Having sex during periods


Can a Girl Get Pregnant if She Has Sex During Her Period?

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Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?
– Jamie*

Yes, a girl can get pregnant during her period. This might happen when:

  • A girl has bleeding that she thinks is a period, but it’s bleeding from . Ovulation is the monthly release of an egg from a girls ovaries. It is the time when she is most likely to get pregnant if she has sex.
  • Ovulation happens before the bleeding from a girl’s period has stopped.
  • Ovulation happens within a few days after a girl’s period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for 3 days. So if a girl has sex on the last day of her period and ovulates in the next few days, the sperm may still fertilize the egg.

Having unprotected sex at any time is risky. Along with the risk of getting pregnant, you could also get an STD, such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only way to completely prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence (not having sex).

If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STDs. For added protection, many couples use condoms along with another method of birth control, like birth control pills or an IUD. Talk to your doctor about the best type of birth control for you.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD Date reviewed: November 2018

Is It Safe to Have Sex During Your Period?

Here’s what you need to know about having safe sex during your period.

Infection Risk From Sex During Your Period

It’s crucial to practice safe sex while you’re having your period because you could still get or transmit an STI, like HIV, during this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus may be present in menstrual blood. Therefore, doctors strongly encourage using a condom to decrease this risk.

Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says that anecdotally speaking, there are two reasons for this risk. “Any bodily fluid can carry HIV or STIs, and , the cervix opens slightly, which might allow viruses to pass through,” she says. “My message to women is you’re not off the hook as far as using protection.”

You may also be more prone to some infections in general at this time. Your vagina maintains a pH level of 3.8 to 4.5 throughout the month, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). But during menstruation, that level rises because of the higher pH level of blood, and yeast is able to grow more rapidly.

Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are more likely to occur the week before your menstrual period, and intercourse during this time can exacerbate symptoms. But clear evidence is lacking for any increased risk of getting a yeast infection if you have sex during your period.

There’s also the dreaded UTI. “Some women can be more prone to having urinary tract infections after intercourse,” says Dr. Coleman. “This is most likely related to bacteria being able to easily travel to the bladder with intercourse, but it may happen at any point during the menstrual cycle.”

Risk of Pregnancy During Your Period

Yes, you can get pregnant when you have your period, especially if you have a shorter menstrual cycle (21 to 24 days) and you have have sex toward the end of your period. Sperm can remain viable in your vagina for up to five days, so pregnancy is possible, and it’s important to continue to use birth control.

Less Need for Vaginal Lubrication

You’re less likely to need lubricants if you engage in intercourse during menstruation, because menstrual discharge tends to provide enough lubrication. If you do need a lubricant, then “water-based lubricants are widely available and safe both for sex and for condoms,” says ob/gyn James Simon, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. “Silicone and hybrid lubricants that are water-based and silicone-based are likewise safe for both sex and condoms. Oil-based lubricants, especially mineral oil-based lubricants, can deteriorate condoms — increasing the risk of breakage — and are not recommended with latex condoms,” he says.

Period Sex as a Pain Reliever

If you experience symptoms such as cramping, feelings of sadness, or depression during your period, having sex at this time may be beneficial. Dr. Streicher says that because orgasms release endorphins — feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine — in theory they could also decrease some period symptoms. “There’s no harm in trying,” she says.

Women who have endometriosis, on the other hand, may experience more pain and other symptoms when they have their period, as well as pain that occurs with sexual activity or orgasm. However, treatments are available, and sex doesn’t have to hurt. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible; the earlier you speak up, the sooner you can feel better and enjoy sex again.

Sexual Arousal During Your Period

You may feel more sexually aroused and sensitive during this time of the month because of the changes in your hormone levels. Some women experience an increased feeling of congestion in the pelvic area, which can also ramp up your sex drive. But for some women, this extra sensitivity may make it uncomfortable to have sex during this time. (If you don’t like having sex when you have your period, there are birth control options that can make your period shorter, lighter, and/or less frequent, or even eliminate your period altogether.) Remember that there’s nothing shameful or dirty about having your period — it’s totally natural, and there’s nothing wrong with having sex during that time of the month. The bottom line is to make sure that both you and your partner are comfortable with the situation. “Don’t assume anything,” Dr. Simon says. “Open questions with honest answers beforehand are paramount.”


Medical Approach

From a modern medical point of view, the health risks from sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman are the following: I. Vaginal sexual intercourse without precaution (e.g., use of condom) during or shortly after menstruation is a risk factor for the heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted pathogens and the subsequent development of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affecting, inter alia, the health of the reproductive tract (9-15). Although sexually transmitted pathogens can be transmitted regardless of menstruation, they may be passed on more easily during menstruation (both from woman to man and vice versa) (10). We also note that infection from chlamydia and gonorrhea are important preventable causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility (9). Untreated, about 10-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID (9). Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms. PID and “silent” infection in the upper genital tract may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, which can lead to infertility (9). The transmission of STDs during menstruation is facilitated by loss of the protective barrier (cervical mucous plug), the presence of iron in the menstrual fluid, the dilated cervical opening, the elevated alkaline pH of the vagina and the premenstrual peak of estrogen and progesterone (12, 16, 17).

II. Vaginal sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman could lead to an increase in the flow of menstrual blood (18), because the veins of the uterus are congested and prone to rupture, and thus are damaged easily. Some women actually notice that their period stops one or two days after sexual intercourse. This phenomenon occurs because sexual intercourse causes contractions in the uterus resulting in the menstrual material to expel more quickly and hence the menstruation to stop faster than usual.

