Feminism, Theology

marriage as a blood covenant

blood covenant

Last week I heard something I didn’t expect to hear outside of a fundamentalist church, and it shook me up a little. Someone was talking about the importance of marriage, and they launched into an explanation of how marriage is a blood covenant. I’d heard passing references to this idea in the last year, but since I’d grown up in a church that never actually talked about sex, the whole “penis goes into vagina, vagina bleeds = blood covenant” idea was not one I was familiar with. I assumed that it was just something this one person had decided made sense and wasn’t that wide-spread.

But, last night when I was talking with my small group about the idea, it seemed like everyone in the room was way more familiar with it than I was– several had grown up hearing that “marriage is a blood covenant” and it didn’t stand out to some of them as unusual. How parents are supposed to keep the marriage-bed sheet as proof of their daughter’s virginity was cited as at least one example.

That disturbed me.

So, I’ve been doing some research today, and I’d like to talk about this somewhat common misconception that marriage is a blood covenant. When you google “blood covenant” all the results you’re going to get are many, many pages of Christians talking about it, which honestly wasn’t very helpful. It took me a little bit of digging until I finally grew a brain and consulted Judaic resources. That finally gave me a basic understanding of historical blood covenants:

The old, primitive way of concluding a covenant, (בְּרִית “to cut a covenant”) was for the covenanters to cut into each other’s arm and suck the blood; the mixing of the blood rendering them “brothers of the covenant” . . . A rite expressive of the same idea is the cutting of a sacrificial animal into two parts, between which the contracting parties pass, showing thereby that they are bound to each other.

There are only a few examples of blood covenants in the Bible that look like this– it seems that a lot of what modern-day Christians refer to as “blood covenants” are not really blood covenants at all. One of the few examples is interesting because of how it diverges from this: in Genesis 15, when God makes his first covenant, Abram sees it as a torch passing between the sacrificed animals, but Abram doesn’t follow. The significance of this covenant is that by passing through it alone, God declared that he will keep this covenant regardless of whether or not Abram did. The imagery of this is repeated, again, in the Crucifixion. Jesus did not require our blood to seal the covenant– just his.

There are, of course, other kinds of covenants, not just blood covenants, and I think one can argue that marriage is a type of covenant. It can be difficult to understand covenant as something different from a legal contract, especially since Christianity has been deeply influenced by a lawyer-like interpretation of the Bible for the last few centuries– but covenants are essentially about trust, while contracts are essentially about distrust.

The problem I have with talking about marriage as a blood covenant isn’t that I think it’s bad to think of marriage as a covenant– I think it’s horrible to think of marriage as a blood covenant for the very simple reason that it accepts violence against women.

I’ve written about this before, but the culturally accepted idea that female virgins bleed is just flat wrong. People with vaginas (who are not always women/female, to be clear) do not have to bleed the first time they have sex, and perpetuating this idea that bleeding is normal– in fact, it is necessary for a blood covenant— is wrong and harmful. It’s a teaching that has, at its core, the notion that female pain and suffering is completely normal, even unavoidable.  It keeps alive the incredibly damaging notion that men do not have to care about a woman’s pain, in fact, they must cause her pain, at least occasionally.

People with vaginas who have sex only bleed when their partner has done violence to them. If your partner is hurting, then you hurt them and you need to slow down, listen to them, and care about their body. Most likely this harm is done in complete innocence, in ignorance, but it is disgusting when our churches, our pastors, our Christian teachers, push pain as good, even holy, because it is a “blood covenant.”

Instead, when we talk about sex, what we should be encouraging is a mutual understanding of our bodies, of how to bring and give and share pleasure, and most of all, to never ever believe that it is acceptable for one of us to experience pain.

