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Maedica (Buchar). 2018 Sep;13(3):183-188. doi: 10.26574/maedica.2018.13.3.183.

Is Vaginal Sexual Intercourse Permitted during Menstruation? A Biblical (Christian) and Medical Approach.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Naval Hospital of Crete, Chania, Greece.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


According to the Old Testament (Provisions for clean and unclean of the Mosaic Law), a woman during menstruation or a man who has sexual relations with a menstruating woman are perceived as "unclean". When seven days pass after the first day of menstruation, the woman is regarded as "clean" and sexual contact is permitted. The character of these Provisions, according to the New Testament and Fathers of the Christian Church, was mainly pedagogical and aimed at helping the Israelites to transcend from physical purity to purification of the soul and from the worship of stereotypes to spiritual worship. Moreover, sexual contact that occurred during menstruation was considered as prostitution. From a modern medical point of view, sexual intercourse during menstruation is normal and not perversion, but is associated, although remote, with undesirable pregnancy, the development of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and possible endometriosis, which affects, inter alia, the health of the reproductive tract. These Provisions were essentially hygiene rules imposed by the social and cultural circumstances of that time and were invested with religious authority. The main aims of the Lawmaker were to promote the Israelites' health, prevent them from contracting STDs, and increase their fertility and birth of healthy offspring. The term "unclean" for each menstruating woman served this aim.

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