimate with their wife.

ואף כשהוא מצוי אצלה לא יכוין להנאתו אלא כאדם שפורע חובו שהוא חייב בעונתה ולקיים מצות בוראו שיהיו לו בנים עוסקים בתורה ומקיימים מצות בישראל וכן אם מכוין לתקון הולד שבששה חדשים אחרונים יפה לו שמתוך כך יצא מלובן ומזורז שפיר דמי. ואם הוא מכוין לגדור עצמו בה כדי שלא יתאוה לעבירה כי רואה יצרו גובר ומתאוה אל הדבר ההוא: הגה גם בזה יש קבול שכר אך (טור) יותר טוב היה לו לדחות את יצרו ולכבוש אותו כי אבר קטן יש באדם מרעיבו שבע משביעו רעב אבל מי שאינו צריך לדבר אלא שמעורר תאותו כדי למלאות תאותו זו היא עצת יצר הרע ומן ההיתר יסיתנו אל האיסור ועל זה אמרו רבותינו ז"ל המקשה עצמו לדעת יהא בנדוי:

Even when he is with her, he should not seek his own pleasure, but be like someone paying his debt that he owes her at her schedule, and to fulfil the obligation of his Creator, so that he may have children who study Torah and keep mitzvot in Israel; and so too if his intent is for the benefit of the fetus, since during the last six months it benefits it, causing it to come out purified and lively, it is good; and also if he intends to restrain himself through her in order to prevent him from lusting after sin, since he sees his urges getting the better of him and lusting after that thing. Rem"a: For this too one receives reward, but it would have been better if he would resist his urges and overcome them, since man has a small member: when he starves it, he is satisfied; when he satisfies it, he starves. But anyone who doesn't need it, but arouses his lust to fulfil his desires, this is the evil urge's counsel, and from what is permitted to him it will lead him to what is prohibited, and about this our Rabbis o.b.m. said: One who hardens himself intentionally shall be in niduy (translation provided by Sefaria).

We see other intents are not as ideal but if they are positive they are good. If you notice they put the intent of one's obligations to one's wife on par with the intent to have children.

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    Notably, a man married to a postmenopausal woman (or premenarchal, or pregnant, or whatever other non-fertile state she may find herself in) is still obligated to be with her regularly according to her wishes.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 20:22
  • Maybe it's learnt out somewhere Gen. 1:27 in the image of God (which is completed during union, as brought), precedes ibid :28 "be fruitful and multiply"? Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 21:35

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