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  • To be quite honest, I have never had sex without pain. It wasn’t until I got into my thirties that I figured out there might be something wrong with that. Until then, I thought it was just my lot and the lot of all women, that there would be no sex without pain. I think it’s not only the church which perpetuates this. It is our whole patriarchal society. Women are painted as less then men in almost every circumstance. Granted, this doesn’t happen all the time, but I find that it does happen in the majority of instances. I didn’t grow up in church, but the idea of women as second class citizens and therefore not deserving of as much happiness as men permeated my house.

    • That was me as well. I thought I just wasn’t into sex or something because when it didn’t hurt, which was rare, it did absolutely nothing for me. My pleasure certainly did not mean enough to my then-husband to suggest a doctor visit or anything that’d actually work to make sex feel better. He made requisite sounds of concern through his mouth hole after the painful sex was over, but he sure wasn’t giving up sex just because his living sex doll made owie noises afterward.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        … but he sure wasn’t giving up sex just because his living sex doll made owie noises afterward.

        This reminds me of something I’ve noticed in accounts of Purity Culture: Bribing the boys involved to save themselves for marriage with promises of Barn-Burning Swinging-from-the-Chandeliers Dynamite Married S*E*X on their wedding night and every night thereafter. Unless said boy is “boy in the bubble” isolated, he’s going to pick up “what S*E*X is like” by osmosis in today’s erotically-saturated culture, whether from other (similar) kids or third-party sources like Porn (internet or otherwise). And in the process, develop a LOT of sexual fantasies and probable paraphilias during his time of post-puberty/pre-marriage Horny Celibacy.

        So he’s going to expect his Virgin Unto Death bride to morph into his own Personal Porn Star and “Living Sex Doll”, fulfilling all those pent-up fantasies 24/7 starting That Night.

        This is NOT a realistic expectation, and leads to BIG problems like you mentioned.

        • guyfletch

          That’s one failure mode. Another is that he is also damaged – by narratives of looking at attractive women constituting adultery, and similar – and neither of them is up for the happy sexy time the culture promised them.
          Not sure how common that is, but I have seen it reported.

        • I hadn’t thought about it like that, but you’re totally right. Right on, well said, and thank you.

  • I’ve never heard of this, creepy!

  • Aside from the bed sheet thing, which is something I had only heard mentioned in the Bible, I’ve never heard of this either… this is creepy.

    • That was my first thought, too. “Wait, there are people who still do that? That’s REALLY CREEPY.”

  • I was just thinking today that so many things that we take to be “Biblical” about marriage are actually cultural. A married couple from the NT church, if they sat in on “marriage counseling” of a young couple about to wed, would probably be mystified. We’ve added a lot. So maybe it’s OK if we drop this concept. My husband and I took communion in our wedding as a sign of the covenant – but we thought of it in the spiritual sense. Drinking wine as a sign of a covenant being similar to taking communion. To me it was part of the picture of the church as the bride of Christ.

    • “I was just thinking today that so many things that we take to be “Biblical” about marriage are actually cultural.”

      This is true for more than just marriage. Basically everything that’s considered a “sin” in modern American Christian parlance is purely a cultural construct. It’s been that way for millennia.

  • I do like the *idea* of “we are now of one blood.” (Visions of cheesy boy’s literature from my past, perhaps? Or was that Treasure Island?)

    But the whole idea of sex being painful for the woman bothers me greatly. For me, the one most important job a man has in the marital bed is to find out how to give his wife pleasure. A real man will settle for no less.

  • kategladstone

    “parents are supposed to keep the marriage-bed sheet as proof of their daughter’s virginity” —
    If anyone still does this: how do the parents GET the bedsheet? Do they stop over to pick it up, the morning after? (That must be one awkward little social call!) Or do the bride and groom come over to drop it off? Or just put it in the mail?!

  • srs

    “How parents are supposed to keep the marriage-bed sheet as proof of their daughter’s virginity was cited as at least one example.”

    uhh… what? WHAT?!?! I’ve never heard of anyone doing this. What do they do w/the sheet? Frame it? Do hotels offer to sell them the sheet if that’s where the couple went en route to their honeymoon?

