Sexual Intimacy & Your Period: Tips for Wives

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin, it was all I hoped it would be
– The Mamas & Papas, “Monday, Monday”

Calendar

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.

Softcup packageAlso, 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.

Sources: Judaism 101 – Kosher Sex, My Jewish Learning – The Laws of Niddah, Jewish Women’s Health – Introduction to the Laws of Niddah, BibleGateway.com, EverydayHealth.com – Sex during Your Period

35 thoughts on “Sexual Intimacy & Your Period: Tips for Wives

  1. Guido's Lady

    We totally have period sex…we even have a special period towel for such occasions – on the chance that we aren’t able to catch the mess in time. The towel is a darker red color, so really, it’s perfect. It just sits clean in hubby’s closet until we need it. I think period sex can gross some husbands out; I also think some women use it as an excuse to not have sex. It was something we discussed before marriage and agreed to give it a try when the time came. We ended up having sex every day (plus some) for the first year and a half of marriage or so – definitely wouldn’t have had that experience if we had declined on the period sex. We both enjoy it just like the rest of the time – it just takes a tiny bit more time of clean-up and prep. I have often wondered why the default position seems to be not having sex on your period. Oh, it also helps soothe any cramps I might have.

    1. ivan

      We also keep a towel handy. It’s a permanent part of our bed side kit. Keeps the bed cover clean too. We also keep a box of wipes next to the bed. Takes care of it for us. Perhaps its just the difference of it, but I enjoy period sex. My wife doesn’t lubricate much on her own, so period sex means not reaching for the lube and just having fun.

    2. ivan

      We also keep a towel and a box of wipes next to the bed. Cleans up the mess just fine.
      Perhaps it’s the novelty of it, but I enjoy period sex. My wife doesn’t naturally lubricate much. So we can avoid reaching for the bottle of lube during her period. 🙂

  2. John Wilder

    A point of clarification about OT laws regarding clean and unclean sex, Hebrews 13:4 releases us from the law stating that “the marriage bed is undefiled in all” meaning anything you decide to do together in your own bedroom is not sin

    1. J

      As you know, I disagree with the interpretation of Hebrews 13:4 meaning that married people can do anything and everything when it comes to sex. The NIV translates the passage as “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…” I think that verse encourages us to keep the marriage bed pure and free from sexual immorality and adultery.

      However, I agree that there is substantial freedom within the context of marriage. And if I thought that the OT ritual laws still applied, I obviously wouldn’t have written the rest of this post.

  3. Judith

    ‘Messy sex’ works for us 😉 I find it relieves period pains and my husband seems to like gthe whole experience.

  4. Anonymous

    Read a book called The Red Tent (fiction) based around biblical/historic concept of separation. Made me think a lot more about how the separation from hubby may make room in our hearts for building relationships with strong women (all my girlfriends and I hit that week in concert). Interesting. If we made a shift to thinking differently of THAT WEEK, we’d be stronger, less irritable,

    1. J

      I have several friends who read THE RED TENT and said that the Jewish customs were interesting. (They didn’t like the book much, though.) Sometimes a shift in focus can be a good thing indeed.

    2. Anonymous

      Have you heard of natural family planning? When avoiding pregnancy, the fertile phase can be a great time to focus on non physical aspects of your relationship with your spouse. Plus, no side effects and a wonderful “honeymoon” phase thereafter!

    1. J

      Thanks, Sis! Most wives do have heavy-flow and light-flow days, and the latter are not a problem.

  5. Mommaof3

    I just wanted to say that I second the experience with the softcup. It keeps the mess contained, but it is sometimes noticeable. I haven’t had a real period in over a year because of the birth control that I’m on, but in the past I’ve used the softcup specifically for sex. I pop it in before bed, then if it is too uncomfortable afterwards I’ll take it out and use a pad or tampon for the rest of the night. 😉 However, I have used them during the day, and I think you have to get it in at just the right angle or something because sometimes I could feel it, and sometimes I couldn’t.