III. Although the chances of pregnancy during unprotected menstrual sexual contact are very small, they do not completely disappear. This occurs because sperm can survive within the woman’s body for a few days and, in the case of premature ovulation (e.g., short menstrual cycle of 21 to 24 days), can cause pregnancy, which is undesirable most of the time.

IV. Vaginal sexual intercourse during menstruation is a possible risk factor for the development of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a hormone-dependent, chronic inflammatory gynecological disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue in sites other than the uterine cavity (19, 20). Endometrial lesions are primarily located on the pelvic peritoneum and ovaries but can also be found in the pericardium, pleura, lung parenchyma, and even the brain (20). This disease affects approximately 10% of reproductive-aged women and 20% to 50% of infertile women (20). The etiology of the disease likely reflects retrograde menstruation, coelomic metaplasia, or both (20). However, it also involves a complex interplay of genetic, anatomic, environmental, immunologic and infectious factors (19-22). Common clinical symptoms include pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea (cyclical pain associated with menstruation), dyspareunia (pain with or following sexual intercourse) and abnormal uterine bleeding and infertility (21). In addition, endometriosis may negatively impact mental health and quality of life and for this reason, affected women may have an increased risk of developing psychological suffering as well as sexual problems due to the presence of pain (21, 23). There is controversy in medical bibliography about the role of menstrual sexual intercourse in the occurrence of endometriosis. Filer and Wu (24) found that infertility patients who frequently or occasionally engaged in coitus during menstruation were almost twice more likely to have endometriosis than those who did not report coital behavior during menses, while such coital activity was unrelated to PID. The authors proposed that this difference may be due to increased intrauterine pressure during orgasm, which assists in the transport of endometrial debris to an ectopic site (24). In a study (25) focusing on the belief that women with endometriosis typically delay childbirth, no association was found between orgasm and sexual penetration during menstruation and endometriosis. Another investigation (26), which was designed to examine if sexual activity and hygienic practices during menstruation are associated with an increased risk for the development of endometriosis, revealed that sexual activity, orgasm, and tampon use during menstruation may confer protection against endometriosis.

V. Sexual intercourse during menstruation can affect negatively the man’s sexual desire (libido) and make him temporarily impotent because of the presence and smell of menstrual material. Also, the bad physical and psychological state of women before (e.g., premenstrual syndrome ) or during menstruation due to a variety of factors (e.g., painful cramps , anxiety, depression, migraine headaches, low blood pressure, and reduction of temperature) most times does not favor their mood for sexual intercourse.

Vaginal sexual intercourse during or shortly after menstruation was suggested in the Hippocratic corpus, a compilation of Greek medical texts written by various authors throughout the 5th and 4th centuries BC and subsequently associated with the renowned physician Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460–c. 370 BC). This suggestion was based on the incorrect view of Hippocratians about conception, as they considered the last few days of menstruation as fertile days (see On the Eighth Month’s Fetus: 13, On the Nature of the Child: 15, Diseases of Women 1: 11 and 17) (27). Among the gynecological diseases and syndromes in the Women’s Books of the Hippocratic corpus, STDs and various inflammations of the female reproductive system are described as causes of female infertility (27). The conditions for transmission of these diseases appear to be favorable mainly due to ignorance of pathogenic bacteria and viruses at that time, men’s sexual habits, and sexual intercourse during menstruation (27). Also, several relatively unambiguous disease profiles that allude to the wandering womb and other symptoms suggestive of endometriosis have been identified in the Hippocratic corpus (28).

Commenting on the Provisions of the Mosaic Law about female impurity during their menstruation and its consequences (see Leviticus 15:19-30), we believe that these were Jewish beliefs imposed mainly by social and cultural principles of the time, which were then invested with religious authority (cf. Colossians 2:22-23). These were historical creations directed at specific people of a particular era to achieve specific goals. Thus, it cannot be ruled out that the classification of a menstruating woman as unclean and the prohibition of sexual intercourse were to protect her from the transmission of STDs given the inadequate conditions for hygiene of her body, the ignorance of the existence of microbes and viruses, the absence of condoms and so on at that time. This view is advocated by the order to purify the body with water, not only for the unclean men or women, but also after every sexual intercourse (see Leviticus 15:17). It is obvious that compliance with hygiene rules during sexual intercourse would increase the fertility of men and women and would surely contribute to the birth of healthy offspring, just as God had promised to Abraham (see Genesis 15:1; 22:17) (29). So, the term “unclean” for a menstruating woman served this aim. We must also not overlook the fact that the Provisions of the Mosaic Law were laid down during the 12 months of the Israelites’ stay in the Sinai desert and that these rules had to be applied then under the difficult hygiene conditions of the barren, dry, warm and inhospitable deserts of the Sinai Peninsula. These Provisions, aiming to promote the health of Israelites and prevent them from contracting STDs, proved God’s providence for the preservation and growth of His chosen people. In modern times, the prohibition of sexual intercourse during menstruation and other relative sexual hygiene rules might have a significant benefit for people of a similar social and cultural status and circumstances to people of that time (30-32). Besides, we cannot ignore the fact that the Old Testament and the Mosaic Codes provided the basis for modern public health and hygiene rules (preventive medicine) practiced in our times (33). However, the characterization of menstruating women as unclean, interpreted according to the letter, and not in the spirit of the Mosaic Law, is undoubtedly a violation of women’s personality.