    It just sounds so much like some rumor that get’s passed down. Does anyone know anyone who does this today in the USA? (I’ll freely admit I might be really sheltered but I’ve been in evangelical churches for 20 years and I’ve never heard of this.)

    • jemand

      Not the US, but one of my room mates was from a culture where apparently this was a thing. Because couples tended to live in portions / rooms of a parent’s house at least for awhile, and the party tended to go all night, just stick the sheet out the door at some point. This seemed to be a custom on the way out, she said she hated how invasive it is (and the husband didn’t necessarily want this anymore than the wife, it was older relatives who insisted). I told her if that were me I’d have wanted to buy a bucket of blood from the butchers and have my husband to be keep it in his room, dump the whole sheet in there and toss it out the door dripping cups of blood. To be honest I suspect that fake blood is usually what’s used anyway, given that the couples often both don’t want the invasion (at least now).

      • Yeah in some cultures the couple is carried to a room that has been prepared and are expected to consummate the relationship while wedding guests wait outside then produce the sheet as proof. I would definitely want to have a backup plan just in case that didn’t go well! Also shows how attitudes toward marriage have changed over time and in different places. Now the “sacred” and “intimate” nature of marriage is so stressed that this kind of involvement seems vulgar.

    • It’s from Deuteronomy– when a man who “hates his wife” and wants to divorce her because she wasn’t a virgin, the parents are supposed to bring out the sheet as proof.

      • Katie

        Could it have to do with the hymen? Doesn’t breaking it often produce just a few *drops* of blood? I married older (late 20s) and never experienced this, though of course sex is a learning curve for most of us. 🙂 Anyway, in a culture where people married younger, before 20 perhaps, would it be more likely?

        • This is the exact problem- if you bleed, it’s because your body was not yet prepared for an intrusion. The hymen is incredibly “stretchy.” If it tears and bleeds, it is because the penetration was too violent. It’s not supposed to bleed. Bleeding in your vagina is just like every other wound. It can and absolutely should be prevented.

          • Kreine

            It is really sad (& embarrassing) that I, a thirty-something mother of five, didn’t know that first-time sex shouldn’t cause pain & bleeding. Then, again, I was taught the marriage blood covenant tripe.

            Knowledge is power, though, and you can bet I’ll be teaching my daughters differently than I was taught!

    • I’ve never ever heard of anybody doing it today. In medieval romances I’ve read sometimes the villages take the sheets and hung them up in the local tavern, supposedly for good luck regarding the crops? But I’ve never heard of parents doing it.

      I’m just speculating, maybe in the Bronze Age the Father kept the sheets to prove he was honest and kept his word and had “good merchandise?” regarding bride price, etc.

      • Well, it could be more than that, a family who dearly loved their daughter would keep it to ensure she wasn’t marginalized in the community and would be protected even years later– it probably may have provided some protection even if the woman’s parents later died, the fact that such “proofs” existed somewhere.

        All I know is that if *I* were living in such a culture, I’d do my best to ensure a daughter was prepared (I suspect that men wrote / created such rules, mothers, aunts, etc may have helped engineer certain ways of passing through that world, which the men didn’t write of because they may never have known of them) and protected according to the mores of the culture as much as possible.

  • Aragarthiel

    Thank you, thank you SO much for this. I hear this all the time and it’s so cringey. For whatever reason the idea of marriage as a blood covenant is popular in my family’s weird charismatic circles and my mom stands by it no matter what I say. I’ve heard entire sermons about it, actually. (I seem to recall something particularly weird at this wedding themed conference about Christ’s blood being the replacement for His unfaithful Bride’s blood…)
    It’s so difficult to hear adults teaching teenagers about this and not being able to say anything. No one takes sex ed from a 16 year old well.

  • K

    My mom told me this more than once growing up – that the bleeding of the hymen was what sealed a marriage as a sacred covenant – and I believed it so much that I had serious angst when I decided to use a menstrual cup instead of tampons or pads. What if my hymen accidentally tore? What if I was no longer “intact” come my wedding night? What if my still-nebulous future husband doubted my virginity due to lack of blood? What if our marriage was deprived of the extra-special sacred sparkles?

