Lunaception is a practice that purports to enable a woman to know ahead of time when she will be fertile each month, based on practices stated by its advocate to be found in many non-urban cultures. It was named and described by Louise Lacey in her 1974 book Lunaception, and she maintains a website advocating the theory. The practice includes making a daily chart of temperature, condition of vagina, mood, and other observables, and sleeping in complete darkness except for three days each month. The name comes from the assertion by the author that most women's menstrual cycles usually become synchronized to one phase of the Moon during the three nights of sleeping with light. Lunaception has not received scientific testing.
The theory is primarily based upon personal testimonies of the author and her claims about ancient cultures drawing a link between menstruation and the moon. Lacey claims that in many cultures,[which?] menstruation arrived with the new moon and fertility came with the full moon.
Lacey posits that before electricity, most women experienced their menstrual cycles with the phases of the moon and at more or less the same time as all other women. The method uses light to control ovulation. The recommendation is that all light be excluded from the bedroom at night, except during the three fullest days of the moon (the day of the full moon and the days preceding and following), when a small light should shine throughout the night. It is claimed that after several months, the menstrual cycle should come into balance with the light. When attempting to conceive, intercourse is recommended on those three nights when the moon is fullest.
References in culture
- Tom Robbins made lunaception a subplot in his novel, Still Life with Woodpecker.
- Barbara Kingsolver makes reference to it in her novel, Prodigal Summer.
- It is standard practice in Anita Diamant's novel The Red Tent.