Although sexual intercourse without precautionary measures during menstruation is likely to be the time of the greatest bacterial contamination of the reproductive tract, it is normal and not perversion. It is sufficient that the couple know and apply the rules of safe sex to avoid an undesirable pregnancy and to prevent the development of STDs or possible endometriosis. The same rules are also suggested in the case of sexual intercourse when the woman has no menstruation. It is very important for the menstruating woman not only to be released from taboos and prejudices that make her feel guilty and a shamed, but also mainly to understand that she is not “unclean” and that she must have a healthy attitude and respect towards her body. For such sexual intercourse there must be the consent of both. The above-mentioned health risks are not God’s punishment for breaking His commandments regarding sexual intercourse as some claim, but the price of applied sexual behavior and choices. Let us remember the words of Apostle Paul: “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

6 Things You Should Know About Having Sex During Your Period

Every fan of the book version of 50 Shades of Grey remembers that much talked-about tampon scene, when Christian removes Anastasia’s tampon before they have sex. It probably made you wonder: Should I be having sex on my period? Is it safe? Will I like it? (And will my partner?)

We talked with Tara Ford, a physician assistant at the Medical Center for Female Sexuality in Purchase, New York, to get those answers and more.

Here’s what you should know about having sex on your period—the good, the bad, and the slightly messy.

RELATED: Is It Just Me or Is Sleeping in a Tampon a Bad Move?

Doctors are all for period sex

“If the patient is comfortable with it, then it’s great to continue having sex throughout the month and not have to take a break,” says Ford. “It’s perfectly natural and safe for both partners.”

To avoid stained sheets (her patients’ biggest concern), she recommends putting a towel down on the bed, or getting busy in the shower. And don’t be concerned if you see dark red or brown clumps during or after sex; that’s just older blood, and it’s perfectly normal.

RELATED: 12 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Period

You might like it—a lot

Arousal is different for every woman, and some may be too distracted by their period and its annoyances to actually get in the mood for sex. But for others, menstruation could actually be a turn-on of sorts. That’s because your estrogen and testosterone are low on day 1 of your cycle (the day your period starts), but they start to rise by day 3. “Some women report they feel more aroused and more sensitive around this time,” says Ford.

Plus, your flow can serve as extra lubrication during sex, which can also increase pleasure. If you typically use a store-bought lubricant to help with dryness during sex, this may be your week to go natural. Some research suggests that orgasms can even relieve menstrual cramping and PMS.

…And your partner might, too

Women shouldn’t assume their partner will be grossed out by their period. In fact, it’s often the person who’s menstruating who puts a stop to sex, not her other half, Ford says. Every couple is different, and some people will be more open to it than others. If you’re curious what your partner might think, however, don’t spring it on him or her in the heat of the moment—bring it up before things get hot and heavy. “Good communication can lead to great sex at any time during the month,” she says.

RELATED: Why Does Period Blood Smell? An Ob-Gyn Explains

You can minimize the mess

Wearing a menstrual cup or a female condom can help reduce the amount of blood that might come out during intercourse, Ford says. If you’re not comfortable using one of these, even a regular condom can make cleanup easier—for your partner, at least. Having sex in the missionary position can also limit blood flow (thanks, gravity!), as can having sex toward the end of your period, when your flow is lighter.

You’ve got options

If you’re not into intercourse during your period, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy other sexual encounters (mess free!). “She can wear a tampon and the focus can be on the clitoris,” says Ford, and she can still help her partner orgasm with manual or oral stimulation.

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Should Have Sex on Your Period

Don’t forget protection

You can still get pregnant if you have sex while on your period. “Some periods last more than a week and sometimes a woman’s ovulation can overlap with menstruation,” says Ford. On top of that, sperm can live for 3 to 5 days. If you’re on birth control and take it as directed (including during your placebo week), you should be fine—but if you skip a day or two, don’t chance it without another form of protection.

You’ll also need a form of barrier protection if you don’t know your partner’s STI status. Because the cervix is more open during this time of month (which allows blood to pass), you have a slightly higher risk of infection from exposure to a sexually transmitted disease during unprotected sex, Ford says.

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Can having sex on your period help with period pain?

Between 16 and 91% of menstruating women suffer from pain during their period.1 Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea) are the result of chemicals called prostaglandins being released from the uterus, which occurs in response to a natural drop in the hormone progesterone just prior to your period starting every month. Prostaglandins are responsible for uterus muscle contractions, which can bring on tummy pain and cramping. There are many well-known methods of easing this monthly lower abdomen pelvic cramping. Often, taking the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine ibuprofen (this acts to counteract the effect of prostaglandins) is all it takes for the crampy pains to subside. Alternative common pain-relieving methods include cuddling a hot water bottle, hot baths or showers, wearing looser clothing, and exercise.

A lesser known method of pain relief, but a surprisingly effective one, is having sex. In one Masters and Johnson survey of women, 90% said they had no objection to sex during their period.2

Sex? Really?

Until 1972, when a bestselling book called The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking was published, sex during menstruation remained a taboo. Interestingly, this book features chapters in a food menu format, with sex during menstruation in the chapter referred to as a “main meal”, highlighting the importance of this ‘course’ in sexual relationships. The book’s author takes a positive spin on having sex during your period, and even suggests that menstruation is an opportunistic time to vary your sexual routine and explore new sexual activity, as during your period there is more natural lubrication present. For example, femoral sex (between the thighs) is easier to achieve comfortably during your period due to minimal friction.

Historically, general menstruation etiquette for women seemed to be, quite simply, don’t have sex during this time.3 Religious beliefs have also dictated behaviours related to abstaining from sex during menstruation and, in some areas of the world, women can still be excluded from society for the duration of their period.4 That being said, in other cultures, taboos surrounding periods and sex have almost been erased entirely, and many women continue to have and to enjoy sex while on their period.