    I couldn’t have been more than 14 at the time, and yeah I’m pretty sure whatever hymen I had is no more, but I have since learned (from reading this and other ex-homeschooler blogs, plus a healthy course of fanfic sex ed) that sex is supposed to be *fun* and not just something that makes babies (with a side course of proof-of-virginity blood and pain).

    And today, reading your post about blood covenants, I had a disturbing thought. If we take the whole hymen-blood-equals-blood-covenant thing as true, that means that only the woman is contributing blood, and … talk about double standards.

    • Good call on the hymenal blood double standard. Isn’t it *amazing* /s how that alone can somehow constitute a blood covenant? I imagine those who believe in this sort of thing would explain it away as a woman’s lot in life because of Evil Eve. Ugh.

      Out of curiosity, what on earth is a “menstrual cup”? I’ve never heard of one before now and to be honest, I’m kind of afraid of the results I might get from a google search. 😉

      • Deird

        Googling menstrual cups will actually get you exactly the data you’re after, with no bad results.

        They’re soft silicon (or sometimes something else) cups that you insert into your vagina. Like a tampon, except instead of absorbing the blood, they just catch it in the cup until you have a chance to empty it.

        I find them much more useful than tampons, because:
        – they don’t go scratchy and uncomfortable if there’s not enough blood for them to absorb
        – you can leave them in at night
        – you can put them in before your period actually arrives
        – they’re way more comfortable
        – environmentally friendly!
        – you only have to buy them once, so it saves a lot of money

        • K

          All of the above. Not everyone likes it, as it takes a bit of practice to dump it without mess, but since getting my cup I’ve been able to stop dreading my period. Never looked back. (And yes, there’s all sorts of useful internet info. Don’t worry.)

  • “Instead, when we talk about sex, what we should be encouraging is a mutual understanding of our bodies, of how to bring and give and share pleasure, and most of all, to never ever believe that it is acceptable for one of us to experience pain.”

    Amen to that!
    Pleasure during sex is a wonderful gift endowed to our species which allows us to create a deep spiritual connection thriugh an upward spiral.

  • Is this why in Europe they used to cut each other and tie the wounds together?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Remember the “We Become Blood Brothers” scenes in old Western movies?

  • I’ve heard the blood covenant, but I’ve never met anyone who saves the sheets like the OT. That seems far out there.

  • Muff Potter

    Don’t forget too that a man’s daughter could be stoned to death for not having the ‘tokens of virginity’ (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). Not only that, it would appear from the text that Dad also had to acquiesce to it and let the elders do the deed at his door no less!

    This Dad would tell them in short order to go to hell. Then he’d come out of the house armed, doing a Lakota war hoop and yelling “Let’s Dance!”.
    (how’s that for a blood covenant?)

  • Beloved, some things are only spiritually discerned. The blood covenant of marriage is one of them. Now we know in part, but then shall we know even as we are known.
    God bless you.

    • It goes back to Broze Age legal reasons. If a man tried to divorce his wife and lie that she wasn’t a virgin, the parents would trot out the sheets as “proof” and the man would still have to provide for her.

  • Re: People with vaginas who have sex only bleed when their partner has done violence to them.

    …well, not entirely true. I totally agree with the sentiment, but I bleed nearly every single time I have sex with my current partner. I’m not in any pain, and I’m definitely having fun (he’s actually the person that showed me that sex CAN be fun, since my ex-husband used to say things like “it’s not rape if you’re married” and wanted me to just let him use me to get off if I wasn’t interested in sex, but that’s another story). Unfortunately, bleeding happens with him unless I make a concerted effort to prevent it – which usually means NOT having as much fun because I LIKE it deep and unfortunately that makes me bleed.

