Q&A: Sex During Menstruation

We received a question from a reader asking about our position on God’s laws regarding having sex during menstruation. The reference for this law can be found in Leviticus 15.

As a bit of a disclaimer I want to say that the points I make here are not meant to persuade anyone from a conviction you have about this issue. If God has convicted you to abstain during menstruation, then you should.

Here are some of the things to consider as you discern how much, if any, physical intimacy you will have during your period.

First, the main issue to me is that there is a separation between laws that the Lord gave us for health reasons and laws he gave us for morality. Restrictions He gave for the purposes of health ought to be followed if you feel convicted about them, but we are not under the law anymore. God said that we should not call anything unclean that he has said is clean and when Christ died for us, all our uncleanliness was removed from us. By way of an example, my husband follows a lot of the food laws because after researching it we learned a lot about why God established those laws, but his conviction to avoid pork and shellfish is not connected to a moral conviction. It is because he learned more about how to live a healthier way. In our research about these health laws we also learned that when a woman is menstruating, sex increases the chance for infections. This would logically be the reason why God told the people to abstain during a woman’s period. As the CN Spice Girls were discussing this question, Sugar and Spice was telling us that she was also taught in her Human Sexuality course in college that it is best to abstain during menstruation. So if you are striving for ultimate health there are legitimate reasons to avoid intercourse during your period.

Having said that, if you were to authentically follow this law as it is written, along with other things, you would need to sleep in a separate bed as your husband, not touch in any way, and if your husband were to come in contact with any belongs that you also touched during your period he would need to be cleansed and would be “unclean” until the end of the day. Remember that they didn’t have the sanitary products that we have now. When they were bleeding there weren’t a lot of options for containing the blood. When God says that she will be “unclean” at this time, he really meant it. No toilets, no tampons, no pantie liners, no diva cups. She really was unclean. Physically, not spiritually. Which is the difference between a health law and a moral law.

The belief that this law is saying that women become spiritually unclean during their period has causes us to think that having a period is something to be ashamed of. Our period is a normal and necessary function that God designed our bodies to go through in order for His creation to continue to advance. It doesn’t make us spiritually unclean. If we believe that having our period requires by law that we not have genital contact, we need to follow the whole law which involves a lot more. I don’t want to put that burden on anyone. I do not see any reason to stop pursuing intimacy during the weeks that the Old Testiment says a woman is “unclean.”

For some women, having an orgasm can really help with menstrual cramps and discomfort. If you do not wish to have intercourse there are some outercourse alternatives which will allow you to have an orgasm and these are also ways for you to bless your husband with an orgasm when you can’t accommodate intercourse because it is simply to uncomfortable.

The bottom line is that if you are comfortable and especially if an orgasm helps relieve pain, I am not opposed to women having some form of sex during their period. I do not see it as a moral sin, but please feel free to discuss this further in the comment section.

18 Comments

  1. Great article! I totally agree with your interpretation of the law regarding menstruation.

    We also have chosen to follow a lot of what Scripture has to say regarding food. It is amazing how true scientific research consistently confirms what God has said all along. Imagine that? =)

  2. My husband and I have tried this probably about 3 times. It wasnt a yucky experience, however it restricted our positions to the shower and floor only. It was a great experience for both of us and we totally enjoyed it. We dont practice it alot though. But i really dont see anything wrong/immoral with having sex during the menses. I love the fact that my husband and i can enjoy each other even while I am having my period.

  3. My husband always gets shower sex, and lots of oral when i’m on my period. I always tell him he’s a lucky man…

  4. I’m on The Pill, so my cycle is significantly much lighter than the times prior to using The Pill. Even then, if we’re both in the mood, I make sure hubby uses a condom. No disappointments :).

  5. We’ve done it lots of times (I use sea sponge tampons, which leave absolutely no mess). However, I’ve been thinking more about this and especially Leviticus 20:18, which you don’t mention here- “If a man lies with a woman during her monthly period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them must be cut off from their people.” This is in a list of other sexual abominations, mostly punishable by death (ie sex with an animal, homosexual sex, adultery etc.). In the ESV Reformation Study Bible the note on Lev. 15 says “That perfectly natural processes like sexual intercourse or menstruation should make someone unclean (ie, unfit to worship) is surprising. But all these cases involve the loss of bodily fluids, and any loss of “life fluid” suggested death and was incompatible with the presence of God, who is perfect life.”

    Considering semen and menstrual blood both contain the ingredients of human life, I think this is much more than a cleanliness regulation. Maybe I’m more sensitive about this after having a miscarriage. In the days before at-home pregnancy tests it would be impossible to know if you were having a regular period or an early miscarriage… any menstrual blood COULD be literally “life blood”. I’ve been pretty obsessive about taking a pregnancy test the day before every period since my miscarriage, because this is always on my mind now… and knowing unborn children are precious to God, I’m sure it’s on his mind too.

    KJV translates Genesis 3:16 as “I will greatly increase thy sorrow and thy conception.” I have to wonder… is the monthly period a consequence of the Fall? I have a friend who has a condition where she only ovulates once a year. What I wouldn’t give for such an affliction! She has three beautiful children and never has to worry about birth control, Irish twins, or wondering if her period is actually a miscarriage. In the days before Noah, when people were living 900 years, a woman could probably ovulate once every 2-3 years and have several hundred children, without ever worrying about having them too close, or finding an effective non-abortive birth control method, or being ceremonially unclean. I have never heard anyone talk about this before, but I really wonder about it!