How sex helps with pain

Sex can actually be very helpful in relieving painful periods. Vaginal stimulation (in the form of penetration) can produce effective pain relief due to pressure to the vagina, and has been shown to increase women’s pain threshold by 75%. For those in the same study who reached orgasm, by both penetrative sex and masturbation, their ability to tolerate pain was increased by 100%.5

The scientific explanation for this is simply that the nerves don’t communicate period pain when women orgasm via vaginal stimulation.6 However, the mechanism of orgasmic pain relief is yet to be fully understood. We do know that noradrenaline levels increase significantly during orgasm, and with the corresponding rise in heart rate and blood pressure, blood flow increases to the genitals, engorging the blood vessels significantly at orgasm. There may be a pulsation in the vagina following orgasm, which is a direct result of the effects of noradrenaline. This noradrenaline-mediated achievement of reaching orgasm is what acts to inhibit the pain communication from the pelvic organs to the brain, and can last for up to an hour post-ograsm.7

The brain also releases the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) dopamine, acetylcholine, nitric oxide, and serotonin, as well as noradrenaline, which are all involved in the feel-good, positive, endorphin-induced high we experience as a result of sexual stimulation and orgasm, enhancing our pleasure.8 Dopamine communicates satisfaction with sex via an area in the brain called the mesolimbic “reward” pathway, which is also involved in natural highs such as those experienced by drug use. Acetylcholine and nitric oxide are involved in genital lubrication, and increase in genital blood flow.

Other benefits of having sex on your period

Sex during menstruation is also a way to further improve bonding with your partner, and the thrill of doing something new may heighten your sexual experience.9 This enhanced bonding is mediated by the release of oxytocin and prolactin, hormones involved in the reward system during sex and orgasm.10

Another benefit of sex during menstruation is the fact that more blood may be released and shed. It is known that uterine contractions intensify during the oxytocin release triggered by orgasm.11 Due to powerful uterine contractions, prostaglandins (chemicals which cause the painful cramping) leak out along with uterine lining blood.12 Many women may find the duration of their period is shortened as a result of this.

But it’s also okay to not want to

In terms of sex drive fluctuations around the time of menstruation, every woman is different. Some women may report feeling a greater desire for sex just prior to menstruation, whilst others report that off-putting painful cramps act as a negative influence on their desire to have sex. It is also possible to simply not feel like doing much at all, and sex may well be off the menu due to heavy flow, feeling unattractive, and feeling concerned about bleeding on your partner. At any point in your menstrual cycle it is important to note that it is perfectly ok to only have sex if you desire it, and also it is ok to make sure having sex feels right for you at the time.

For women who experience elevated pain as a result of having sex during their period, then it is definitely wise to inform your partner and stop having sex. Having sex should not cause your period pain to worsen. It would be advised to take anti inflammatory medicines (such as ibuprofen), as it is likely required to ease your period pain, which could have been worsened by pressure on the cervix during sex.

For period pains which affect your daily life, including absence from work, you can seek help from your GP. Mefenamic acid is another anti inflammatory medicine, like ibuprofen, however, it is only available on prescription from your GP. It acts to prevent the production of prostaglandins, therefore, preventing uterus cramping.

Overall, sex during menstruation has many health benefits, including effective pain relief, greater bonding with your partner, and opportunities for variation in sexual activity. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that there is a natural lubricant present. You don’t have to limit your sexual activity because you are menstruating, so take the opportunity to bond and experiment with your partner, if you are both happy and comfortable doing so.

Last updated June 2019
Next update due 2021

Go on, get it on. (Picture: Getty)

Period sex. A monthly delight or something to be entirely avoided and never spoken of?

According to the Facebook comments on our recent post about a tampon you can wear during sex, it’s a serious debate.

For some reason, loads of men and women think period sex is ‘gross’, ‘disgusting’, and ‘nasty’.

Which is pretty infuriating, to be honest, because all this squeamishness is just reinforcing the idea that periods are disgusting and shameful, and that – in effect – women’s bodies are, too.

This woman’s Facebook post about period-shaming is so important

We get that having sex on your period isn’t for every woman. Maybe your PMS doesn’t put you in the mood. Maybe you can’t relax because you’re too worried about spills. Maybe you’ve got crisp white bedsheets.

But if it is something you’re open to, DO IT. There is no reason not to, and so, so many reasons to back up why period sex is a glorious thing.

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1. It’s rarely as messy as you think

Unless you have extremely heavy periods, you’re very unlikely to end up in the pool of blood-stained sheets you’re imagining in your mind.

The average amount of blood released during menstruation is between 30 and 40ml. That’s over the course of a few days.

So imagine how little blood is actually being released per minute. Then consider how long your sex session is actually going to last. Hardly any blood. Seriously.

2. And if you do make a mess, you can always clean it up

Lay down an old blanket if it makes you less concerned about stains, and throw any bloody sheets in the wash immediately afterwards. Easy.

MORE: The 24 emotional stages of faking an orgasm

3. A reminder: it’s just blood. Nothing bad will happen if it gets on a guy’s dick

It’s not a toxic substance that will transform your sex buddy into PERIODMAN: DEFENDER OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND DISTRIBUTOR OF TAMPONS (although that would be seriously cool).

It’s uterine lining and blood. It’s really not a big deal if it goes on a penis. He can just wipe it off.

Any guy that kicks up a fuss about this needs to calm the f*** down and get over their fear of women’s bodies.

4. And on that note, women happily get men’s fluids inside and on them without a big fuss

He came inside you? Then he’s clearly fine with bodily excretions getting shared. There’s no reason for period blood to be any different.

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5. Periods are not ‘gross’ or ‘dirty’

They’re natural. They happen every month. They’re just a part of women’s bodies. It’s absolutely absurd that in 2016, we’re still having to explain that periods aren’t anything to be ashamed of.