    Turns out, according to my doctor, that I have a “delicate cervix”. There are blood vessels right on the surface and they break with very little contact (toys included – not just my partner). So it’s not that he’s being violent or hurting me, it’s just that bleeding is nearly unavoidable for me. Sucks, but it is what it is.

    Anyway, like I said, totally agree with the sentiment. Just wanted to throw it out there that bleeding doesn’t mean your partner is being violent or hurting you!

  • “Instead, when we talk about sex, what we should be encouraging is a mutual understanding of our bodies, of how to bring and give and share pleasure, and most of all, to never ever believe that it is acceptable for one of us to experience pain.”

    No. I see what you’re going for here, and I agree with the general message, but that last clause is over-broad.
    Pain can, for at least some people, be one of the most fun things you can experience with a willing partner. It can get deep and emotional and intense and exhilarating without actually ceasing to hurt.
    Mutual understanding is excellent, and so is bringing, giving and sharing pleasure. Infliction of pain because it’s ‘necessary’, or ‘deserved’, or ‘not worth avoiding’, is bad. Pain as such, however, can be amazing.

    • My other post that I linked to above mentioned this, and thank you for bringing it up here.

      I’m one of those people that can appreciate having that “edge” I suppose. 🙂 I was struggling to find a way to effectively get my point across while not condemning consensual BDSM-type acts, but couldn’t. I appreciate you pointing it out.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    The old, primitive way of concluding a covenant, (בְּרִית “to cut a covenant”) was for the covenanters to cut into each other’s arm and suck the blood; the mixing of the blood rendering them “brothers of the covenant” . . .

    Like the “We Become Blood Brothers” scene in an old Western.

    Which implies you find some form of “blood covenants in a lot of tribal peoples.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    People with vaginas who have sex only bleed when their partner has done violence to them. If your partner is hurting, then you hurt them and you need to slow down, listen to them, and care about their body.

    “The man PENETRATES, COLONIZES, CONQUERS, PLANTS; the woman lies back and Accepts.”
    — Doug Wilson, cult leader and Christianese Culture War darling

  • ellea

    Whoa, hey now, if my husband hadn’t been willing, at my urging, to make me bleed, I’d *still* be a virgin. No amount of going slow was going to fix that. Or else I’d’ve had to go to the doctor to get it cut–other women in my family had to do that–which I would have found far more upsetting. Maybe most women can lose their virginity without pain and blood, if they take it slowly enough, but not all hymens are alike.

    • Thank you for bringing this up. 🙂 In my post “virginity is a myth” I had a lot more nuance and spent some time acknowledging situations like yours. You’re absolutely right- not every hymen is the same.

  • Nick C

    What is interesting here a cultural perspective, is how much the discussion focused on *sex* and not much about the other discussion of the covenant. That observation was mind blowingly profound. Abraham and Jesus, that God would keep the covenant no matter what. I am wondering how many with the “not perfect just forgiven” bumper sticker really understand.

  • The best study of COVENANT that I experienced was from “Precept Ministries”.
    As for sheets, they did not have sheets. A dear missionary couple had been in Egypt for decades. While home, the woman spoke to the women of the church I was attending. She explained what took place on the weeing night. She had been told by a precious Egyptian woman. When she was 13 she was married. Her older female relatives, but, not her mother, accompanied the bride and groom to the bridal chamber. One of them handed the groom a cloth. The women held the girl down while the groom put his finger in her vagina and broke
    the hymen.They then left the traumatized girl with the groom who raped her many times that night.

  • michael

    we need to remember that young boys on the 8th day shed blood when circumcised.it used to be done routinely here in New Zealand but now only as requested.I believeYAHWEH still requires that of his sons today.And so ideally the blood that passes from a wifes broken hymen to her husband penis on their wedding night speaks volumes to me of a deep bond and mutual love for life,between a man and a woman.

