What is meant by “bodily discharge” in Leviticus 15?

Last updated on October 7, 2020



I want to ask about Leviticus 15. What does it mean by “bodily discharge?” When I am having a wet dream, do I need to block it or let it run freely? And can you discharge all the time? I mean can you willfully discharge so that your penis can produce fluid? Or you can’t but it can only occur if it is accidentally? What about if you have lusted over someone and your penis is discharging, do you need to block it or let it run freely?

Please reply this topic really bothering me.


Leviticus is a part of the Old Law given to the Israelites. Leviticus 15 covers a set of rules dealing with uncleanness. To be unclean under the Old Law was not a sin, but to break the laws of uncleanness was a sin. See “Uncleanness” for details about why these rules existed, but as a brief summary: God was teaching people about the nature of sin and did so by defining rules that limited the spread of diseases.

Source: STD-gov.org “Gonorrhea”

Leviticus 15:1-15 deals with discharges due to diseases. For example, gonorrhea causes pus to ooze from the penis. Leviticus 15:3 makes it clear that a person is unclean whether the discharge is continuous or appears to start and stop because the pus dries up internally and blocks the outward flow for a time.

Everything the person comes in contact with is considered unclean. This is to keep diseases from spreading. Everything the person touches has to be washed and is unclean until evening. Any person who contacts an unclean object, such as the person washing the objects, also becomes unclean for one day and has to bathe as well.

The person with the discharge is isolated until his discharge stops. After it stops, he remains in isolation for a week (Leviticus 15:13). This is to prove that he really is over the disease. Notice that the laws don’t deal with the treatment of the disease, they only establish rules that keep the disease from spreading further.

Leviticus 15:16-18 deals with the ejaculation of semen. When a man ejaculates, whether it is due to wet dreams or masturbation (Leviticus 15:16-17) or due to sex (Leviticus 15:18), the man is unclean for a day. Anything that got semen on it had to be washed and was unclean for a day. The man had to wash and stay isolated for rest of the day. In the case of sex, the woman also had to wash and stay isolated for the rest of the day.

Leviticus 15:19-24 deals with menstrual periods. Since a woman’s blood flow lasts several days, she is isolated for a week. Anything she touches becomes unclean and has to be washed and considered to be unclean for a day. Anyone touching an unclean object becomes unclean for a day and that person has to wash. If a man has sex with a woman during her menstrual period, he was isolated for a week and anything he touches becomes unclean for a day.

Leviticus 15:25-30 deals with unusual blood flows that either last longer than a week or that don’t come at the usual time. When this happens, she remains unclean until the blood flow stops. She then remains in isolation for an additional week to make sure she has healed.

Christians don’t live under the rules of uncleanness as they ended with the Old Law. “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). Therefore, you don’t have to isolate yourself when you ejaculate — though it is a good idea to clean up after yourself. Dripping when you are sexually aroused is not covered by these laws, nor does it require special cleaning.