When you have your period, you probably don’t feel that great. You may be dealing with hormone fluctuations, cramps, bloating acne, hot or cold flashes and all sorts of other side effects. For some women, their breasts become tender and their cervix shifts. If none of these symptoms have you racing to bed with your lover, then don’t worry, you’re not alone.
However, period sex can even actually help you alleviate some of those symptoms if you’re willing to get past the negatives.
THE CASE AGAINST PERIOD SEX
There’s a lot of taboo surrounding the idea of sex during your period. This may stem from the idea that a woman’s period is ‘unclean’, that it’s a time to be avoided as long as possible and quickly forgotten about, even though half the world’s population deals with a period on a monthly basis for many years of their lives.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Carrie, you understand the aversion that some people have to even talk about periods, let alone seeking any sort of pleasure out during that one week a month.
You can still get pregnant – You may have been told that you shouldn’t have sex on your period for any number of reasons, including pregnancy. Although your period is your body shedding the uterine lining and egg because no fertilization occurred in the previous three weeks, you can still get pregnant  .
Although you can find calendars that suggest your most and least fertile days during your cycle (most fertile about 14 days before your period), there is a lot of variability during your cycle .
It’s important to continue using birth control like normal. If you rely on a birth control pill that has placebo pills during the week of your period, you should use a condom or another barrier method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. A condom also helps to prevent the transmission of STIs through blood  and semen, too.
Another concern that women have is whether to and when to remove a tampon prior to having sex.
You should remove your tampon before penetrative vaginal sex . You can do this in the privacy of a bathroom shortly before sex if you’re uncomfortable doing it in front of your partner. A pantyliner or pad should hold you over. A pantyliner can also help to protect your underwear from any blood after having sex while having your period. You should never have sex with a tampon in because this can push the tampon further up, making it harder to retrieve and this can even contribute to vaginal infections.
Consider a menstrual cup instead of a tampon, both of which allow you to collect menstrual blood in a mess-free way. Not every menstrual cup is compatible with sex, however, so do your research. Two cups that you can wear during sex are the SoftCup  and Flex Disc .
Many people consider these silicone cups safer than tampons, which consist of bleached cotton. You can also rinse and re-use them to save money, too! Menstrual cups keep you feeling clean enough so that you can even receive oral sex when you have your period, but they do take some time to get the hang of. If you’re trying out a cup, make sure you practice a bit before you dive right into sex.
A dental dam comes in handy during oral sex . Your partner holds this small plastic square between your genitals and their tongue when performing. This reduces the likelihood of contracting STIs and coming into contact with period blood .
So as you can see, with the right preparation, period sex doesn’t have to be any less healthy or less pleasurable or any riskier than sex during the other three weeks of the month!
BENEFITS OF SEX ON YOUR PERIOD
If your partner has ever tried to convince you that sex during your period can make you feel better, he might be on to something. Some women experience decreased cramps and bloated feelings after sexual activity, especially when that activity includes orgasm. If you’re the type of person to seek out activities that you’ll enjoy while you have your monthly visitor, period sex might be something to add to the list!
Research shows that having sex on your period is more common if you’re in a committed relationship  and have a supportive partner . Well-educated women are also more likely to have period sex than other demographics  and white women are more likely to feel positive about it .
The biochemical reactions that happen in your brain and your body during and after sex can also make some of those not-so-pleasant side effects of menstruation more bearable. For example, oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and less defensive. It’s known as the “cuddle hormone” for this reason. However, oxytocin does much more than make you cuddly. It increases empathy, and that can also increase your own mood while you have your period and make communication with others less stressful and combative.
Of course, you’ll get all the other benefits of sex when having sex while having your period, including stress relief and bonding with your partner. If you’re the type of person who experiences increased horniness leading up to or during her period, then you might be ready to go. Then, it’s up to you to see how your partner feels about the issue.
GETTING YOUR PARTNER INTO PERIOD SEX
Now that you’re interested in having sex while on your period, you might have to do some convincing to get your partner on board. There’s a lot of immature locker room talk about “earning your red wings,” and your partner might feel that having sex with you while you have your period is too messy or even disgusting. However, you might be able to work through those issues as a couple.
To start, you can encourage your lover that you won’t mind having sex on your period and even name some of the perks we’ve already talked about. You can also explain how the extra moisture negates the need for lubrication, which can make sex while you have your period even more pleasurable for both of you.
If your partner has any misconceptions about how heavy your flow is – some men really do think it’s like Niagara Falls! – explain what he can actually expect. Chances are, you’ve discussed with other women and even your doctor how heavy your flow is, so you can help prepare your man for reality.