    • No, it’s not a “deep bond.” It’s vaginal tearing and pain for possibly the next couple of WEEKS because she wasn’t aroused enough and ready enough for penetration— or she has an imperforate hymen or her hymen wasn’t exposed to enough estrogen to become pliable and she needs to go to the doctor.

      Accepting pain, physical damage, bleeding, and harm is believing that violence against women is normal and even a good thing. That is incredibly misogynistic.

      As for whether or not circumcision is still required is another conversation completely, but I don’t think hacking off part of someone’s penis without their consent is OK.

  • tim shell

    Hi Samantha,
    I appreciate what you are doing here and agree that there are serious needs for discussion about these issues. There are extremes to be avoided for sure. However, there are significant healthy concepts missing from this discussion. First, a blood covenant has a far deeper meaning than is pointed out here. The primary point of the blood is that any party to the covenant is agreeing to forfeit his or her life if they break their part of the bargain, whatever terms they have agreed to. “Blood equals life” is the foundational concept. To shed the blood is to take the life. The whole point of the blood is an object lesson, it is gruesome and gorry for a purpose. Scenes of blood and gore are etched in human memory. The blood covenants are designed to be unforgettable. There is an intentional shock effect to counter the human tendency to forget important things and ignore important commitments. The blood is saying in effect to the observing witnesses, “If I break the covenant then you may kill me just like these animals.” You will find this addressed indirectly in the book of Jeremiah where the people made a covenant with God, passed between the halves of the slaughtered cattle, and then broke the covenant. So God said you will die because you already made this covenant. These kinds of covenants were the common way to settle disputes and make treaty’s, the were used in business not just spiritually. The Hebrew word always means to cut a covenant. When God cut a covenant with Abraham He was saying to him, “You can take my life if I don’t keep this promise.”
    Now to marriage. When a man takes a woman in a healthy way, the highest ideals are expressed in books like Ruth and the Song of Solomon or Isaac and Rebekah, not in all the other strange and weird stories you have heard. They do cut a blood covenant. And the meaning is highly significant, profound and beautiful. They give themselves to one another 100% exclusively for life. This is the boundary for sex that God made and wants all of us to live within.
    The problem is that everyone only has one body and has very little to compare their experience to. While it is true that not every girl bleeds and no girl should have to live with fears or apprehension about coming together with a man, it is the biblical concept that marriage is a blood covenant. And it is also true that most women bleed and experience very little to no pain, and that it is a non violent act. The man does pass between the halves of the woman’s body, just like in a covenant with animals sacrificed, there is a bloody trail and the act of consumation is witnessed by God. The man and woman are bound in God’s sight to remain true to one another. The man is bound for life to the woman by a blood covenant in her blood. If he breaks it he has agreed to forfeit his life. This is why God judges adultery in the lives of His people severly.
    I would think that a woman would want her man to be bound under the threat of death to her by a blood covenant and to be especially and exclusively his. What higher level of commitment could you imagine? The man is putting his life on the line, and this is true whether or not he has the knowledge and understanding of the blood covenant. The gentials represent the persons in the covenant, because we certainly don’t want to be cutting the woman in half to make the covenant. It give the best and healthiest explanation for the configuration and design of male and female bodies which together represent the image of God.
    My wife and I had proper teaching before marriage about this, she was prepared for the initial spark or twinge of pain, there was no violence or haste or excessive force on my part, and she did bleed slightly and we saved the garment that it stained. That is a very precious and beautiful memory for both of us. She did not experience any pain enough to be more than slight discomfort. She was eager and willing not traumatized.
    There are huge variations in human genitals just like in other human features and in the animal world if you have vet experience, you will see the same thing in livestock. Genetic variations in size, color, shape, form, etc. do exist. But the normal pattern in human beings is for a hymen to be present, and to tear slightly on first entrance by the male, and to bleed but not excessively. The pain and bleeding should be very minimal, pass quickly, and should not recurr.
    My wife’s mother on the other hand tore and bled excessively and needed to see a doctor on her wedding night. She did not know what to expect and did not tell her husband that she was in pain while they were coming together. But they had a very loving and beautiful marriage and she was not traumatized by it in any way. So experiences vary, but extremes should not be presented as norms. And normal sexual experience should not be styled as violence against women. I agree that sex should not be painful, it’s supposed to be the opposite of that. Some women are affected by certain chemicals from facial products that make sex painful and you should be guiding women to avoid these things. See:
    It is right for the church to be a source of clear, balanced and accurate information about these things, and generally the information should be passed on from generation to generation by the older women to the younger women.
    It is also the analogy of choice God chose to represent the relationship of Christ to the church. It is interesting to consider that the bride of Christ also contributes blood in the relationship through the blood of martyrs, not just the blood of Christ.
    The world has become seriously desensitized to the highest views of sexual relations. But God does not want the significance of the blood covenant to be lost to us, and it is beneficial to discuss it in detail.
    With proper coaching from her mother a daughter should be able to have a very comfortable and happy wedding night without fear or feeling like being degraded or that violence is being done to her because her husband gently breaks her hymen on first entry. Whether or not she bleeds the basic components of the covenant are still enacted. And every time a couple comes together after that is a reaffirmation of that commitment to one another. This is a beautiful and holy way to understand the meaning sex.

