I’m baaaaack 😛
It’s been really busy at hopelikerivers HQ but I am slightly less busy for now. This pause gave me some time to reflect upon the hard-hitting, unusual and taboo issues that I like to address on my blog regarding Christianity and women. Today we’re looking at the issue of married couples having sex whilst the wife is on her period. What does the Bible have to say about this? Well lets take a look!
For most women periods take up three to five days each month for around four decades. That adds up and women and their husbands are almost guaranteed to want to have sex at some point during that time (Kubota 2020) but some passages of the Bible appear to prohibit this.
Under the Law of Moses, a woman was considered ceremonially unclean during her period. Sex during this time was forbidden.
(Leviticus 15:19 NLT) “ “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening.”
Not only were women ceremonially unclean during this time but also the men they had sex with and anyone who came in contact with her menstruation discharge.
(Leviticus 15:20-24 NLT) “ Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean.  If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.  If you touch any object she has sat on, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.  This includes her bed or any other object she has sat on; you will be unclean until evening if you touch it.  If a man has sexual intercourse with her and her blood touches him, her menstrual impurity will be transmitted to him. He will remain unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies will be unclean.” (Bible Study 2020)
Further on in Leviticus the Bible gives us more prohibition:
(Leviticus 20:18 NLT) “ “If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them must be cut off from the community, for together they have exposed the source of her blood flow.”
It is important to understand the purpose of the Law of Moses concerning blood. In the sacrificial system, blood was sacred:
Leviticus 17:11 [NLT] “ for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.”
A woman’s state of being ceremonially unclean during her period was symbolic of the value placed on blood. As a result, contact with a woman who was having her period was forbidden (Got Questions 2020). Furthermore, emphasis on cleanness and uncleanness was to weave the importance of holiness and “separation unto the Lord” into the everyday understanding of what it meant to serve the true and living God. The distinction between cleanness and uncleanness functioned as a continual reminder of the difference between God (holy) and God’s people (sinful and fallen) (Bohlin 2020).
As a result of the above mentioned verses, some take the view that a married couple should practice the Law of Moses and not have sex while the wife is having her period (Got Questions 2020) in an attempt to please God.
Challenges To Period Sex Prohibition
There are 3 problems with taking the view that practicing the Law of Moses will please God and absolve you of sin.
1.) Firstly, it makes the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross pointless as you are not living by “faith” as it says in Galatians 2:16-21 [NLT]:
“ Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”  But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!  Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.  For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law–I stopped trying to meet all its requirements–so that I might live for God.  My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”
2.) Secondly, as Paul said, if you start practicing the Law of Moses as a means of somehow making your life right in the eyes of God you have to obey all of them and if you don’t you are guilt of sin anyway. This is vocalised when the issue of circumcision came up in the New Testament:
(Galatians 5:3-5 NLT) “ I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses.  For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.  But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.”
This sentiment is reiterated in James 2:10-11 [NLT]:
“ For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.  For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.”
So the moment you start observing one law, you have to observe them all. Those of us who know the Bible and have studied the Law of Moses know that it is simply not possible to practice the Law of Moses as a way to find favour with God because it is not practical. Buying all the animals for the sacrifices would bankrupt you for a start. MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Law of Moses is not a perfect means of atonement unlike the death and resurrection of the Lord King Jesus Christ.
3.) Lastly, along the lines of the practical challenges to practicing the Law of Moses on this particular issue. If the Leviticus instructions were applied consistently, even touching a woman on her period would be forbidden. As, mentioned above according to the Law of Moses you even cannot sit on the same seat as her, sleep in the same bed or even touch something that she has also touched (Leviticus 15:20-24) (Got Questions 2020). This is not practical to do today. Imagine what your daily commute would look like trying to avoid menstruating women? It’s not possible. You couldn’t even share pens at work lol.
Thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Christians today do not need to practice the Law of Moses in order to be atoned to God (made right with God) as we see in the following verses:
Romans 10:4 [NLT] “ For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.”
Galatians 3:24-26 [NLT] “ Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.  And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.  For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
The prohibition does not apply today because the purpose of the Law of Moses has been fulfilled. There no longer is a sacrificial system of atonement to God like the Law of Moses that involves actions such as avoiding menstruating women. You should avoid menstrual blood because it’s unhygenic not because it will make you spiritually impure. Jesus’ blood sacrifice fulfilled the requirements of the Law of Moses for sins once and for all. Therefore, the Levitical ceremonial laws that partly make up the Law of Moses do not apply today (Got Questions 2020). The sentiment behind those laws DO APPLY but animal sacrifices and ceremonial actions such as avoiding menstruating women are no longer necessary for spiritual purity. Those laws were designed to protect and provide for the purity of the Jews until the Messiah came. Now, Christ has torn down the barrier between Jew and Gentile and the Law of Moses was a major part of that barrier—which is no longer necessary.
It should, however, be noted that moral laws, such as what we find in the Ten Commandments, will never pass away because they are rooted in the very character of God. (Bohlin 2020).
So Period Sex Isn’t Out Of Bounds Then?
