By: Lindsay Curtis
Half of the population has a menstrual cycle and bleeds every month. It’s a completely normal, healthy bodily function. But in our culture, there’s a lot of fear-mongering about menstruation, particularly when it comes to having sex on your period. Is it safe?
Mostly, yes. In fact, period sex comes with some benefits. However, there are reasons to take precautions if you choose to do the dirty on your period. Let’s dive in and talk about the messy world of period sex.
Benefits to Having Period Sex
Having sex during your period is not only enjoyable, but it has health benefits, too. Win, win! Let’s explore some of the positives to period sex.
Relief from menstrual cramp pain
Before you reach for the ibuprofen the next time you have painful menstrual cramps, try having an orgasm instead. “Orgasms have been linked to a reduction in menstrual cramps,” says Adina Mahalli, Certified Relationship Expert with Maple Holistics. “This is because the muscles in your uterus contract and release when you orgasm, helping alleviate the pain associated with cramps.”
Bonus: these contractions also help your uterine lining shed faster!
Improve your mood
Feeling irritable, sensitive and emotional are all normal in the days leading up to and during your period. Orgasms release endorphins (happy hormones) into your bloodstream, helping curb any menstrual moodiness you may be experiencing. “I’m often a grouch when menstruating, thanks to fluctuating hormones and cramps. But my partner and I have both noticed a definite improvement in my mood after we have sex on my grouchy period days,” says Beth H., a self-proclaimed period sex proponent.
Many people experience headaches caused by hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle, and we all know that “honey, I have a headache” is a common excuse to avoid having sex with a partner. But did you know, orgasms actually help relieve headache pain? In a 2013 study, researchers found that sexual activity relieved migraine pain in 60 percent of migraine sufferers, and in one-third of patients who experience cluster headaches.
Proceed with Caution: Potential Period Sex Consequences
It may get messy
Things can get a little messy when you have period sex. This is particularly true if you plan on penetration being a part of your sexual activities because you’ll need to remove your tampon or menstrual cup before you get busy. (Note: some menstrual cups are safe to leave in during sex while others need to be removed, so find out which type yours is beforehand). In order to prepare for a messier-than-usual romp, you may want to lay a towel down on the surface to avoid getting bloodstains on your sheets or furniture. Some people prefer to have sex once their menstrual flow is lighter for this reason.
Increased risk of STI
Your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) increases during your period. This is because when you’re bleeding, your cervix opens slightly to allow blood to pass from the uterus, which means that bacteria and viruses can pass through the cervix and into your uterine cavity. Your vagina also lacks its usual protective acidic pH levels during your period, making it easier for microbes to survive and proliferate, increasing your risk of infection.
Your partner may feel squeamish
Some people are not comfortable having sex with a partner while they have their period, worrying about blood being a major turn-off. Some may feel squeamish having sex with a partner who is bleeding, while others are just unaware of what having period sex entails. Communicating openly and honestly with your partner about your feelings surrounding period sex can help you establish what you’re both comfortable with.
Is Oral Sex Okay While Menstruating?
Oral sex while on your period doesn’t need to be off-limits. If you and your partner are both comfortable with it, go for it! Some people choose to wear a tampon or menstrual cup during oral sex in order to avoid getting up close and personal with blood. It all boils down to personal preference, so that’s why communicating with your partner ahead of time about your desires and comfort levels is so important.
If you do decide to incorporate oral into your sex life while you’re bleeding, your partner can expect your vulva to taste a little different when they go down on you — it may have a more “metallic” taste to it that isn’t ordinarily there.
Period Sex: Points to Remember
“Your period shouldn’t stop you from having sex if you want to,” says Katie Ziskind, a holistic marriage and family therapist in Connecticut. Period sex is absolutely okay, normal and pleasurable. Though your chances of conceiving are lower during your period, you still run the risk of getting pregnant, so be sure to practice safe sex.
If you or your partner would rather not deal with messy towels and sheets, you can avoid penetrative sex and instead focus on clitoral stimulation while wearing a menstrual cup or tampon. Using vibrators such as the Lioness Vibrator or other sex toys can help elevate your pleasure in the bedroom, too.
If you’re in the mood and you and your partner are both onboard, don’t let your period get in the way of enjoying yourself with some sexual fun!
Want to see what orgasms look like on your period? Try the Lioness Smart Vibrator.
The Lioness Smart Vibrator uses precision sensors to let you literally *see* your own arousal and orgasms. That way, you can explore how different factors (like your menstrual cycle) affect your orgasms!