Q&A with J: Sex During That Time of the Month?

Here’s today’s question from a Hot, Holy & Humorous reader, served up short and sweet:

Do you (can you) make love during that time of the month?  And if yes, how do you handle it?

Do I? No. But, to be fair, I had horrible periods for years, and now I don’t. So my time of the month was like trying to make love with a mammoth gorilla wedged between you and your husband, and now it’s nonexistent so I never think about it anymore.

More importantly is the question Can you? Because things change from person to person, marriage to marriage, but what’s reasonable and good is the bigger issue.

Q&A with J: Sex During That Time of the Month

The short answer is yes, you can.

Note that a woman’s cervix is open for blood flow during her period, so her risk of getting and transmitting bacteria or STDs is increased. But if you deem the risk low or nonexistent, it’s completely possible to have sex during your period — as long as you both want to make love and you’re willing to (a) deal with the mess or (b) introduce ways to stop it from getting messy.

Some wives simply don’t feel good enough to engage in sexual intercourse, though, because they are in pain or discomfort to a degree that wouldn’t allow sex to be enjoyable. That doesn’t mean they must avoid all sexual activity. After all, this could be a perfect time to bless your husband with “blow job” or hand job. But vaginal penetration could be a no-go for a few days while menstruation runs its course.

Then again, other wives are very interested in making love with hubby, except they have this stuff to do something about and they don’t know what to do about it. Your choices then are:

  • Let sex be messy. Put a towel beneath you two during sex and have some wet wipes or washcloths readily available for clean-up afterward.
  • Have him wear a condom. Sex is still messy this way, but your blood flow will not be in direct contact with him.
  • Introduce a barrier method. You can keep your menstrual flow from escaping and thus keep your vagina clear by using a diaphragm, cervical cup, or Softcup. (Read more about my experience with a Softcup here.)
  • Wait until your flow decreases. Usually, the heaviest flow happens at the beginning of a period, but toward the end it’s trickled off to be not much of an obstacle if you want to have intercourse. You might find that very little flow is transferred late in your period.
  • Do all the other stuff and wait to have intercourse after “Aunt Flo” leaves. Sexual intimacy in marriage encompasses the whole shebang, so you could engage in foreplay and hold off on the feature presentation until your flow is finished.

So you can have sex during your period, but I haven’t gotten to a very important aspect: Should you?

I’m sure a few out there are already saying to themselves: But what about Leviticus 18:19? That verse says, “Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.” There is also Leviticus 20:18: “If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.” Cut off? That seems rather extreme.

Ezekiel 18 also includes this description: “Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right. He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife or have sexual relations with a woman during her period.” So idolatry, adultery, and abstaining from sex during her period on the same footing? This verse would indicate so.

Do I believe we are bound by those restrictions today? No, I don’t.

Levitical commands with a moral imperative are restated and reinforced in the New Testament. Thus, idolatry and adultery both receive condemnation in the Old and New Testaments (Exodus 20:3-6, 1 John 5:21; Exodus 20:14, Mark 7:21-23). Statutes that involved cleansing appear to be motivated by ceremonial and health concerns. In a less hygienic society (aka Old Testament times), it would be a far worse idea to have sexual intercourse during a woman’s period as it could put her health at serious risk. But such commands are not reiterated in the new covenant.

Still, I think you should be careful. Make sure you’re both on board, that you have no health concerns to address, and that you treat your bodies with honor.

For more on this topic, check out Sexual Intimacy & Your Period: Tips for Wives.

16 thoughts on “Q&A with J: Sex During That Time of the Month?

  1. Lynn

    This was never an issue with me as I didn’t marry until after I finished with periods, but honestly – didn’t they always tell us you ‘only lose a teaspoon of blood’ – give me a break! But I wanted to comment on Leviticus. Remember God’s promise to Abraham about his descendents. Many of the hygenic laws and almost all of the sexual prohibitions have to do with maintaining a very fertile population. Don’t eat pork, it will make you sick (and you won’t be healthy enough to leave lots of descendents for Abraham). If you have a spot, see the priest (so you don’t spread illness through the camp and reduce the descendents). Don’t have sex with your wife while she’s menstruating (she’s not fertile).

    We are not the Hebrews, and are only spiritually descendents of Abraham. These laws don’t apply to us.

    1. telyni

      It might only be a teaspoon of actual blood, but it’s a lot more volume than that of other things, at least for me. One teaspoon wouldn’t require a dozen pads/tampons a month.

      We don’t do anything during my period, but I need to work on being more intimate in other ways. It’s hard when he doesn’t want anything except intercourse though. Maybe self-play will be an option at some point. He wouldn’t have to touch me, but he could enjoy the show.

      Ezekiel 18 is an interesting place to quote. If it were only Leviticus, it’d be easier to say it’s only a ceremonial law, but when it’s repeated later and put in parallel with idolatry and adultery, which are both still very much unacceptable, that makes me more concerned, personally.

      Also, pork is still a bad idea. Even if you don’t care about being fertile, why would you want to invite that kind of sickness into your body?

