This post is part of a weekly Her.meneutics series called The Sex We Don’t Talk About, designed to feature female perspectives on aspects of sex and sexuality that can go overlooked in the church.
Thoughts of menstruation take me back to that fated day when I first bled. I can still feel my anger and confusion. It was not a long-awaited sign of adulthood for me; rather, it felt dirty, shameful, and unwelcome.
I deeply disliked the bodily experience that I would share with women everywhere, that would punctuate so much of my life, bringing with it the possibility of pregnancy. I’m sure it was addressed in health class, but ashamed and nervous, I remembered nothing.
In her book Sexuality and Holy Longing, sociologist Lisa Graham McMinn indicates that, historically speaking, I was not alone in my disgust over my period. She writes:
The collective shame and hate of menstruation that women share has emerged partly out of a long-running history of considering femaleness inferior to maleness. Many cultures considered female sexuality not only as being dangerous but as causing women to be frail, irrational, and illogical. By the time humanity reached the Victorian era, Western women had long accepted femaleness as a curse to be borne but not celebrated.
But it turns out, there’s not a biblical basis for such a “curse.” A closer look at Genesis 3 shows that God did not curse the man or the woman, but rather cursed the serpent and the ground (3:14-19). Women’s pain in childbirth came as a result of the fall, not as a curse from God.
Especially as we have become more equipped than ever to learn about our bodies, hormones, and cycles, it’s time for this unfortunate “curse” nickname to ...1
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