Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin, it was all I hoped it would be
– The Mamas & Papas, “Monday, Monday”
Welcome back to Monday and Q&A time! Today’s question involves periods and sex. What are a hubby and wife to do when Aunt Flo overstays her welcome? Here’s what the commenter wrote:
I just found this post and hope it’s not too late to post a question! What do you do when you have your period??? I get that there are pretty easy ways to keep your husband sexually satisfied when you can’t have intercourse, but what about yourself? I find myself getting pretty sex crazed at the end of my week long period (totally sucks) and my husband is itching for it as well. Is there a way to have sex during your period? Should we just manually stimulate each other during that week? Help!
Got an itch you can’t scratch, huh? Well, here are your options.
Don’t have sex. Perhaps the saying should be “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the body grow friskier.” There are certainly reasons in the course of our lifetime when intercourse is simply off the table — recovery from childbirth or a surgery, physical distance (e.g., military spouses), or severe illness. Can couples weather those times of famine? Sure. You can skip a meal if you’re well-fed the rest of the time.
What to do when you can’t do IT? Focus on the relationship and other forms of touch. Use this time to chat, cuddle, and kiss. Anticipate and remember your times of intimacy. Make out like horny teenagers. Discuss your dreams and desires. Try out Stupendous Marriage’s A Penny for Your Thoughts (99 Questions to Ask Your Husband/Wife). See a movie. Visit a museum. Attend a sporting event. Just find any activity that keeps you focused on each other and looking forward to the time you can be physically intimate again.
Engage in sexual activity, but not intercourse. Sex is the whole kit-and-caboodle. It involves more than simply penetration. Rather, it is the joining of two bodies in physically intimate connection. As part of that uniting, you might use your time of the month to focus on fellating your husband (aka “blow job”) or giving him a hand job. He could also digitally stimulate you to climax. While intercourse is certainly the main event, the center ring of the circus, the Big Kahuna, it’s certainly possible to revel in the other activities that comprise a pleasurable sex life with your mate. You could even use this time to learn more about one another’s bodies. Take it slower and discover more about where you each like to be touched.
Go ahead and have messy sex. During a woman’s period, her cervix is open for blood flow. Thus, it is also true that her risk of getting and transmitting bacteria or STDs is increased. That is the health reason to abstain during this time. Otherwise, there is no health reason to keep from having intercourse during a woman’s period. If you consider that transmission risk low, you can still engage. In fact, some wives are more easily aroused during menses so this may appeal to you.
In that case, grab a towel and some wet wipes. Make sure you find a place that you aren’t worried about blood stains. Or try the shower, since you can immediately wash off any discharge. (Be careful in the shower, though. Install non-slip appliqués or a bath mat to prevent injury.)
Find ways to minimize the mess and have intercourse. There are a few ways to keep the flow from interfering with intercourse.
The husband can wear a condom. The wife will still have her menstrual flow, but there will be a layer of latex to keep his penis from making direct contact with it. Of course, other parts of his body may touch the flow, so keep those wet wipes or a hand towel nearby.
I have previously spoken about my favorite form of birth control (well, except for the vasectomy), which was the diaphragm. If a wife chooses a diaphragm for contraception, her doctor will take measurements of her cervix and order the correct sized dome-shaped cup. For contraceptive purposes, the diaphragm is usually paired with a spermicide to block the entry of sperm. However, the diaphragm can also hold menstrual flow inside. Thus, it is an option for a wife to wear a diaphragm and still engage in sexual intercourse with her husband.
Also, there is a fairly new product called Softcups. They are a replacement for tampons and are used to catch the menstrual flow in a flexible cup which can then be disposed. Because of their deep placement, a couple can still engage in intercourse while a woman is wearing a Softcup.
Okay, ladies. Here is where I went above-and-beyond for you all! Even though I do not require period protection anymore (see No More Period, Period), I slipped one in to see how easy it is to use and what effect it would have on our lovemaking. While my husband knew that I was going to be doing this “research,” he did not know when, and I did not inform him in advance.
So what were the results? The Softcup was easy to install, shall we say. However, it is a one-size-fits-all product, and I was definitely aware of it in a way that I wasn’t when I wore my diaphragm. I was not, however, aware of its presence during intercourse (because my hubby’s that good. Just kidding. Well, he is, but…). Meanwhile, my husband was aware of its presence during sex and asked about it afterward. He claims that having the Softcup there made sex feel different but didn’t alter his enjoyment of it at all.
Conclusion: I think Softcups are an option you could try. Please note that Softcups are NOT a form of birth control and do nothing to prevent sperm from crossing the finish line.
Now a quick note on the biblical side of this conversation. In the Old Testament, a wife was not considered “clean” for seven days of her period. “When a woman has a discharge, and the discharge in her body is blood, she shall be in her menstrual impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. And everything on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean. Everything also on which she sits shall be unclean. And whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. And whoever touches anything on which she sits shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening. Whether it is the bed or anything on which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening. And if any man lies with her and her menstrual impurity comes upon him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean” (Leviticus 15:19-24). That’s a lot of “unclean” there. In Jewish practice, this period of sexual separation is called the niddah and actually lasts for seven days after the period — about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.
Why did God forbid sexual intercourse during a woman’s period? From my research, it appears that the practice of not having sex during the time around a wife’s period increases the likelihood of fertility later. It also helps to prevent vaginal infections (there were no antibiotics back then). Additionally, those two weeks could be used to work on the non-sexual relationship between a married couple.
So should Christians today place restrictions on when they can have sex according to a woman’s menses? I believe this is a personal choice a couple must make after studying the topic, talking about their own desires and feelings in this regard, and praying about the matter. I do not believe that Christians are bound by the ritual practices of Old Testament Judaism (just look at the verse before this passage, Leviticus 15:18), even though we are bound to honor the principles God laid out throughout the Bible because the Lord himself does not change (Malachi 3:6; see also 1 Samuel 15:29, James 1:17, Psalm 102: 25-27, and Hebrews 13:8).
Whenever you choose to engage in sexual intimacy, it should be in honor of God who created it, in the right context of marriage, to the pleasure of both spouses, and in a way that fosters connection and closeness.