  2. Sarah

    I know this is a personal preference thing, but for me, it’s a great big “ewwwwww!” It’s funny too because my husband is a bit of a germaphobe but has no issues with sex on your period. Me, on the other hand, I think it’s gross. My periods are usually very heavy and painful and the last thing I want is ANYONE touching ANYTHING down there. Not to mention I get very moody and grumpy during that time of the month and would probably get annoyed with my husband if things didn’t finish fast enough 🙂 It’s to the point where when I first start my period I tell my husband and I actually apologize for anything I may say or do out of character because of it. I dunno if it helps or not, but at least he knows it’s not me…entirely. Plus, having to wait a week makes sex even more fun afterwards 🙂

  3. Amy

    I feel that if a couple are both on board with sex during the wife’s period then it’s fine. I actually find myself to be more in the mood during that time because orgasm helps with cramps and just overall I feel more interested. BUT hubby does not like to have sex during my period, at least not the heaviest flow as you mentioned. I respect that and did ask him one time about it and he explained that for him it does not feel as good during the time my flow is heavy…it feels different to him and I know the mess is a turn off too although he didn’t say that.

  4. happywife

    I discovered the soft cup a year or two ago and have never looked back. I originally tried it for the purpose of being able to have sex during my period, which has been great, but beyond that, it’s makes that time of the month so much easier all around. I’ll never use another tampon.
    As far as sex goes, I don’t notice it at all, but my husband does. Since I’m anonymous, I’ll be direct. He feels the ring of the cup against the tip of his penis while he’s thrusting. It does start to feel a little uncomfortable for him, but he survives, lol. I guess of he really doesn’t like it, he could just take care of me, lololol. I crack myself up! But yes, it does make sex completely possible, and not as messy, during that time. Aside from being messy, my husband says that sex while I’m bleeding burns. Gosh, is he a sensitive one or what? ! Good thing he doesn’t have to birth babies or feed them 😀

  5. marriedheat

    My wife and I had plenty of “period” sex during her fertile years. We used a towel and usually showered together afterwards. She was more interested in intercourse than orally satisfying me. I didn’t mind the mess. [The] mess was no biggie to us. It was simply a different color.

    One time, she forgot to take her tampon out. We went at it for a good 45 minutes. I was so sensitive I could hardly move. It was afterwards that she was cleaning up, found the string, and let me know. The “sensitivity” issue turned into a very sore penis for about 3 days… OUCH! Still fun though. 🙂

  6. HisRose

    It is true sex can be a little messy on your period, and along with that, maybe a little embarrassing. However, my desire for my husband is very high, and sometimes especially so during that week! At first it was a little uncomfortable/awkward (I’ve only been married a year) and I felt like it must be gross/disgusting to hubby. But our intimacy is more important to both of us, I think, than the inconvenience of using a towel and showering off afterward. My sweet man has never said or done anything to make me feel like he enjoys making love to me any less because I’m on my period, and in fact has told me he feels like I’m very excited then and that it’s easier to make me climax.

    That said, I’m in so much pain on the first day of my period that I’ve often spent parts of it lying on the bathroom floor and the rest in bed on a heating pad. So that day is out. Also deep thrusting early in the week tends to hurt, and sometimes having an orgasm or just having had sex will cause heavier flow for a while and may hurt some. But for me it’s worth it! It may not be for you. And I agree that using a condom makes cleanup easier, and may make hubby feel like it’s less “dirty”? I’m not sure how my sweetheart would feel about “doing it” without one.

    If you and your hubby are both agreeable, try it, maybe later in your week when you’re not in as much pain or bleeding as heavily. No one’s experience will be exactly the same as yours, so the only way to know if you would enjoy it is to try it for yourself 🙂

  7. Jules

    I’ve always had sex on my period. Not having sex on my period has only happened a few times over the course of my life. It’s never bothered me. Yeah, it’s a little messy but who cares. Towels are always handy during it and afterwards. I’ve been blessed with a high sex drive and usually, I’m more in the mood during my period. My husband can find my spot easier during that time of the month. While the quality of my own orgasm may be less on my period because AF adds more lubrication than usual, so I don’t always feel when my husband finishes. My husband has never had a problem with period sex either. If we’re in the mood, we go for it. I just make sure that I go to the bathroom before he enters me so I can take my tampon out as well. Some months my flow is heavier, so we may not do it as much as the other months. It depends how evil AF wants to be…… 😛

  8. Feeling Hopeful

    We have had sex while I was on my period before, but both prefer to wait it out. He refused me for years, and we are still in the healing process. So I’m not ready to make it all about him when I can’t partake. However, we just recently started having me give him a blowjob while using a vibrator at the same time. This has worked very well for us! It usually takes me a lot less time to reach orgasm this way. I tend to get very aroused by having the vibrator coupled with the blow job. In fact, we’ve even started incorporating this as part of our foreplay because it works so well for my orgasm.

