What does it mean to be Unclean?

Reaching a deeper understanding of the concepts behind the state of being Unclean, including Biblical citations, descriptions, and visual illustrations.

Readership: All

I’ve decided that several theological terms, such as unclean, defile, consecrate, and sanctify, deserve a closer study. So this post takes a look at the first term, and some upcoming posts will tackle the others.

dirty coffee cup

A simple interpretation of unclean is just what the word means – dirty. An object, such as the coffee mug in the picture above, or a person, in the spiritual context, has been busy with the common tasks and functions of life, and carries physical or spiritual indications of his/her contact with the functional world. These indicators become feculent if efforts are not made to wash and clean them in a timely manner.

In the spiritual context, the Bible mentions several experiences which cause one to be unclean.

4 Whatever man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or has a discharge, shall not eat the holy offerings until he is clean. And whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse, or a man who has had an emission of semen, or whoever touches any creeping thing by which he would be made unclean, or any person by whom he would become unclean, whatever his uncleanness may be— the person who has touched any such thing shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat the holy offerings unless he washes his body with water. And when the sun goes down he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat the holy offerings, because it is his food. Whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I am the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 22:4-8 (NKJV)

To reframe this in my own words,

“If you’ve been ill and puking, you shouldn’t plan to go on a date. If you’ve just attended a funeral, or if you’ve been jerking off on X-vids, or if you’ve been cleaning up your kid’s excrement, or cleaning dead cockroaches out of the drain, or if you’re all grossed out from working at a medical clinic or from watching horror movies, (etc.), then until the day is over and you’ve had a hot shower, you’re not going to be in the right mood to enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with your spouse. And if the dinner includes roadkill, then that will ruin the mood of the evening, on top of the fact that you’ll be facing some serious gastroenteritis over the next few days.”

From my reading of this, it is apparent that practically any repugnancy or offense that causes one to develop a rancorous disposition, is part and parcel of the experience of becoming unclean.

Of note, an offense is a process by which one becomes unclean.

Does this mean that certain Feeelz are unclean?

Well, sort of. A better way to describe this would be in terms of the appropriateness of one’s disposition within specific contexts. I believe this is because being unclean also includes the spiritual (or ceremonial) aspect – that is to say, certain experiences, like having orgasms, PMS, and touching bugs and dead things, affect one’s Frame of mind and emotional disposition, such that one becomes unable to enjoy, or unfit to attend formal white tie events.

The emotion of disgust is the near opposite of joy, and several passages in scripture associate joy with a vibrant life in the presence of God.

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~ Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” ~ Psalm 95:2 (NKJV)

Put simply, the mundanities of life are just not fitting nor dignified, and thereby spoil the joys of a formal experience.

From a simple TRP perspective, the two states are incompatible.

For a visual experience of the difference, please overlook my amateur photoshop skills and “feel the difference” between the images below. [Viewer warning: the third and fourth images may be disturbing.]

paradise 1

Image of a joyful beauty in paradise – soul inspiring!

survivor 1

Image of a down-to-earth man fighting against nature for survival – also very inspiring.

dirty job

Image of a down-to-earth man doing a very disgusting, but well-paying job. It’s still honorable and respectable, in spite of the stench.

defiled 1

Image of a joyful beauty at a meat rendering plant… Ugh! Pass me the barf bag, NOW!

I think everyone can agree that the juxtaposition of joy and beauty with death and decay is far worse than merely the sight of rotting carcasses at the glue factory. There’s no inherent value, meaning, or inspiration in it, and it destroys any value, meaning, and inspiration that might have been recognized of its constituent elements. In fact, once you’ve seen that last image, if you go back to view any of the previous three images again, you’ll find that they have lost all their power to inspire. That’s precisely the sentiment carried by the Biblical descriptions of being unclean.

I believe this is (at least partly) the idea that Jesus was referring to in the parables of the patches and wineskins.

“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” ~ Matthew 9:16-17 (NKJV)

Leviticus 15 talks further about ceremonial uncleanliness. It says that women are unclean during their menstrual cycle, and that men are unclean after a seminal emission.

16 ‘If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening. 17 And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and be unclean until evening. 18 Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.
19 ‘If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. 20 Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. 21 Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 22 And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23 If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. 24 And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.” ~ Leviticus 15:16-24 (NKJV)

For menstruation and ejaculation, the jism, blood, stains, and odors are obviously properties that determine an unclean state. And we know how women are often in a foul mood too, during their menstrual cycle.

But in addition to the malodorous menses and meandrous moods, we might also presume (from a spiritual view) that a psychological state of post orgasmic delirium is also concomitant with becoming unclean.

By comparing the faces of pleasure and pain, we get a glimpse of how an orgasm might be considered unclean, while suffering is not. The faces expressing pain are disturbing, but still remain respectable and relatable. But the schmoozy O faces appear psychotic and creepy within the context of polite company. This phenomenon is apparently true across sex, race and culture.


