Period sex can be a very controversial issue—mainly because menstrual myth has a strong foothold on the topic. A few of these myths include, but are by no means limited to the idea that: period sex will increase your flow, your sheets will be reminiscent of a scene from a Wes Craven film, it will be painful, women can’t become aroused when menstruating, and so on. So, let me first tackle a few of these myths…
Having sex on your period will in no way affect your flow for the long term. However, uterine contractions during orgasm may temporarily push more blood through the cervix, and an increase in vaginal secretions may make it seem like your flow has gotten heavier, but it’s temporary.
Sex on your period isn’t overly messy. While yes, you and your partner will come into contact with some blood, it is not going to look like a murder scene. You can put a towel down to catch any flow or even use a menstrual cup if you prefer (please be aware that menstrual cups are not a form of birth control). You can also relegate period sex to your lighter days to help minimize any concerns you have about mess.
Having sex, better yet, having orgasms during your period can actually help with menstrual cramping. Orgasms have been shown to raise the threshold for pain because they release oxytocin, a natural pain reliever. Also, during the “resolution” phase of an orgasm, the uterine muscles relax. Plus, who doesn’t feel all chill and relaxed after an orgasm?
Female arousal can actually increase during the menstrual phase for several reasons. First, many women believe they are protected from pregnancy* during menstruation and feel more uninhibited. Second, an increase in blood flow through the reproductive organs during menstruation can create a heaviness in the uterus, vagina, and labia. This sensation mimics the heaviness many women feel during arousal. Third, menstruation creates an increase in vaginal lubrication which can subconsciously trigger arousal in women who associate that sensation with pleasurable sex.
OK, now that we have covered the why of women wanting to have sex on their periods, let’s talk about the how.
When you are menstruating, your cervix becomes slightly dilated to let the blood pass from the uterus into the vagina. This can put you at an increased risk of contracting an STI. Therefore, it is imperative to use a condom each and every time you have sex with an unsteady, non-monogamous partner. In case you need another reason to use condoms during menstrual sex, while it is rare, it is absolutely possible to become pregnant. Remember, sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days. So, if you have unprotected sex on day six of your period and ovulate on day 10…
So, protect yourself.
In conclusion, it is perfectly acceptable to engage in safe sexual activity on your period. Whether or not you want to have sex while menstruating is completely up to you. If you take precautions against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, there is absolutely no reason you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy sex on your period. If you and your partner are both comfortable with period sex, I say go for it.
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Amy Sutherland is a period-positive advocate, educator and writer. She prefers tackling topics like reproductive health, fertility, sexuality, feminism, social justice issues and all those tricky subjects you avoid talking about at family gatherings. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Women’s Health as well as a Graduate Certificate in Holistic Health Studies. Read her full bio here.