6. And by having period sex, you’re taking down the stigma surrounding periods and women’s bodies

In a small, private way, sure. But you can pat yourself on the back for doing something positive. Through sex.

7. Having an orgasm can alleviate cramps

Orgasms are natural pain-relievers. They are magical. They’re also a lot more fun than taking a paracetamol.

8. Getting it on can actually shorten your period

All the contracting your uterus gets up to when you’re having an orgasm makes lining and blood come out faster, meaning that frequent sex sessions can reduce the length of your period by a day or two.

9. We’re usually hornier around our periods

Why are we skipping something we really, really want because we’re scared of a little blood?

Admit it, you’re horny as f*** when your period hits. Give in to what you want. Treat yourself.

10. It’ll make you feel sexier at a time when you’re bloated and feeling like crap

Eating nachos and getting teary at a video of a puppy doesn’t exactly make you feel like a sexy, empowered goddess of high self-esteem.

One way to ramp things up and remind yourself just how sexy you actually are? Having sex. Smart.


11. You won’t need lube

Period blood is a natural lubricant, bro.

12. If you’re really squeamish, there are loads of ways to keep the risk of blood getting everywhere minimal

He can wear a condom, if you’re terrified of the idea of a blood-covered penis.

You can lay a blanket on the bed. You can use a flexible tampon, designed especially for period sex (NEVER, EVER a regular tampon. Always remove these pre-sex, please). There are options.

13. Because everyone’s doing it

People hardly ever talk about having hot, amazing period sex. But trust us, loads of people are doing it and enjoying it.

If it’s not right for you, we’d never say you have to have sex on your period. That’s your choice.

But if shame and embarrassment is the only thing holding you back, take this as your permission to go forth and get ~sensual~: everyone’s doing it, it’s okay, and there’s really nothing to be ashamed of.

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MORE: These period pants let you decorate Donald Trump’s face with blood

MORE: 19 awkward sex things nobody prepared us for

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9 Period Sex Tips: How to Have Sex During Your Period

Period sex can be more fun than your regular routine. Yes, you heard right: Once you know how to have sex on your period, your time of the month won’t stop you from enjoying the best of life. But what makes sex during your period different from regular intercourse (besides, of course, blood)? And what’s the best way to embrace — and even enjoy — your time of the month in the bedroom? Here’s what you guys had to say about this once-taboo topic.

Can You Have Sex on Your Period?

The short answer is YES. Having penetrative and non-penetrative intercourse while menstruating is totally fine, as long as you’re comfortable and in the mood. For centuries, women have struggled with shame surrounding both their sensuality and menstruation.

There is no biological reason to feel bad about either of these things together or separately. In fact, there are many mental and physical health benefits to engaging in period sex if you and your partner are comfortable with it.

The biggest deterrent has long been the mess and embarrassment. There are, however, many ways to deal with menstrual blood — and many reasons for you and your partner to embrace it.

What Are the Benefits of Period Sex?

You heard right. There are real benefits to having intercourse while you’re menstruating. The biggest one, of course, is pleasure and #bodypositivity. If you’re in the mood and not afraid of the mess, here’s what you should consider.

Sex During Your Period Means Extra Lubrication

The biggest benefit may be that penetrative intercourse is actually easier for both parties. Many people cite menstrual fluid as a great — and all-natural — replacement for traditional lubricant. Don’t be Victorian about it: Menstrual fluid is organic and the perfect consistency to get it on with your partner.

Having Sex on Your Period May Relieve Cramps

Cramps are one of the worst PMS symptoms that we ladies have to deal with. Luckily, period sex can help with that. It’s scientifically proven that vaginal stimulation affects the neurons in the brain to elevate a woman’s pain threshold, according to research put forth in The Atlantic.

This extends to period cramps: Penetrative or oral stimulation can reduce menstrual pain, much more fun than popping a few Midol. And yes, this also means that intercourse can help you get rid of that headache.

It Can Be the Most Fun

The main reason we make love is that it feels good. What if we told you that sex during your period can actually be more fun? That’s not just a matter of opinion: Thanks to the hormone fluctuations during your menstrual cycle, your sex drive can be higher during certain times of the month than others. This can happen while you’re spotting or on your period.

Can You Get Pregnant on Your Period?

One of the common misconceptions is that you cannot get pregnant while menstruating. This is not true, so remember to use birth control no matter when you have sex. The chances of a woman becoming pregnant are lower during menstruation and higher during ovulation.

However, bleeding can occur during ovulation, too. This can make it look like a woman is on her period when she’s at her most fertile. Whether or not you are trying to conceive, please speak with a gynecologist about birth control and your cycle. Additionally, you can download a period tracker app if you want to track your menstrual cycle more closely.

5 Period Sex Tips for Beginners

Wondering how to have sex on your period and not sure where to start? In addition to talking to your partner to decide what’s comfortable for everyone, here are a few tips and tricks.

Use a Towel

No one likes to stain their sheets. Luckily, that’s easily solved with a towel. Simply lay a towel down on your bed before you get started and throw them in the washing machine afterward. We would recommend choosing a dark-colored or red towel.

Try Period Sex the Shower

Not interested in any mess at all? Try period sex in the shower. Unlike regular period sex, during which the vagina’s natural lubrication can wash away, menstrual blood will provide just the right amount of lubricant. Since you’re in the shower, the blood will be a lot less visible, no clean up necessary.

Use Birth Control and Practice Safe Sex

Just because you’re menstruating does not mean that you cannot get pregnant. Though the chances of pregnancy are lower than at other phases in your menstrual cycle, over 30% of women have irregular cycles. This means that you may not know exactly when you are menstruating and when you are ovulating. Please speak with a gynecologist to find the right birth control for you.