    1. J

      Aha, I should have just asked you about the softcup! Thanks, Mommaof3, for sharing your experience here.

  6. Sara with an H

    My husband has no problems with period sex (which is strange because he’s a bit OCD). Me personally? I’m not a fan. I usually get really bloated, nauseous, horrible cramps, body aches, and despite the blood flow, very dry “down there”. The last thing I want to do is climb in the sack. I’d rather curl up in my Snuggie with a heating pad against my abdomen instead. 🙂 Thankfully, I have a husband who respects how I feel about this and will wait until its over, or at the very least, nearing the end (usually when I’m spotting) before approaching me for sex. Thankfully, my period usually only lasts about 5 days, so its not a horrible waiting period. We’ve tried period sex in the past and while it didn’t affect how everything went, I just found it gross. Kudos to those who have no problem with it, but its just not for us.

    1. J

      Okay, between you and me, Sara (and everyone else reading this), I’m more in your camp. I usually just felt really bad and didn’t want to be touched, spoken to, or even approached too quickly. LOL. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Anonymous

    Nice information with the softcups – I haven’t heard of those in Europe.

    But back to my previous comment in “What sex is?” – how do you know if you are obssessed of make sex an idol?

    I mean, come on, can’t you refrain for 5- 6 days of no sex a month?

    Do you really have raging hormones that drive you on the walls if you don’t have sex daily?

    How did such a person deal with no sex at all before marriage? Did she/he engage frequently in masturbation and pornography before marriage, even if still technically virgin?

    If as a virgin unmarried person can deal with “no sex at all” for years, until marriage, how come that after marriage he cannot refrain for 5-6 days monthly?

    The mentality “after marriage, anything is possible” including no refraining of sex at all is wrong. As well as the thinking “since children are a blessing, we must have the maximum of them – tens and dozens”.

    So, why is it such a problem to not have sexual activity (including oral sex or manual stimulation) for a few days a month?

    1. J

      There’s a lot here! I’ll try to take your questions one at a time and give a quick response.

      Can’t you refrain 5-6 days? I bet most people can refrain. Some simply don’t want to because they enjoy sex with their spouse.

      Do you have raging hormones? Oddly enough, some women experience a surge in libido at that time of the month. So apparently, some women do have raging hormones during their period.

      How did such a person deal before marriage? I don’t know anyone else’s story, but I personally find it very different to go without for long periods of time when you don’t have someone you love right there with you every day. In marriage, you have the availability of a spouse, the desire for that spouse, and the blessing of God for intimacy with that spouse.

      Mentality of “after marriage, anything is possible.” I know some in Christian circles who say that you can never say no to sexual intimacy. That has not been my personal stance as I believe health reasons qualify as a reasonable yield sign (See Should You Refuse? http://hotholyhumorous.blogspot.com/2011/06/should-you-refuse-wanda-vs-nina-contd.html). As I pointed out here, “You can skip a meal if you’re well-fed the rest of the time.” But I’m not going to tell someone else to skip a meal unless I find a biblical reason to do so.

      As to the kids thing, that’s so much bigger an issue than I want to deal with here. And not really my area.

      Why is it such a problem to not have sexual activity for a few days a month? Whether I have the same issue as the commenter wh wrote the question, a couple of things were interesting to me about it. She said that she wanted to keep him sexually satisfied and, when trying to figure out how to scratch her own itch, she mentioned stimulating one another. That didn’t sound to me like someone who was totally focused on her own climax, but a wife who wanted to engage sexually with her husband even when her body was an obstacle. I think sex becomes an idol when we’re all about satisfying ourselves, the next big thrill, or we ignore the relationship and the One who created it. From my sidelines where I sit, it seemed to me this couple was mutually focused. I choose to believe that most people who come to my blog can approach marital intimacy that way as well.