As I have made clear the need to observe the practices of the Law of Moses is no longer there. This has been replaced by the need to live by faith since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Does this mean we can ignore the laws from Old Testament? Romans 3:31 says:
“Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” (NKJV)
God did not give laws just to give a law. There were reasons for each law given. Since we do not know all of God’s reasons, we can only speculate here are 5 possible reasons:
1.) Sanitation – There was no readily available plumbing to the Jews in the desert when Moses first received the law in Exodus. This meant that it was a lot harder to bathe and clean up. We know that a woman’s monthly period is messy and has an unfortunate smell…
2.) Spread of disease – A woman’s monthly period consists of blood. We now know that several infections and diseases are carried and spread through blood (Panell, M. 2020). There are two types of infection that may occur due to sexual activity: STIs and problems caused by changes in normal vaginal flora, such as yeast infections and Bacterial Vaginosis (Medical News Today 2020).
STI’s are viruses that live in blood and they can spread through contact with infected menstrual blood (Healthline 2020). While yeast infections can also occur without engaging in sexual activity but people may have a higher risk of getting a yeast infection due to the hormonal changes during a period. Yeast infections, spread by Vaginal-penile sex, can cause the head of the penis to become inflamed which is a condition called Balanitis (Medical News Today 2020) and FYI, one of the treatments for recurrent Balanitis is a circumcision soo, yeahhh… Additionally, during a woman’s monthly period, the cervix widens to allow the uterine lining to leave the body. This widening of the cervix would increase the risk for pelvic infections and HIV (Panell, M. 2020).
For those weirdo’s who will actually attempt this – Tami Serene Rowen, Assistant Professor at UCSF’s department of Obstetrics, in the division of Gynaecology cautioned against Oral Sex during a woman’s period in Mens Journal, due to the health risks associated with the increase in bacteria and inflammation in the blood itself during a woman’s period. Please don’t do it people it doesn’t seem to be a good idea (Kubotu 2020).
Side note in the medical section – For the more dozy women, there’s the risk of forgetting the tampon. If you plan to have sex during your period and you’re wearing a tampon, you need to remove it beforehand. A forgotten tampon can get pushed so far up into your vagina during sex that you’ll need to see a doctor to have it removed (Healthline 2020).
Another side note – something people may not be aware of is that Sperm can live up to 5 days in the woman’s body after ejaculation (Medical News Today 2020) so just be aware having sex during woman’s monthly period is not a form of birth control. Women can and do ovulate during their monthly period, so can also become pregnant at this time (Panell, M. 2020).
3.) Delayed gratification – Bohlin (2020) suggests that the law of abstaining from sexual relations during a womans period could have been God instituting a “built-in anticipation builder” for both husband and wife for when they could come back together again. Bohlin feels that many married couples know the joy of “reunion sex” and to her, God’s “off-limits for seven days” rule, insured “reunion sex” without somebody having to go away! (Panell, M. 2020). You can debate among yourselves the validity of the claim. I think most men would just like to have sex everyday if they could tbh and the break wouldn’t make any difference to their sex drive but that’s just me.
4.) Demonstration of Grace – Since the New Testament teaches equal value of the sexes (Gal. 3:28, “In Christ there is no male or female”), it may be that the purpose of the gender inequity (the woman being ceremonially unclean during her period) of the Old Testament was to set up the contrast for the glory of grace in the New Testament.
5.) Maybe this was God giving women a breathing space written in law to make allowances for their periods which is a time when there are hormonal changes in a woman which we can’t help, that may make some not want anything to do with sex, while others have an increased desire for sex. It is the same way with pain. Some women do not have pain if they have sex during their monthly period while others may have an increase in pain. Apparently, some women have noted a decrease in cramps if they have sex during their monthly period (Panell, M. 2020).
Benefits to period sex
With there no longer being any biblical reasons why a married couple cannot have sex during the wife’s period (Got Questions 2020). Let’s have a look at this phenomenon with an open mind and see if there are any benefits to Period Sex. In order to write a properly balanced article I must note any advantages as well as disadvantages anyways. Here we go!
According to my research (which was in no was extensive) there seem to be some benefits to Period Sex. Disclaimer: not all the benefits have been scientifically proven. Please take this with a pinch of salt and don’t go crazy, you read the health risks I included above so be sensible. The possible benefits of period sex that I have found include:
- Shorter periods due to uterine contractions during orgasm
- Lighter, less painful periods
- Reduced stress
- Improved sleep
- Headache relief
- Strengthened immune system
- Improved fitness (Medical News Today 2020)
- Less need for lubrication – When a woman is on her period there’s just that extra fluid in the genitals to make things spicier
- More enjoyable sex due to libido changes (Flo Health 2020) – Fluctuating hormones and increased blood flow to the pelvic area may both play a role. (Estrogen and testosterone are low on day 1 of menstruation but they start to rise by day 3.) Woman’s sex drive tends to peak around ovulation—roughly 10 – 16 days before menstruation starts—but some women also report feeling extra desire during their periods (Health 2020).