Keep in mind that not all birth control methods prevent STI transmission. Again, check with a licensed medical professional on how to practice safe relations — whether or not it’s period sex.

Have Fun and Be Creative During Period Sex

Penetration is only one of many ways to make love. Oral stimulation can be just as fun, whether or not the person receiving oral is on her period. Many people have no problem with oral sex during a period; in fact, they find the messiness part of the fun.

Do I Have to Take Out my Menstrual Cup?

If you are having penetrative relations with your partner, please take out your menstrual cup. EverCup is not a form of birth control and should not be worn during penetration. If you are practicing oral period sex, there is no need to remove your menstrual cup. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you.

Period Sex Is More Popular Than Ever

Being prudish is no longer in style. Couples everywhere are finding creative and body-positive ways to show their love — whether or not their partner is menstruating. Menstrual cups can make having sex during your period all that much easier. Though you cannot have penetrative intercourse with a cup in, simply take your cup out before and put it back in afterward. Or you can wear your EverCup if penetration isn’t involved.

We talked with Tara Ford, a physician assistant at the Medical Center for Female Sexuality in Purchase, New York, to learn everything you should know about having sex during menstruation — the good, the bad, and the slightly messy.

You might like it — a lot

Arousal is different for every woman, and some may be too distracted by their period and its annoyances to actually get in the mood for sex. But for others, menstruation could actually be a turn-on of sorts. That’s because your estrogen and testosterone are low on day 1, but they start to rise by day 3. “Some women report they feel more aroused and more sensitive around this time,” says Ford says.

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Plus, your flow can serve as extra lubrication during sex, which can also increase pleasure. If you typically use a store-bought lubricant to help with dryness during sex, this may be your week to go natural. And some research suggests that orgasms can even relieve menstrual cramping and PMS.

Wearing a menstrual cup or a female condom can help reduce the amount of blood that might come out during intercourse, Ford says. If you’re not comfortable using one of them, even a regular condom can make cleanup easier—for your partner, at least. Having sex in the missionary position, with the woman on her back, can also limit blood flow (thanks, gravity!), as can having sex toward the end of your period, when your flow is lighter.

The risks of period sex

Dear Dr. G,

I am in my early twenties and I have started an amazing sexual journey with my girlfriend, who is also in her mid twenties.

As you can imaging, our sex drive is phenomenal, and we engage in sexual activities almost on a daily basis.

The problem is nature comes between our sexual experiences for at least five days every month when my girlfriend goes through her menstrual period.

However, we recently went ahead and had sex twice during her period and we did not have any adverse experiences after both occasions.

I suggested to my girlfriend we should continue having intimacy despite the menstruation from now on. She was natural horrified as we all assume it is harmful and risky to engage in sexual activities during menstruation. She thinks I am completely reckless and impatient. Mind you, she did not exactly complain during the last two occasions.

I wish to put Dr. G on the spot this week on the risks of period sex.

Is period sex completely unnatural? Am I being completely reckless and putting my girlfriend and myself at risk? If so, what sort of risks do I face from the two previous sexual instances?

We hope Dr. G can advise us and give us a clearer conscience.

Thank you in advance for the advice.


Risky Rick

Menstruation, often referred to as “the period”, is the regular discharge of blood and the mucosal lining of the uterus through the vagina. The typical length and time of menses ranges from 21 to 45 days, with a bleeding interval of 2 to 7 days.

As the menstrual cycle occurs due to the rise and fall of sexual hormones, it will have a general impact on the mood and sexual desires of a woman before, during and after menstruation.

Menses is generally perceived “unclean” and menstrual taboos are well described across many cultures. Hinduism frowns upon women visiting a temple during menstruation, and some traditions even quarantine women in residences called “menstrual huts”. Islam and Judaism also prohibit sexual contact with women during menstruation.

Although Western cultures have evolved from menstrual discrimination and taboos, sexual activity during menstruation is still perceived to be risky and dangerous for both parties. Sexual intercourse during menstruation itself is harmless, however some scientists may argue a woman’s body is more vulnerable during the menses as her

vaginal pH is higher and thus less acidic than usual during her period. The cervix is also positioned lower and its opening is more dilated. Lastly, the endometrial lining is absent during menstrual shedding. All these three factors have a theoretical risk of allowing organisms to access the bloodstream during penetrative sex.

On the other hand, several studies have revealed several health benefits of period sex. It is believed intercourse during sex can relieve menstrual cramps, as an orgasm can further contract the uterus to expel menstrual linings, resulting in shorter intervals of menses. Some even argue that the blood acts as a natural lubricant and the release of endorphins during sex relaxes women and relieves many symptoms of menstrual pain.

In reality, the health risks and benefits of menstrual sex are negligible. The biggest and most obvious downside to having sex during period is the mess. Blood can get on both parties and the bedding. This may make both parties feel self-conscious and anxious, taking the fun out of sex! The other apparent worry is the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Viruses like Hepatitis B and HIV can spread through blood and other bodily fluids that are produced during menstruation, hence the use of condoms is crucial for the reduction of such infections, in fact with or without menstruation.

The perceptions about period sex are unsurprisingly varied and divisive. A recent survey of 500 sexually active men and women on such issue revealed half of them called period sex “gross” and the other half described it as “natural”. Naturally, liberal Millennials are more accepting of such a practice being clean and safe, and older conservatives like Dr. G may be more resistant and repulsed.

