If you find yourself inconveniently hornier when you’re menstruating—there’s a reason behind it. The two hormones to thank for cranking up your libido are progesterone (which makes the vagina and clitoris feel engorged) and oxytocin, also known as "the love hormone." So, what does one do when you’re feeling in the mood but have a period to worry about?
First, it’s important that we distinguish the difference between something being ‘taboo’ versus ‘gross.’ While many may feel embarrassment around the idea of period sex, the truth of the matter is that outside of societal conditioning, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! As long as both partners consent, period sex can be just as enjoyable as any other kind of sex— if not more, thanks to the addition of natural lubricant!
And if you suffer from cramps, sex may actually help alleviate them! Leading up to (and directly following) an orgasm, your uterine muscles tend to relax, which can bring ease to the discomfort of tight menstrual cramps. Consider an orgasm to be your body's natural dupe of PMS Complete.
We know you’ve got pressing questions, so here’s everything you need to know about period sex, from pregnancy risk to how to keep things (like your sheets) clean.
Is it safe to have sex during your period?
Short answer, yes. However, if you’re aiming to avoid pregnancy, you may still want to use protection. There’s a general misconception that you can’t get pregnant while having sex on your period, but in truth, you might not totally be in the clear. It’s true that the time of menstruation is outside of your fertility window, but ultimately, it all depends on your cycle calendar.
It’s generally understood that the female reproductive system operates on a 28-day cycle, with menstruation starting on day one and ovulation taking place on day 14. Our prime fertilization window happens from five days before ovulation to 24 hours after the egg is released, which excludes the time of menstruation. However, if your cycle varies, ovulation could make an earlier appearance, and sperm can live for up to five days in the female body. There’s certainly less of a risk, but a risk nonetheless.
Otherwise, there are no real worries exclusive to sex on your period! You’re always at a risk of STDs and pelvic infections any time you have intercourse, but the use of diaphragms (which can double as birth control devices and as menstrual cups) and condoms are a good solution.
Breaking the taboo about period sex
Having sex while menstruating isn't weird, uncommon, unhygienic, or unsafe. Let’s debunk the rumors and discuss some common misconceptions.
Does period sex make you more attached?
Many women have spoken on experiencing a period sex bond, with many spiritual practices centered around having intercourse with your desired partner during menstruation to “bind souls.” While various belief systems across the globe ritualize period blood as a powerful tool, beyond a deepened sense of connection due to intimacy, there’s no scientific backing that period sex will make either partner more attached. We’ll leave this answer up to you and your faith.
Does sex affect periods?
While having sex on your period won’t result in any significant long-term changes in your monthly cycle, it may shorten the duration of the one you’re currently on! This is because the contracting muscles drive out everything faster. Your period may be a bit heavier, but there’s a chance it'll shrink in duration.
What we’ve all been waiting for: Period Sex Tips!
Ready to take it to the sheets? Here are some tips for safe and enjoyable period sex.
Choreography is key, and sex positions that keep your torso relatively flat enlist the help of gravity to keep period sex as clean as possible. Since a lot of the pain accompanying menstruation has to do with your uterus and ovaries, you’ll want to avoid sex positions that put pressure on those areas.
The best positions for period sex include:
- Doggy style
If using a sex toy or partner with a penis, be careful about deep penetration, since your cervix may be lower and more sensitive during your period. And remember: never wear a tampon during penetration!
How to have cleaner period sex:
- If mess is a major concern, stick to your lighter days, which for most people are days 3-5 are rather than 1 and 2.
- Lay down a towel and keep a washcloth nearby for a quick wipe-down in between positions.
If willing, invest in a luxe "sex blanket," designed to absorb liquids!
- If odor is an issue, throw on some blankets above your midsections to help block any wafting scents.
- Ever wondered, “how can I stop my period during sex?” The answer is easier than you think—engage in shower or bathtub sex! Water temporarily stops the flow when you are submerged, plus it will naturally help keep things clean.
If part of your practice, it’d be a good time to shift focus on anal sex! You certainly wouldn't be alone: 72% of Americans have tried a form of butt play.
If we’re keeping it oral but your partner doesn’t exactly have a vampire’s thirst for blood, make sure they know not to venture farther below the clitoris. You can help ensure this by putting a washcloth against the lower half of the vulva, or keeping your tampon // menstrual cup in. The Flex menstrual cup was even designed for mess-free period sex.
How to get blood stains out of fabric
If things already got a bit messy, here are some quick and easy steps on how to get the stains out:
- Treat your sheets with white vinegar before washing them. Let the vinegar sit for 10-15 minutes, gently rub the stain with a wet towel, and throw in the wash.
- Hydrogen peroxide or fresh lemon juice work wonders as well, but only on white or lighter-colored sheets.
- Never employ hot water to remedy a blood stain! It’ll set it before you can get it out. Use icy-cold water instead.
- If all else fails, mix baking soda or crushed aspirin with cold water and apply the paste to the fabric, gently rubbing it in. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes and then wash it in the washing machine on your normal setting.