      I definitely appreciate your questions and comments. We do need to ask ourselves from time to time what role sexuality should play in our lives and our marriages. It shouldn’t be everything, but it is certainly something.

    2. Anonymous

      Thanks for your answer – it is balanced.

      Althougb the arguement between the difference as single and as married is kind of unexplained. Sure, there is a big difference: now you do have a spouse who is availble to intimacy. But how does this really change things? If you don’t have a spouse, you fight _ and succeed without sin – with all intimacy desires and sexual instincts. So..you manage to do this, even if you do have raging hormones sometimes or most of the time.

      If you do have a loving spouse who is available, why would you take EVERY POSSIBLE opportunity to engage in sexual activity? Since you know you can handle things (from your pre-marriage experience) and you know the basis of your intimacy is not the sexual one, why would it be such a problem to refrain from sex some time, let-s say during your period?

      As for the idol, the idol isn’t just selfish. There is a lot of motivation and heart search to really find it. MAybe some spouse finds an idol in his heart if he thinks that he’s so great at satysfying sexually his spouse, that he’s the only one who can do it (true, if they are married) etc. And I would say that even this exagerate engagement in sex – daily or really very ofteh – has no medical / pshycological explanation except not knowing how to deal biblically with hormones and passions and personal desires denied.

      Let’s think some more on this….

    3. J

      I do think on this stuff…quite often indeed. I am passionate about how passion affects marriages and what God said about it. My answer to the EVERY POSSIBLE opportunity question is more of a “Why wouldn’t you?” As in, why wouldn’t you engage in whatever intimate activites you can find the time and wherewithal to do with your spouse, whether they are spiritual, emotional, recreational, or sexual? Sure, for some people, it’s raging hormones. But I know a lot of married couples for whom it is a connection thing. I don’t see sexuality as merely an act of physicality or personal desires apart from the rest of intimacy, and I believe that view is supported in scripture. Thanks for your comments.

    4. Anonymous

      Your answer has a flaw: quantity and frequency are not related to connection or intimacy. If so, we would need to connect with God in material ways EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY we have. And we don’t do it. And we don’t lose intimacy even if we dont spend every single day in fasting praying studying the Word in a deep relational way.

      As I said, simply because you are available and allowed to have a blessing, it doesn’t follow you have to grab every single opportunity. The analogy was with kids – they are a blessing, but you are not called to have as many of them as you can possibly have. You are allowed to eat some cakes, but you don’t do it every single opportunity you have.

      Why not have sex every chance you get / daily? Because there needs to be a BALANCE in everything in life. And the focus should be on the things that God says we should focus, and from this perspective the balance comes. Selfishness and idolatry are so subtle – you can even give to others with the wrong selfish proud motives (you can make donations out of personal esteem, and you can please your spouse sexually out of your own pride and self-image and feeling good about yourself etc).

      Yes, sexuality is complex, and engages all levels of spiritual, relational, emotional, physical. The key issue is to give it the place God gives it and not make it an idol, or the focus of married life or the evidence of our sacrificial love towards our spouse.

      Maybe still more to think about…….or not.

    5. Anonymous

      J, I would mention also that sex holds differently for many people. For many men it is how we feel loved. If you are single and unmarried, you can get by not feeling loved in that way. The same applies to many wives, when they were single they didn’t need to hear “I love you” everyday or have meaningful affirming conversations with someone, but now that they are married, many wives would be very upset if their spouse didn’t affirm them for a week at a time (or just didn’t speak to them, ask the wives of shift workers).

      A week is not impossible to get through, but for me if you were to compare married life to being single is to undermine and change everything I have embraced as a husband. You just can’t unfry the egg.

    6. J

      My hubby liked that last comment: “You just can’t unfry the egg.” There may be comparisons of marriage to scrambled eggs in our future. Great stuff!