The extraordinary German Writer and Statesman, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, once challenge us with a statement: “The unnatural, that too is natural.” Although the world has generally moved away from the practice of menstrual taboo and segregation, engaging in penetrative sex during menstrual period will generally raise a “red flag” as such acts may be considered unnatural and unsafe. When Dr. G is put on the spot on his views about how natural is period sex; his view is paradoxically: “The natural, that too is unnatural”, especially if it involves a lot of cleaning up afterwards! On that note, I urge Risky Rick to perhaps remain calm and patient once a month and stick to cuddling instead!

Last Updated on October 31, 2018

Sex during period can be either a turn-off or an exciting affair. It all depends on how you take it, and how safe you are while enjoying a different kind of pleasure. With the right precautions in place, you can enjoy “we’ moments in these “red flag” days too!

While there are many women who would feel nauseated at the idea of having sex while menstruating, there are a few who don’t care! They would rather go with the mood and consider sex as sex. They have no qualms about staining bed sheets or couches as long as their partners are using protection. Here, we take a look at what’s right and what’s not while having sex on your period.

How Safe is Sex during Menstruation

What’s Good About it?

Like many others, you probably seek comfort in a cup of cocoa, curl up with a hot pack or line up painkillers to see you through your periods. But then, there are women who find themselves having sex in this period too. Apart from the enjoyment factor that comes courtesy lubrication, they feel that safe indulgence during these days eases out their discomfort. Orgasm provides relief to the tension and cramps that periods get. For some, sex helps in soothing menstruation-related irritability and headaches too.

Sex During Periods, is it Permitted?

Gynaecologists and other health care experts generally permit sex in the course of the menstrual cycle. This is especially true when the flow is of moderate quantity. Interestingly, with all safety aids in place, some women get more aroused during this period. This is probably due to the fact that menstruation is linked with a general feeling of fullness in one’s genital area.

Is Sex during Period Safe?

The safety quotient of sex during menstruation is completely dependent on whether the couple is free from STDs, uses protection, or does not have any blood-borne diseases. Put in other words, the risks involved are quite similar to unsafe sex at other times. The cervix opens up to permit free passage of blood during menstruation. This makes a woman more vulnerable to STIs. Also, there is a strong likelihood of blood-borne infections (if any) being passed on to the partner. Yeast infections are also common during menstruation as the vagina’s pH balance changes at this time. It would be best to ensure the usage of condoms or other protective aids and maintain the utmost levels of personal hygiene as well.

Can You get Pregnant after Having Sex during Periods?

Weird as it may sound, the truth is that it’s not impossible for the released sperm to survive long enough in a woman’s body to make her pregnant. Though unlikely in most cases, there have been freak incidences of eggs being released even while a woman is menstruating, so take care!

In a nutshell, enjoying safe sex while going through your periods depends upon your comfort with the idea. Go ahead if you wish, but remember to keep condoms handy and a stain remover around the corner!

Period Sex Guide: Why It’s Amazing & How To Have Mess-Free Period Sex

By The Fixx November 19, 2019

Sex is one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer, second only to cheese and chocolate in our humble opinion but for some reason, a lot of us forego it during our periods. To put it in perspective, the average menstruator will bleed approximately 450 times (around 2,280 days). That’s SIX years of great sex you might have been missing out on, and we can’t have that. In this guide, we’ll share hard science on why period sex packs punch and tips to make it better.
5 Benefits of Period Sex
  1. First and foremost, orgasms relieve cramps. When we orgasm, our body releases dopamine, oxytocin, and other endorphins that help to quiet cramps. This is a huge plus for those who don’t feel like taking over-the-counter pain reliever. Go au natural, baby.
  2. Stress relief, anyone? Those orgasm endorphins we just mentioned? They’re also capable of relieving stress, which means after period sex, you will likely have the good-feels and good vibes. Sex (and period sex) also lowers your blood pressure, which means no matter what comes your way the next day, you can have a calm state of mind.
  3. Period sex can shorten your period. Fun news – your body might be able to hack your period. When you orgasm, your uterus contracts, which can speed up the shedding of your uterine lining (what a period is!). By having an orgasm, you might be able to shorten the usual 7-day cycle by 2 or 3 days. Get to work, angel.
  4. Sex can be more enjoyable. With your body’s menses acting as lube + a higher libido (which occurs during your period), period sex can be more enjoyable than your regular between-the-sheets session. This is because positions (hello legs on shoulders) that might be challenging for you normally, can be easier when on your period. Your vagina and vulva are also more sensitive during this time too, so sex intensifies.
  5. Period sex can act as a bond between your and your partner. To us, period sex is a chance to shed inhibitions and create a lasting bond between yourself and your partner. Having sex on your period can help you feel vulnerable, which is a major component in feeling intimate with someone. Are we your new love therapist? Maybe.
So you’re on board with period sex, but you wished it wasn’t so messy. Mess-free period sex is possible with a menstrual disc. Just pop a FLEX Disc in before you get hot and heavy and then remove it post-orgasm. (PS- Trying to remove a disc immediately after sex might be tricky for some because it may shift around or your vaginal canal might double in length making it harder to reach! Crazy, right?! So we recommend waiting about thirty minutes to an hour after sex before you remove the disc. Who wants to cuddle?) Tap here for more tips and trick
Period Sex Facts (aka Things You Might Have Googled)
  • You can still get pregnant when you’re on your period. Sperm can live in the uterus for up to 5 days, and if you have sex near the end of your cycle, it’s possible that the sperm will be present when you ovulate and pregnancy can occur. Having sex toward the beginning of your period may lower your risk of pregnancy. If you aren’t using hormonal birth control, in order to prevent pregnancy, you should use a barrier method like condoms or diaphragms.
  • STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) can be transferred through blood and fluids. Practice safe sex and use a barrier protection like condom or dental dam to prevent the spread of STIs.
  • Your partner will not be infected from your menstrual blood on its own unless you already have a known infection. There are a lot of religious and spiritual practices that discourage intercourse during menstruation. These practices are rooted in spiritual beliefs but not biological facts.
Why Period Sex Feels Better
The reason why sex during your period is more enjoyable than other times of the month is due in large part to hormone changes. Progesterone is a hormone released by the ovaries before ovulation that prepares the endometrium to fertilize an egg. If there are no eggs to be fertilized, your body breaks down the thickened lining which lowers progesterone. Progesterone is known to lower libido, and since that hormone is the lowest at the beginning of your cycle, your sex drive is likely to be very high.
So now you’re game for period sex, but you want to know how to get bloody stains out of your sheets if you leak, here’s how:
How To Remove Period Stains
If you’re still getting learning how to make FLEX Disc work for your body and manage to stain the sheets, or even your favorite underwear, here are some natural remedies for stain removal:
  • Do not wash the sheets before using stain removal. This will only cement the stain in the sheets. Use a spot removal technique first, then throw ‘em in the wash.
  • Ice: Place the stained sheets over ice and dab with a towel until the stain comes out.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap: Use a tiny drop with a bit of cold water over the stain, dab until the stain comes out. You may need to reapply soap a few times before the stain is completely removed.
  • Baking Soda: Pour baking soda over the stain, spray with white vinegar, leave for 30 minutes, then dab with a wet towel to remove.
Now that you’ve got the low down on period sex, remember, the best sex is period sex, and the best period sex, is safe sex. So next time your menses come around, show your vagina some love and give period sex a try!