  9. Anonyman

    I really wish someone had talked about this with us before or early on in our marriage (or anything about sex for that matter). During our first month of marriage my wife told me we couldn’t have sex during her period (she felt it was neither physically nor morally appropriate). With no one else telling me anything different and not even knowing Christian books on sex existed I just assumed that was normal. In fact, we would wait until she had no evidence at all of spotting until we would resume sex…which was often a full 6 or 7 days. We knew no better. We also had the (erroneous) impression that sex=intercourse so intercourse was the entire menu, therefore, when my wife was on her period we did nothing. We were married around 12 years before I stumbled across a site like this that talked about period sex and I felt like a fool. All those years we thought it was inappropriate and many (if not the majority of) married couples were continuing to have fun during that time, or at least were cognizant that period sex was an option whether or not they chose to pursue it.

    To this day I’ve never heard sex talked about in church or in a Bible study. We even attended a four-day marriage retreat last year where sex was not discussed. Thanks for being willing to discuss this issues openly and in a godly manner.

    1. J Post author

      I do not think you’re a fool, nor are you abnormal. Plenty of couples refrain during that time of the month. However, even if your wife is uncomfortable with intercourse during her period, it would be nice to have other options. : )

      (And I never understand why sex isn’t discussed in marriage classes or retreats. It’s like we’re all still in junior high health class, too afraid to say the word “sex.” I see no such timidity about this subject in the Word of God.)

  10. Julia

    I love so much of what you have to say J; you have been such a wonderful source of intimacy counsel and I am very grateful for you. But I do have a comment to make: you are very clearly against anal sex in marriage. If there were a verse in scripture about not having anal sex, wouldn’t you use that to your advantage? You are also opposed to BDSM. If Leviticus stated that you should not engage in it, would you say that those laws aren’t for us? On the topic of menstrual sex, the bible is very clear: it is not permissible in the sight of God. It is stated in the Books of Moses and alluded to in Isaiah. You cannot pick and choose which parts of God’s word you will deem applicable. And if you are going to, then you need to stop stating that if the bible had something against a specific practice, you would not support it either, which you have said in the past in regards to oral sex. On this topic, you are inconsistent: either God’s word is sovereign or it isn’t. You cannot have it both ways.

    1. J Post author

      I would look at those scriptures, absolutely. But I don’t believe all verses have equal weight in determining our choices. For anal sex, I look at the construction of our bodies, the health and medical issues presented by that practice, and the prescriptions from God to take care of our bodies and make choices accordingly. BDSM has those same problems as well.

      I don’t know if it appears which way I lean. But I personally lean away from having sex during one’s period, mainly because of the health issue that seems to be the underlying reason for the OT scriptures. The flow opens things up, and sex in those circumstances involves risk. However, I gave my reasoning for why I don’t think the OT denunciation of that practice is as applicable today. If I saw other moral problems with it from the Bible, I’d be quick to change my mind. Maybe you could tell me why you think otherwise. I’m open to discussion.

      1. Julia

        Thank you so much for your response J, and for clarifying your opinion on the matter. It was helpful to hear what your reasoning process is more fully.
        I guess the big issue is that you have basically said that the New Testament must reintroduce an Old Testament law to be applicable, which is not supported in either testament. But I’m not sure that you really believe it, and maybe just haven’t thought it through? I suggest it due to considering the implications of such an opinion in regards to the issue at hand.
        Leviticus 20:18 If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people.
        It is in the same passage of verses that forbids incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and intercourse with non-blood related aunts and uncles, daughter-in-laws, step-mothers, etc. The passage is summed up by verses 22-23:
        22 ‘You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. 23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.
        And verse 26:
        26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.
        The nations did these things, and He calls it abhorrent. Or is it just these things aside from menstrual sex? Marrying your sibling would also have to be permissible too, because that isn’t reiterated in the NT either. These are not ceremonial commands, regarding sacrifices or offerings, but commands regarding lifestyle and morality. We can’t say that just because we don’t understand why it is applicable, we will not follow it. God doesn’t ask us to understand, he asks us to trust and obey.
        Abstaining from these things, and doing many other things, is called holiness in scripture, and are we not to try to achieve holiness? Are we not called to come out from the world and be separate, ie. Holy? And I want to clarify that I did not say righteous, which is a completely different matter, as righteousness comes by faith and faith alone.
        If we as believers pick and choose what is in effect by our own interpretations and knowledge of science and biology, we have taken the Word of God and subjected it to the wisdom of man, which is foolishness in His eyes.
        Matt 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
        I know that you and I will probably not agree on this issue, but I wanted to offer a differing point of view to you and your readers, because I believe that honoring God’s commandments is a crucial part of our walk.

        1. J Post author

          You’re right: We don’t agree. But I appreciate your engaging and certainly your appeal to Scripture. That is my guide as well, although sometimes Christians disagree on interpreting specifics. Thankfully, I believe this isn’t a salvation issue, so we can hopefully respect one another’s thoughts and continue to work on the same side of bringing people to God.

  11. Jem

    I usually like to have sex when I’m having my period, makes me feel a lot better usually, and seems to make my period shorter. (As in 6-7 days without sex, and if we do have sex, 4-5 days).
    About the Old Testament commandment, the Israelites had a lot of cleanliness laws that aren’t applicable today. I believe it had something to do with the sacrifices and the other large amounts of blood that was shed then. I would ask my dad, but that would be way too wierd…

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