Why did God forbid sex during a woman’s period? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This is one rule that really doesn’t make sense to a lot of us in our modern culture. Why could you not have sex during a woman’s period? Part of the problem that we have with this is that we don’t see the world as the ancients did, not because of something scientific, but because we don’t think of purity that way. At least, we say that we don’t, though in many ways we do.
Suppose I come over to your house to visit you with a can of unopened soda in my hand. While I sit on your couch talking to you, I open the can and then start pouring it profusely on your couch and carpet. I would not be surprised if you say a various number of words to me and throw me out.
This isn’t because the damage I have done is anything physically harmful necessarily. It’s more because I have damaged an idea of purity you have about your house. You don’t want a stain to be right there on the carpet even if there was nothing harmful about it. (Even if there is, I suspect most people are worried about the stain instead.) We have a reason why we sell stain removers for our clothes before we go on a date or another social outing.
This is the same kind of thing behind this command. It’s why the verse refers to her uncleanliness. This is also something that is done intentionally. It’s not an accident that this happens. In some ways, you could call this the sin of the high hand where one openly tries to defile God.
So what does that mean for us today?
Well, we don’t live in a society that focuses on ritual purity that way. However, there are some guidelines we can consider. This is for every married couple to decide for themselves.
First, assuming one wants to abstain during this time, you are talking about a few days really. If you are someone who cannot go a few days without having sex, you probably have bigger concerns. For those who think I can talk that but don’t walk it, I am divorced now and I am having to go without sex. That is no cause of joy whatsoever for me, but I can contend that is doable.
Second, if your wife is in intense pain from her period and is not feeling sexy, you should probably be considerate and not have sex with her then. Personally, any time she doesn’t want to have sex at all you should avoid it. This is just personal consideration.
Third, the whole point for them was avoiding blood and this might be something you want to take into consideration as well. Again, this is something debatable and especially in an age where we can use the pill to avoid the flow of blood that can happen. Of course, even the morality of the pill can be debated.
Those are just my general recommendations, but if there’s one rule in this list that is exceptional, it would be this one.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)