Niddah Diaries, Month 1, Continued

I figured since it’s about to be month two, I should finish up writing out my notes from the first month. All in all, it’s been a good practice. This sexual tension thing is amazing. I can think of some situations where “cheating” might be warranted, but as a general rule, I’m liking it so far.
 
Day 2-Sunday

Menstruation is dirty. Period. Blood spitting out of your vagina is dirty. For that matter, so is blood coming out of your nose when it bleeds, blood from your veins when you give blood, and that gross blood and dirt combination that happens when you skin your knees. 

 
Feminists don’t like that something about women is “dirty”. This article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/oct/02/menstruation-feminist-activists) describes activists trying to bring menstrual blood into the pop-culture spotlight. It even comes with a picture of a woman wearing her period blood as lipstick (Just think about that for a moment. EW.). Another article I read describes a woman’s thoughts as she changes her baby daughter diaper and inadvertently says, “no–don’t touch!–dirty!” when the baby girl tried to reach for her soiled vagina. She wondered if she was teaching her daughter that vaginas are dirty, and if she was a bad feminist for doing so. 
 
There is a flaw in these women’s reasonings. Vaginas and Penises are not dirty. Blood and poop, however, are dirty. They are things that come from inside one’s own body, and are intended to either stay where they were or get cleaned up and thrown away. There is no practical value in saving this excrements. One is not a “bad feminist” or a “bad liberal” if they don’t want to come in contact with menstrual blood. 
 
The bible goes a little further, by stigmatizing menstruating women as dirty women. When Ezekiel was describing a prophecy in which God chastised his people for being improper, he opens with:
 
 “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their way and by their doings; their way before Me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity”
 
There are two very different ideas about menstrual dirtiness. One is that blood is dirty, the other, that women who menstruate are dirty simply because they are menstruating. The biblical verse which serves as the source for Niddah seems to imply the latter:

“(19) And if a woman shall have an issue of menstrual blood, she shall be niddah for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be niddah until the evening. (20) And everything that she lies upon in her niddah shall be impure, and all that she sits upon shall be impure. (21) And whoever touches her bed shall was his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be impure until the evening. (22) And whoever touches anything that she sits upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. (23) And if he is on her bed or any place that she sits, when he touches it he shall be impure until the evening. (24) And if a man lies with her and her niddah is upon him, he shall be unclean for seven days, and every bed that he lies upon shall be impure.
-Leviticus 15:19-24

Does this verse, and by extension these laws, imply that the menstruating WOMAN is unclean, or that the blood is unclean? Niddah is the actual blood. Verse 19 Explains that a woman who is menstruating is in the state of niddah. Things that she touches or lies upon don’t become niddah, nor do people that touch things that she’s touched or lay in beds that she’s laid in. However, people that actually have sex with her come in contact with her niddah– her BLOOD.

I don’t feel like a “dirty person” when I am menstruating, but I sure don’t feel clean. I’ve got blood coming all out of me, I have to constantly make sure I’ve got enough diaper-like contraptions with me to make sure my clothing stays clean, I feel groggy and tired…Of course I don’t want to be intimate right now. But do I feel that that the halachik sources stigmatize women as a gender for the act of menstruation? No. They’re just using the true fact that blood is dirty.


Day 3-Monday
I felt such a spark between us tonight. All we did was sit at home and talk and drink tea, but there was this indescribable chemistry in the air. It was like the “you can’t have him so he’s clearly even more attractive right now” kind of thing. Every time I refrained from touching him I felt the sexual tension turn up even more. It was incredibly frustrating but a great feeling nonetheless.

Day 4-Tuesday
I wasn’t feeling to well today. We went out for soup, because that was all I felt I could handle. It was great. When we got back to my apartment, I wanted to cuddle up with him on the couch, but I couldn’t, so we sat next to each other. It was a little frustrating, but the same sexual tension was there. I also had the thought that it’s probably good to be niddah while sick, because I don’t particularly want to be doing anything too active anyways, and this will help prevent him getting sick also.

Day 5-Wednesday. Bowling and Guns.
Today was simply amazing.
First we went out bowling. That wasn’t so amazing. I don’t know how many of you have ever gone bowling in Manhattan, but if you haven’t, don’t. It’s just like bowling anywhere else, except instead of beer and pizza there is locally brewed over-priced beer and italian cuisine. And it costs 10 times as much. I am not exaggerating. For 2 people to rent shoes and play 2 games we spent $64. We definitely did not get any drinks. I complained about it being overpriced the whole time, but he kept saying he wanted to do nice things for me.
Afterwards, we wound up at Toys R Us and bought nerf guns. We went back to my apartment and had an all out nerf war. It was awesome and I definitely won. By the end of the night, we both wound up lying “dead” on the floor. We talked about our future and what we wanted out of life. I have never wanted to hug anyone more than I did at that moment. We cheated a little by stroking each other with the nerf guns. I think the cheating was okay, because it’s still a pretty strict boundary and there was still that tension and wanting and yearning present.

Day 6-Thursday
Done. 
But unfortunately he’s busy tonight.
It kind of sucks because if we were married we’d jump each other. but he’s gone.
Every night this week that I did see him I had to refrain from touching but now that I can touch he’s not there.
I questioned whether dating really warrants this niddah, but I think it does. I know many couples that are dating but spend every waking moment (and sometimes non-waking moments) together. The tension is necessary to retain that sexual chemistry couples start out with, and to counteract complacency.

Days 7-9
I was with him and his parents for shabbat, so even though we touched a little, we didn’t really do too much. I spent all of shabat thinking about how much I wanted to be alone with him. Finally, FINALLY he took me home Sunday and we spent the entire day together in bed and it was more than perfect.




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3 comments on “Niddah Diaries, Month 1, Continued

  1. Frumgeek says:

    I don’t understand why you keep Halacha when you can rationalize it, but otherwise, you don’t. You speak of touching, and even having ore-marital sex, (an issuer di’oreosa, if you were tuna I nidda, and I doubt you went to the Mikva beforehand) yet years ago, when you started your blog, you speak of how you intend on keeping all Halacha and are proud of it. I am not going to berate you on what you’ve done, nor your ideals nor reasoning. I simply want to know how you changed, how you came to be this way? If anything, it’ll make for a good blog post 🙂

  2. Lex Luthor says:

    Hi. If you’ll take a look at the beginning at the beginning of the Chapter in Leviticus you referred to, you’ll see that an almost identical set of rules applies to a man who has a certain seminal discharges.

    The rabbis taught (Niddah 31b) that the idea of the separation period is the common saying “familiarity breeds contempt.” Being apart for some time each month makes the heart fonder. You might ask, why did the Torah ground it in the time of the menstruation period and not in something else? I think that in a historical/halakhic context the answer is obvious – because when they were keeping the laws of purity and impurity (which are not relevant today since you only have to stay “pure” if you want to be able to eat from the sacrifices or from the priestly gifts, which we don’t do nowadays), the most convenient time to separate a husband and wife was that time of the month when her touch could render him impure. So, you might ask – why not make it when he is impure from those certain seminal discharges? The answer to that is quite simple too – because they aren’t regulated in any way. If the Torah wished to insure a separation period on a regular, consistent basis, the most convenient and simple thing to ground it in would be menstruation.

  3. […] one another, there were even a few times when  we’d intentionally use an object (see day 5 here) to touch the other […]

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