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Men and Menstruation

A Social Transaction


David Linton

What’s with the men in menstruation? This is the question Men in Menstruation: A Social Transaction sets out to answer. From earliest times men have been puzzled and perplexed by the menstrual cycle and have constructed elaborate taboos, superstitions, and practices attempting to explain why women have a periodical emission of a fluid that resembles blood but is not the result of an injury or affliction. In other words, men want to know why it is possible to bleed and not die. In order to understand what goes on between men and women in the presence of menstruation,  this book examines a variety of encounters, referred to as "menstrual transactions." From the three women in the Bible who are identified as menstruating to contemporary films, advertising, TV programs and literature, the book explores a wide range of transactions, even including Prince Charles’s close encounter of a menstrual kind. The book will appeal to anyone interested in gaining insights into the mystery of menstruation as well as students of gender and women’s studies or media theory and history.

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Chapter Two: Blood in the Bible, Torah, and Quran and How Jesus Became a Menstrual Hero


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Blood in the Bible, Torah, and Quran and How Jesus Became a Menstrual Hero


What if men and boys were required to take a bath every time they masturbated, had a wet dream or an orgasm? What if any time their pants had a drop of semen on them they had to be washed? Well, that’s just what the ancient Biblical scriptures required of men, virtually the same kinds of requirements as for women regarding their menstrual fluid. But somehow the rules for men have been generally ignored while those for women continued to have considerable impact across cultures and centuries. Otherwise, imagine the hordes of adolescent boys lined up each morning at the ritual bath and the throngs of men impatiently checking their cell phones while awaiting their turns to be cleansed. Consider the impact if the rules laid down in Leviticus 15:16–19 were widely obeyed:

When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. When a man has sexual relations with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her...

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