      As to the 1st (or 2nd?) Anon, we disagree. I also never said that married couples must engage daily. Perhaps we’re talking matters of degree here. I’m reminded of George Carlin’s bit about how everyone driving faster than you is a maniac and everyone driving slower than you is an idiot. 🙂 Inasmuch as possible, marriages should have both quantity and quality sexual intimacy, however that is measured for each individual marriage. How much is up to the couple to decide between themselves and before God.

  8. Anonymous

    I have been using soft cups for the last 2 months and my findings are about the same as yours. They are noticeable but not uncomfortable or hindering. Hubby is ok with them, as far as being so obsessed with sex that you can’t go a whole week without, I just want to say those of us who do engage in activity during that time are not all doing it every day. Usually once or twice during that week just helps us stay connected, Very grateful for soft cups 🙂

  9. Anonymous

    I found using tampons very interesting – I noticed that from day 2 or 3, after removing tampons the flow is usually non-exixtant for some time, even up to several hours. So, my normal period, without tampons, lasts up to 7 days, 3 first days heavy flow, then gradually going down. When using tampons, I use them, say, day and night for the first 2 days, then night 2 is basically clean, the flow returns some time during day 3, slower, so if I use 1 mini tampon in the afternoon, it makes for another clean night. The last 3 days of period the flow is minute, so I only use pads, but if I know we may be making love in the evening, I ususaly use 1 small tampon in the afternoon – seems to suck up all the blood beforehand :).

    1. J

      It’s on my NO list. See http://hotholyhumorous.blogspot.com/2011/06/uh-no.html.

      One of the restrictions, I believe, is no sexual activity that causes injury to your partner. Anal sex has a high potential for injury. There are also Bible verses which make me question its advisability from God’s standpoint.

      Some Christian experts disagree with me. For any couple who is considering this practice, I would suggest thoroughly researching it. My understanding is also that some husbands suggest anal sex because the opening is tighter and provides more pressure on the penis; if that is the issue, there are ways to provide greater pressure with vaginal penetration and anal sex isn’t necessary.

  10. Kliphton Miller

    I grew up with all girl cousins, and had a few frisky women in my life time. And all of them said, if you take a bath during your cycle, the flo will stop for 30 minutes, so if your man lasts longer than that, then it will get messy. Other than that, get busy!

  11. Anonymous

    Softcups work great for us! I just put one in before bed or when we start feeling frisky. I don’t feel it and my guy says sometimes he does but it doesn’t affect his enjoyment. I only recently discovered this product and am so thankful! During my period, especially after the first day or 2, I am easily aroused which, in turn, is such a huge turn on for him. We were both pretty excited (ha! no pun intended) to find that they actually work.

  12. MrsS

    Haha, this is where early menopause is a blessing! I’m under fifty, in menopause, and I can tell you it’s better than ever!

  13. Amy lopez

    married sex is good anytime. And i definitely believe women use their periods like headaches to not engage in intimacy (while killing the deepest, best part of marriage)…

  14. Anonymous

    Having period sex is just gross and painful too. I don’t see where is the problem with having clean sex with a clean vagina. there are a lot of interesting positions. It doesn’t have to be bloody and gross 🙂

  15. Anonymous

    I would also like to make a comment, referring to intimacy. While I agree that the quantity of sexual intimacy depends on the couple, as each couple is different, I disagree where one Anon said:
    “If so, we would need to connect with God in material ways EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY we have. And we don’t do it. And we don’t lose intimacy even if we dont spend every single day in fasting praying studying the Word in a deep relational way.”
    You’re right, we don’t take every single opportunity we have… but is that because we shouldn’t or because we choose not to? Of course, we should look forward to spending time with God, and we should look forward to every opportunity we have to spend time with him. He should be a part of everything we do, meaning that he is with us every minute of the day. And while I know some days are busy in this earthly life, and we will not lose our relationship with God by going a day or two without a devotion, we do lose intimacy with God when we go for periods of time without praying or spending time in His word. We stay intimate with someone, whether God or a human relationship, by regularly spending time with them and sharing ourselves with them.

Comments are closed.