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Do you need to use condoms while having sex on your period?

There are two significant reasons to avoid having unprotected sex during period:

  1. Although less likely, it’s always possible that you could become pregnant. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, you should have protected sex every time. You can use some form of contraception like wearing a condom or taking birth control pills.
  2. Having sex on your period can increase your chances of getting an STI. Viruses like HIV may be present in menstrual blood, so it’s essential to use a condom to decrease your chances of getting infected.

How to have sex on your period: handy tips

If you want to have less messy and uncomfortable sex during your period, follow these helpful tips:

  1. Tell your partner how you feel about having sex while on your period. Be honest and share your feelings. Ask them how they feel as well. If one of you hesitates and finds the experience uncomfortable, it’s best to postpone the intercourse.
  2. Lay a towel on the bed since your period can cause a small crime scene on your sheets.
  3. Make sure you keep wet wipes by the bed to clean up after the intercourse.
  4. If you’re wearing a tampon, don’t forget to remove it before you start with the intercourse.
  5. It’s best to use a latex condom as it will protect you and your partner against STIs and pregnancy.
  6. Some positions might be uncomfortable when you have sex during your period. Try something different and the position that it’s the most comfortable for you and your partner.

Is it okay to have oral sex on periods?

If you and your partner consent to it, oral sex on period doesn’t have to be off limits. If you decide to go for it, you might want to focus on the clitoris.

Although it’s okay to have oral sex on periods, be aware that there could be certain odors that may be self-conscious unpleasant for the “giver” in this scenario. Plus, your vagina will have a more “metallic” flavor. This might wreck the mood.

Sex involves a wide range of fluids and excretions, including sweat, urine, sperm, and even fecal matter (if you’re into anal sex). So, menstrual blood shouldn’t be the body excretion that deters you from intercourse.

I have a question about moisture control. Down there. While working out. Whenever I work out, especially jog, my vagina gets extremely wet. It’s normal during the day but whenever I run it gets wet to the point where it soaks through my panty liner. Is this normal? Could it be sweat from a near area? I’ve dealt with this for a couple of years now, and it really makes me hesitant to work out at the gym.
First, it is completely normal to sweat in the vaginal area just as much as you sweat everywhere else. It may seem like a lot because sweat from elsewhere tends to pool in that area. My advice would be to actually stop using a panty liner. That doesn’t allow the area to breathe, and it holds moisture in instead of wicking it away. Wear DriFit fabric underwear when you work out and light, DriFit shorts or pants.

I love eating soil. Does that affect my womb or my body’s health in general? If yes, how can I stop?
There is a condition called Pica that’s prevalent in pregnant women that makes them want to eat non-food items. One of the biggest cravings is soil. It’s often because the woman is iron-deficient or missing zinc in her diet. It’s definitely not normal, and it is something you should fix because soil can have a lot of bacteria and spores that can be dangerous to your health. You should go to your doctor first to see if you have any vitamin deficiencies that could be balanced with supplements or diet changes. In addition to that, you may want to see a psychologist to help you with the cravings.

My cramps are so bad I can’t walk sometimes, and my friend says it’s because I’m a virgin. Could having sex really help with my cramps?
The short answer is, yes, having sex can help with cramps, but only because it releases pain-killing endorphins, just like exercising does. Losing your virginity will most likely not solve your cramping problem. If your cramps are that bad, though, you should be evaluated for endometriosis. That is the most common cause of debilitating menstrual cramps, and can be fixed with laparoscopic surgery, a simple outpatient procedure. People who are not sexually active often go undiagnosed because they’re not going to a gynecologist as often. Going on birth control pills (if they are deemed safe for you by your doctor) can also help with your periods and cramps even if you’re not sexually active.

Ask Dr. Iris: Are My Labia Too Long?
Ask Dr. Iris: I Have Really Bad Cramps All Month Long

Dr. Iris Orbuch is the director of the Advanced Gynecologic Laparoscopy Center and the co-director of gynecologic robotic surgery at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

Do you have a women’s health question for Dr. Iris? Submit it here.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Iris Orbuch

Dr. Iris Orbuch Dr.

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