    • I know you phrased this all very nicely, but this is misogyny. There is no medical basis to continue perpetuating the damaging myth that women AND ONLY WOMEN experience pain during sex and that this is normal and acceptable. I don’t fucking care whether or not women are traumatized by it, because that is fucking irrelevant. Women are socialized to expect pain during PIV intercourse, so of course we’re not going to be “traumatized” by it. The fact that people hear things like “there is no reason whatsoever for women to experience pain during PIV intercourse” and respond with this BULLSHIT argument is beyond sickening to me.

      You are wrong. FLAT WRONG. That you think that for women to experience pain during intercourse is something that’s acceptable and “beautiful” is DISGUSTING, and I do not FUCKING CARE how nice you were in being disgusting. You make a misogynistic argument like this again and you are fucking done here.

    • Sha

      You compared a woman’s body to the corpses of animal sacrifices (while making the assumption that the “woman” – read as “vagina-wielder” as I very much doubt you make the distinction – would be the one cut in half, presumably because, as the only one bleeding in this covenant, she is the only one actually beholden), and that was one of the LEAST problematic aspects of your comment.
      Your comment was disgusting and hateful, and horrifically not okay.
      Now none of this is to argue whether or not such is your god’s will (truth be told, I don’t really care), but rather to point out that if this IS your god’s will, then your god is a dispicably evil, morally reprehensible being, and doesn’t deserve your worship

  • tim shell

    Wow, that’s quite a reaction, I wasn’t trying to upset anyone. See this website for info about pain in Sex from facial products containing parabens. I know you are trying to help women and I appreciate that. http://unveiledwife.com/about/

    • I realize you weren’t trying to upset anyone but a comment ostensibly about loving sex being filled with such violent imagery should definitely upset people.

      I don’t want my partner to stay with me under “threat of death”– but because he loves me. I’m not interested in threats and fear and violence to motivate the people I care about to not violate my trust.

      There is SO MUCH to unpack in your comment, but it was filled with some pretty horrific shit and that you don’t think it’s horrific is a good reason for you to go home and rethink your life.

  • Emily

    tim shell: “Some women are affected by certain chemicals from facial products that make sex painful and you should be guiding women to avoid these things.”
    I don’t know whether to laugh uncontrollably or cry because this is so fucking ridiculous and pathetic.

  • women can also have vaginal bleeding after sex when, after the menopause, the wall of the vagina thins and becomes fragile. No amount of arousal can prevent this. But oestrogen vaginal pessaries can…

    • Hence why “if you’re bleeding you need to go see a doctor or HE’S DOING SOMETHING WRONG” is what I’ll keep shouting into the wind.

      • absolutely!!! I did. It wasn’t cancer of womb, cervix or ovaries – but could so well have been!