    So anyway… I would love to hear y’alls thoughts on Leviticus 20. I still think in light of the Cross (an the invention of pregnancy tests) that this might be ok… but it seems more serious than just a health issue.

  6. Wow, you gals are candid and I love it. This information brought forth healing in my marriage, particularly on my husband’s part. The devil is such a liar. Thanks for the article as well as the individual comments; they confirm what my Spirit was sharing with him (my husband) all along.

  7. I have irregular cycles and they’re often extra long and then I will skip months at random. I’ve been in consult with my doctor, but she says just to try having sex anyway. My husband and I talked before marriage about not having sex while I’m on my period simply for the fact that it weirds us both out and we’ve stuck to it. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with it; it’s just not for us.

    My husband is respectful and patient with me, but often he is extremely desirous of me and I’m just “not in the mood.” Don’t get me wrong. I love and desire my husband and he knows this and I tell him constantly, but while my emotions and spirit want to connect with him, my body just won’t kick start. The cycle kind of kills it for me. After a couple times of me not responding, I find he tends to want to spend more time doing stuff on his own and he’s less intimate with me.

    Do you have any suggestions for sexual intimacy or romance (without intercourse) while on my period? I feel like we lack the closeness we typically have when I’m “home free, and I don’t want our sex life or our intimacy to fall flat or come to a standstill once a month. Can it still be spicy without the sex?

  8. wherethestarsfall, my H gets lots of oral when I am on my period. There are good links on this site that will help you get started and feel comfortable if you aren’t yet there. Also there are links here to help you improve your hand job skills. Last winter I had a cold sore at the same time I was on my period so spent a few nights using new hand job techniques on my H. It was actually kind of fun though I haven’t used them since.

  9. I agree that oral and manual stimulation for him are great when you are having your period. Also shower sex, if your main concern is messiness. You can certainly sometimes just have physical closeness with him while you’re on your period, but he’s going to want some sexual release. If you aren’t feeling “in the mood,” you may just have to decide that this is something you are going to do for him. (Sometimes after you “decide,” you find yourself “in the mood!”)

  10. I do sometimes find if he works me up, with certain types of foreplay, I’ll be turned on enough to do something. I do give him manual. Oral is not for us either. Our shower happens to be tiny in our current apartment… so we’ve never tried that. Although for our anniversary, we’re wanting to go away on a trip and we’ve been looking into hotels with Jacuzzi tubs in the suite or extra large showers. ;o) Water is a turn on for us both… the in the shower thing may just work for us.

  11. We lived for a while with a stall shower, and it made some positions trickier, but actually made standing up easier because there were more surfaces to lean against. Totally worth trying!

  12. Sorry if I am misinterpreting you but this “if he works me up, with certain types of foreplay, I’ll be turned on enough to do something.” sounds like you won’t do things for him unless he has done things for you first?

    Did you mean that? If so I hope that spending time on CN will show you how much fun it is to stop keeping score but instead keep trying to surprise and bless your husband sexually.

    If that isn’t what you meant please disregard this whole message. :)

  13. Oh no, that’s not what I meant. I often go out of my way to please him even when I’m “not in the mood.” If I really don’t feel I can do it or it becomes painful or uncomfortable, my husband understands and he’s respectful and waits for me. I don’t ever try to withhold sex from him or sexual pleasure just because he isn’t “doing it for me.” I meant certain types of foreplay work best for me when I’m tired or I’m having trouble getting started, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try.

  14. My husband and I do a little thing we like to call “rocking.” It begins with kissing and fondling followed by stripping down to our underwear (the reason why we stay with this is 1) cuz I’m on my period, and 2) it’s softer on him). I’ll give him manual stimulation and gently brush my fingers over his inner thigh while he massages my body. He particularly enjoys it when I make noises too. ;) Then I climb over him, positioning as if I were going to have intercourse with me on top and then I rock back and forth over him. He likes it best when I’m sitting up fully so he can get the nice visual of me, but I prefer it when I’m leaning over him so we can kiss or I moan softly in his ear so we alternate between the two. Most of the time, we can both climax… not in the same way, but it does feel great. This does get a little messy and we always have to shower and change afterwards, but prolonging it by showering together makes it even more intimate.

  15. Hanna :) sorry but I just created a sound track in my head for you that includes Keep on a Rockin me Baby and Rock Me Gently hahahaha

  16. Or “Rock Me, Baby” by BB King ;).

  17. Yep, I’ve had that song stuck in my head too. hahaha.

  18. Just over 3 years ago, I had an endometrial ablation, which basically cauterizes the insides of the uterus, and I don’t have periods any more. This was NECESSARY (I was 50, so no more babies,anyway) due to my very heavy bleeding & clots during my period. Pre-ablation, I can’t tell you how many trips/vacations we had almost ruined because my period started early. TOO many!

    BUT, while dealing with my heavy flow, I discovered an alternative to tampons & pads, called “Instead.” It’s a cup that fits over one’s cervix, holding all the flow until one empties it into the toilet. No interference with intimacy, other than the ick factor I always have. Everything was neat & clean, so to speak, and the research I’ve read indicates that having an orgasm actually HELPS reduce cramping. It did for me.

    I’ve never taken the Leviticus passages as applicable to us (Christians), as the New Testament clearly states in several places that Jesus’ death on the cross removed us from having to adhere to Levitical law. So it was more the “ick factor” for me.

    The product is still available – it’s called Softcup, and It saved several anniversary or birthday – expensive – trips.


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