People of different genders and sexualities have debated the topic of period sex for what seems like forever. Is it unsanitary? Is it harmful to your health? Is it just an unspoken no-no? Is it a private thing that stays between you and your partner?
Although society has begun to normalize discussions about sex and its role in our everyday lives, period sex is still one topic that makes a lot of people cringe.
The stigma that often produces this reaction and stops most people from engaging in period sex is rooted in the concept of mess and the shame that accompanies it.
Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a women’s sexual and reproductive health expert chimes in, “Women and men still find period sex uncomfortable because it’s messy, blood can smell and it can stain sheets. Women may worry that their male partners will be turned off by blood. Men may be frightened when seeing blood and even feel that it may have hurt their partner. Moreover, the embarrassment factor is a deterrent for some.”
Let’s push feelings aside for a bit and talk about facts. Is it even okay to have period sex in the first place?
There has been no scientific evidence that proves that having sex during a woman’s period is harmful to her or her partner. However, it is important to use protection during period sex to steer clear of any unwanted issues.
STIs are significantly more transmittable during unprotected period sex due to contact with the blood. Partners can expose themselves to infections such as HIV or hepatitis through contact with an infected person. Also, pregnancy is still a risk if you’re having sex during your cycle. It’s a much lower risk, but it is still possible. Shorter or irregular period cycles, as well as the fact that sperm lives in the reproductive tract for up to five days, can all result in delayed fertilization.
But even with the risks taken into account, the fact of the matter is that most people enjoy having period sex.
A study done by INTIMA, a women’s health brand, assessed 500 people between the ages of 18 and 50 and found that 82% of women have sex on their period. And not just because the shift in our hormones make us a bit more frisky during our period. A lot of people are experiencing the benefits of period sex.
Anyone else experience cramps that just make them want to fight? This is because our uterine muscles are in a state of tension during our period, as the uterus must contract in order to shed its lining. However, many women find that the contracting and releasing that comes with an orgams soothes the pain of menstrual cramps. And the feel-good endorphins released during sex can take your mind off of pain and discomfort. If headaches are a regular symptom of your cycle, the endorphins can work to alleviate this pain too!
Once again, orgasms prove to be miracle workers during the menstrual cycle. The contracting that happens during an orgasm can work to clear the contents of your uterus. So the more sex you have during your period, the shorter your cycle may be.
During period sex, you and your partner can take a break from the store-bought lube and keep it natural. Menstrual flow creates a great lubricant that can make sex more comfrotbale and more enjoyable.
What’s important to remember is that period sex isn’t right or wrong. It’s about preference and comfort. If you and your partner decide to ride the red tide, just like during non-period sex, there should be patience, attentiveness, consideration, and no shame. Try planning ahead to keep the focus on the intimacy, and not on the period:
- Have sex on days where your period flow is light
- Keep a dark towel and tissues handy
- Opt for the missionary position, which can reduce blood flow
- Rethink foreplay if you want to avoid mess
- Try shower sex
Featured photo: Refinery 29
Kymberly Deane is a writer, content creator, and storyteller based in Brooklyn, New York. Her passion for continual self-improvement and exploring new things has led her to become a health and wellness zealot, with a particular love for sexual health and wellness. She uses her writing to share the gems she discovers throughout her journey.