Image source: Motherboard (feat. Samantha Cole): Researchers Studied How Facial Expressions for Orgasms and Pain Differ Across Cultures (October 16, 2018).

To further explore this effect, let’s consider how people’s moods will change after having sex (as in Leviticus 15:18). For a visual comparison of the pre, in vitro, and post dopamine/oxytocin states, take a look at these photo illustrations from Brazilian photographer, Marcos Alberti, who teamed up with sex toy brand Smile Makers to capture the cum laud faces of women within shuddering throes and curled toes, in a collection he calls, “The O Project” [Viewer warning: link NSFW].

My comments follow the visual teaser.


In the pre-oxytocin state, the subjects appear (relatively) dignified and rational. But after grunting through an O, each person takes on a different aura. Some women get silly and giggly, some become bumbling buffoons, some get proud and disdainful, some get catty and mean, some just get zoned out and sh!t faced, and a few actually become more soft, warm and loving. Their change in spirit cannot be denied. In fact, the Bible says that this is when you really “know” a person in the carnal sense.

Different strokes for different blokes. Different post O’s for different host hoes. But the bottom line is that something in their spiritual constitution has changed. It’s not a permanent change, but it’s definitely not appropriate nor suitable within certain contexts. Hence, the person would be considered unclean in this state.

Now the women in these photos were only lancing their loins with a sex toy product, and there was no “emission of semen” as stated in Leviticus. But if an actual man were introduced into her orgasmic thrall, and the specified genetic condiments were tossed onto the salad, then that’s when the real permanence of defilement sets in.

The next post will cover the topic of Defilement.


Some rather unsurprising conclusions about ceremonial uncleanness are as follows.

  • The gut-turning blend of the beautiful and the unseemly, is a characteristic quality of a state of being unclean.
  • Activities or experiences which elicit rancorous disgust detract from one’s sense of confidence and joy in a formal dignified setting.
  • Similarly, activities or experiences which cast one into an inebriated or unsober state of being defer one from being in a rational and reasonable state of mind, which may have a direct impact on the decisions and/or events in one’s life.


Sigma Frame:

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
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14 Responses to What does it mean to be Unclean?

  1. ramman3000 says:

    “…unclean, defile, consecrate, and sanctify…ceremonial uncleanness…”

    These are all real biblical terms, but you are not using them in a biblical way. Much of what I write will be derived from the book “Paul was not a Christian” by Pamela Eisenbaum, a book that I recommend, especially in light of your planned series.

    There are two kinds of impurity, ritual impurity (or ceremonial uncleanliness) and moral impurity. These are related, but different.

    Ritual impurities are human conditions that render an Israelite/Jew unclean. It is a temporary (and contagious) condition that removes one from sanctity (the presence of God). It had two purposes: (1) regulate the boundary between human and divine; and (2) keep the boundaries between Israel and (Gentile) nations. It is not associated with sin. It requires various cleansing rituals. By contrast, moral impurity comes from certain kinds of sin, specifically idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed. It requires severe punishment, exile, or death. Like ritual impurity, it removes one from sanctity.

    Ritual purity applies only to Jews, moral purity applies to everyone. The Gentiles are not a party to God’s covenant with the Jews, so the rules do not apply to them. So touching the semen of a Jewish man makes a Jew unclean, but the semen of a Gentile does not. The Jews were set aside and held to a higher standard. Gentiles cannot be ceremonially unclean.

    Purity and sanctity are not equivalent. Sanctification is a state of being consecrated to God, and purity provides the regulations/rituals and boundaries to maintain sanctification. Purity is a privilege that permits entrance into the presence of God.

    Of note is that there is nothing morally impure about sex.


  2. ramman3000 says:

    “Put simply, the mundanities of life are just not fitting nor dignified, and thereby spoil the joys of a formal experience.”

    If my above comment seemed critical, it was not meant as so. Indeed, this simple summary captures the purpose of the Jewish system of ritual purity exactly. God wanted his chosen, priestly nation to take coming into his presence seriously, not casually. Those rituals do not apply to Christians, but the calls to live in a pure and holy way, to be sanctified and consecrated to God, is a central theme of the NT, and Paul’s writings in particular.

    We are a priesthood of believers, called to be holy at all times in our hearts and minds. This transcends ritualistic rules to get at their purpose. Indeed, I’d argue that the Christian standard is actually higher than the Jewish standard, much like how Deep Strength recently pointed out that Christian standards for divorce are higher than Jewish standards. Or how Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, raised the standards for righteous living across the board.

    I disagree with regards to sex. If the Jew was made impure because God wanted to ritually set their mindset, the Christian should instead use sex to point to the maker of sex, to feel pleasure and praise God.


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