7 tips for happy Period sex
So is there a way to conduct Period Sex that makes the whole thing less disgusting. Why yes! I’m being super open-minded and cool about the whole thing and have decided to include some tips I found for those interested:
- Be open and honest with your spouse. Tell them how you feel about having sex during period time and ask how they feel about it. If either of you is hesitant, talk about the reasons behind the discomfort.
- Women if you have a tampon in, FOR GOODNESS SAKE REMOVE IT BEFORE YOU START FOOLING AROUND.
- Spread a dark-coloured towel on the bed to catch any blood leaks as your period can cause a small crime scene on your sheets (Flo Health 2020). Or, have sex in the shower or bath to avoid the mess entirely – (I’m Dyspraxic (a bit uncoordinated) so sex in the shower is probably not a good idea for me, I guarantee you I would slip hah hah! You can try it if you want to though lol).
- Keep a wet wash cloth or wet wipes by the bed to clean up afterwards.
- Use latex condoms, good for family planning and protection against whatever stuff either half of the marriage has brewing in their nether regions lol.
- If your usual sexual position is uncomfortable, try something different. For example, you may want to try lying on your side with your spouse behind you or stay in the missionary position (as a Christian, with knowledge of what missionaries do I am confused as to why is it called that?..) (Healthline 2020)
- Wash your sheets afterwards. They’ll need it…
When it comes to sex during period time, some medical professionals do not recommend it as touching the blood of another person is unhygienic and usually women have no desire to have sexual relations during their period anyway, so that is definitely something to consider.
As far as the Bible goes, basically, this issue must be decided by a husband and wife in the spirit of “mutual consent” as 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 [NLT] describes:
“ Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  I say this as a concession, not as a command.” (Got Questions 2020).
A husband and wife need to study the passages like the one above and seek God in the matter of having sex during the wife’s monthly period (Panell, M. 2020). Especially as Period sex could turn out to be messy and not everyone is comfortable dealing with bloody sheets or getting naked during what tends to be a bloated, crampy, unsexy time of the month (Health 2020). If either the husband or wife is uncomfortable with having sex at this time, this should be respected and the couple should refrain from having sex. Remember, sex is a way of demonstrating your love for each other. Therefore, a couple should only do those things that the husband and wife are both comfortable with (Panell, M. 2020).
Authors concluding thoughts
Although I have been super open-minded in writing this blog post, my personal conclusion as a Christian and a woman who is still in her menstruating years is thus: Blood coming out from the mysterious nether regions is particularly unsettling and to many men and women, a little gross (Kubotu 2020). Considering that sex already involves a wide range of fluids and excretions, including sweat, urine, sperm, and even faecal matter (Flo Health 2020), I don’t really think it would be very nice to add to that. Also, if you do a little research, you find that there are many sound medical reasons for abstaining from intercourse during the time of a woman’s menses (Bible Study 2020).
As the Bible does not give any specific prohibitions that are relevant today. I guess you don’t have to let periods put a halt to your sex life. If you do a little prep work, sex can be just as enjoyable during those period days as it is the rest of the month (Healthline 2020).
However, to be perfectly honest, the whole thing just sounds really unhygienic and I remain unconvinced lol. It’s good to know that no sin is attached to the activity but I just think it’s gross lol. When I’m on my period I feel icky, grumpy, emotional, my tummy hurts and my everything is sore. I would just prefer some chocolate, paracetamol, hugs and junk food over penis… Therefore, this issue goes in “The Things I Can Do But Wont” box. To quote St Paul:
1 Corinthians 10:23 [NLT] “ You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.”
Panell, M. 2020. Sex during her period <https://bible-christian.org/sex-during-her-period/> June 17, 2020
Bible Study. 2020. What does Bible say
about intercourse during menses? <https://www.biblestudy.org/question/is-intercourse-a-sin-during-period.html> 17 June 2020
Bohlin, S. 2020. Why were women unclean during their period in the Old Testament? Also, why were the number of unclean days different for the birth of a male child vs. a female child? Why doesn’t this apply today? <https://probe.org/why-were-women-unclean-during-their-period-in-the-old-testament/> 17 June 2020
Flo Health. 2020. Can You Have Sex on Your Period? Pros and Cons of Period Sex <https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/sex/sexual-health/sex-on-period> 17 June 2020
Got Questions. 2020. Is it acceptable to God for a husband and wife to have sex while the wife is menstruating / having her period? <https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-period.html> 17 June 2020
Health. 2020. 5 Reasons You Should Have Sex On Your Period <https://www.health.com/sex/health-benefits-period-sex> 17 June 2020
Healthline. 2020 Is It Safe to Have Sex During Your Period? Tips, Benefits, and Side Effects <https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/sex-during-periods#side-effects>17 June 2020
Kubota, T. 2020. 8 Things Every Man Should Know About Sex and Her Period <https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/8-things-every-man-should-know-about-sex-and-her-period-20151216/> 17 June 17, 2020
Medical News Today. 2020. Is it safe to have sex during menstruation?<https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321667#is-it-safe> 17 June 2020