You might be surprised to find that your partner is turned on by the idea because of the taboo. In fact, there are fetish sites that exist exactly for this type of thing. You don’t have to be a vampire to want to have sex with a woman who has her period, and many people simply don’t find a little blood reason enough not to have sex with their partners!
HOW TO HAVE SEX ON YOUR PERIOD
One of the main reasons you might not want to have sex while you’re on your period is because of the potential to ruin sheets or blankets or even permanently stain your mattress with blood. You can minimize the potential mess of period sex by only engaging in it on a low-flow day. For example, you might experience much lower flow on the last couple days of your period, which makes it safer for period sex. Tracking your period on a calendar can help to highlight the best days to have sex.
An additional step to protect your bed and sheets is laying down a towel underneath yourself to catch any blood that comes out of you. Another option? A sex blanket that prevents your bed from becoming wet or stained. These are great if you’re a squirter, too!
Remember that your cervix may be in a different position or more sensitive than usual, so hard or deep thrusting or certain positions may become uncomfortable. Consider riding your partner in the Cowgirl position or even the Asian Cowgirl position, which allows you to control the depth and force of the thrusts. Some people recommend sticking to positions where you’re on the bottom to minimize the flow of blood like the Jockey position or just plain old Missionary, but this might not be necessary if your flow is lower. Communication is especially important if you find that your body responds differently when you have your period, so don’t be afraid to ask for a gentler touch if that’s what it takes!
Either or both of you may feel the need to clean up after sex, especially on heavier flow days. Hopping in the shower after playtime will make you feel the cleanest – in fact, sex in the shower can help to alleviate any worries that either of you might have about blood – but that’s not always an option. Keep a packet or container of wipes on hand for cleanup. Baby wipes are economical and safe on sensitive skin. Baby wipes are usually hypoallergenic and come in handy packets that you can keep in the nightstand.
ANAL SEX WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR PERIOD
Some couples engage in anal sex more often when the woman has her period. This can help you to avoid the issue of blood and cramping; although, anal sex requires its own form of preparation. If you don’t feel up to vaginal sex when you have your period, this is just one alternative. You might consider sexual activities such as performing oral or stroking your partner until orgasm with a good hand job, and you can focus on clitoral orgasms until your period has passed using some of these clitoral stimulation techniques.
Just remember, it’s okay if you’re not okay with the idea of having sex when you have your period. Not everyone is. Instead, you can focus on reconnecting with your partner and emotional intimacy during that week, especially if your symptoms are especially harsh. Just like every women differs, not every period is the same. So you might desire sex one month but want nothing to do with it the next while on your period.
The last thing to say on period sex is that spontaneous sex outside the bedroom or bathroom might be off the table because you need time to protect surfaces and/or remove a tampon. But planning sex doesn’t have to negate pleasure, either! Not everyone will want to try this type of sex, and some people will find the idea too taboo or messy even after trying it. However, an orgasm or two can definitely make that time of the month more bearable if you and your partner can’t wait an entire week to get your hands on each other!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is it safe to have sex on my period?
A: There’s a decreased chance of pregnancy but you can still give or get an STI if you have sex when you have your period because blood is a carrier of these infections. Using a condom reduces the risk of bloodborne infections.
There may also be an increased risk of bacterial infection (bacterial vaginosis) during your period .
Q: Can you get pregnant from period sex?
A: Yes, although the risk is decreased during this time in your menstrual cycle.
Q: How can I tell my partner that I have my period?
A: The mood can strike at any time, and having your period doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have sex. Depending upon your comfort level, you might be okay having penetrative sex or oral sex with a tampon inserted. Alerting your partner lets him choose how to proceed if and how he wants.
Telling him doesn’t have to be a big deal. Don’t assume he’ll freak out, be grossed out or not want to have sex. Something as casual as “Just so you know, I’ve got my period. Let me run to the bathroom and I’ll be right out.” This gives you time to grab a towel to throw on the bed beneath you and to remove your tampon or pad.
Or you might say “I’m cool with having period sex but not everyone is. What are you comfortable with?”
If you’re not sure how your partner might react, you can bring up the topic before you have your period to clear it up.
Q: What if my partner doesn’t like period sex?
A: Some partners just aren’t down with period sex. In fact, some women don’t want to have it. That’s perfectly okay. We all have different comfort levels. If this applies to you or your partner, you might stick to other activities (performing oral on him or dry humping).
Masturbation is also an option if you’re not squeamish about period blood.
Q: Do some people like period sex?
A: Yes! Some women find it relieves their pain or distracts from other symptoms. Some people might especially have a fetish for having sex while they or their partner has their period. Of course, it’s normal to feel neutral, too.