  • Ellese

    In my culture in the past. A roasted suckling pig comes with the bride and if the bedsheet has no blood, the ears of the suckling pig will be lopped off and the pig sent back to the wife’s family as a sign that an injustice has been done to the groom’s family. The shame will be announced in that fashion to the community.

  • Angiportus

    Ms. Field, you are so right, and thanks.
    Human beings–whatever age or gender–are not pieces of bubble wrap. My idea of a blood covenant is that people should agree to try to keep each other’s blood from being spilled.
    This Left Hand Path agnostic thanks you again.

  • believer


    you are mistaken about the Hymen, and while the blood covenant doesn’t need to be “bloody” the concept is that there is a mystery of marriage and a spiritual covenant that really isn’t about the blood, maybe you can call it something else but this covenant that you make with your husband is supposed to be the only blood covenant that you make with any one. In biblical times, they also though the world was flat.

    • You do realize that everything in that article you linked proves my point?

      Also, I don’t think you understand what an ancient-Near East blood covenant was. Or that the “flat earth” thing is a myth.

  • I can attest to the fact that bleeding and pain are not necessary when the hymen are broken. I’ve been an avid horsewoman all my life and my hymen broke several years ago while I was riding. There was no pain and no blood. I just felt a little “pop” when a horse made an unexpected sideways leap and I was wrenched a bit in the saddle. It actually took me a day or two to figure out what happened.

    Granted, this was not the result of PIV intercourse, but my point still stands: blood is not necessary when the hymen breaks. Pain is not necessary. That people still think it is necessary is sad.

  • Thank you for sharing this Samantha. I hope you don’t mind me including a link to this article in the book I am writing “Grace for Sexual Shame: The Obsessed.”

  • Willyb0ne

    The blood shed during the consummation of a marriage is covered in the Bible. Read it again.

    It’s a strong Hebrew tradition that shadows Jesus shedding of Blood on the cross for His bride – I’m not sure of you’re Christian but you should be familiar with this if you are.

    Much of Hebrew culture foreshadow’s Jesus – Jesus being the revelation that makes sense of it all.

    And you will find that traditions within Hebrew culture all have massive spiritual significance as well as practical significance.

    Under the Torah, a man could marry a virgin, then lie and say she was not a virgin in order to have her stoned.

    As a wedding gift, the parents of the new bride would gift white linen sheets – specifically to be used during the consummation. The virgin would bleed on the sheets, the sheets are then joyously given to the parents of the bride as proof against any future allegations.

    The shedding of blood to consummate the covenant of marriage is no joke. There is good news however,

    Thanks to Jesus, we live under Grace. Whilst a blood covenant is the ideal, a commitment to God and another person is just as serious in the eyes of God. We no longer live in an age where women are stoned for not being virgins – thank Christendom for that it still happens in non-Christian parts of the world.

    You should swot up on hebrew culture and drop the nonsense about violence towards women. Totally in-appropriate and unrelated to the subject at hand.

    • Willyb0ne

      Also, whilst some women may not bleed for their first time, this is most likely due to masturbation and you girls just don;t like talking about it.

      It does make you think about Hebrew girls not being allowed to masturbate… I’ve always wondered what God thought about masturbation…

      • It’s probably vaginismus, actually–why people bleed during sex. That would be my guess. That’s where sex is painful or actually impossible because the vaginal muscles are so tense. It’s very common for women raised in purity culture to suffer from this, after having to suppress their sexuality for so long that their wedding night is very stressful, painful, or traumatic. I’ve read about quite a few women who have suffered from this because of how they were raised.
        Regardless, though, vaginismus, like homophobia, is neither good, nor from a good God.

    • Thank Christendom for women not being stoned to death for not bleeding on their wedding nights? The same Christendom that murdered–burned to death–homosexuals and suspected “witches”? There are people trying to make it legal to kill gay people even today, in America–not just in Uganda. And these people of course are professed Christians.