Here’s What They Had to Say
“No. Hell no.”
I mean, some said yes, but “gross, messy, not for me, never done it, hard pass” was a common response.
I don’t remember the first time I had period sex. Know why? It wasn’t significant enough to remember. Because, for me, having period sex is like having regular sex: there’s liquid, there’s pleasure, it ends.
I don’t have (and never have had) a hangup about my period. I vividly remember being in 7th grade with Osiris shoes and close to 8,000 clips in my hair when my geometry teacher told me to,
“Hide your tampon when you walk to the bathroom, sweetie.”
I decided right then that this woman was unfit to be teaching public education and walked down the hall, swinging my tampon around for anyone to see.
I have pretty much had the same attitude (different hairstyle, though) ever since.
Naturally, I was saddened when I realized that the general population doesn’t share this sentiment. So saddened that I decided to do an anonymous survey of 500 men and women to gain more insight into people’s opinions on period sex.
Let’s dive into the results, shall we?
As one of the co-founders of The Flex Company, I talk about periods and sex a lot. It’s my job, yes, but I also just really, deeply, genuinely care about this space and the lack of education and conversations being had.
So I talk. I talk about sex with people on the bus. I talk about sex with my employees and coworkers. I talk about periods with male entrepreneurs and innocent bystanders at my weekly lunch spot. And it’s never awkward. I’ve talked about how I’ve built deeper connections, faster by talking about sex with strangers – and it’s true.
The only people I can’t talk about period sex with? My parents.
It’s not awkward because they’re my parents, and we’re talking about sex. It’s awkward because of their general view on the topic.
Our survey gave me more insight into why:
… A.K.A. my parents.
Speaking of Conversations…
The majority of people feel the need to “prep” their partner by giving them a heads up about their Another term for menstrual flow (commonly known as your period). prior to having sex.
I admit that I’m one of these people, and I struggle with doing it because I want to be this ultra-proud feminist with an “F-you” attitude (to my period and boyfriend). But at the end of the day, it feels like common courtesy to me.
And, according to our period sex survey, the majority of the population agrees.
But What About Men?
Not only do they not want to have the conversation, but a large percentage of men don’t want to have period sex. A whole 45 percent of women have had a male partner turn down sex while they were on their period.
Surprising? Not entirely. Case in point: I was at a Y Combinator dinner recently talking to a male founder about period sex when he:
- Started laughing nervously that I was talking about this in a public place
- Admitted to never having tried period sex because it’s “dirty” & “messy”
- Admitted to enjoying anal (because that’s not “dirty” or “messy,” amiright?)
- Wasn’t open to trying it with or without Flex
- Started talking about something called “blowjob week” which I’m assuming is a week every year where he blows off his job? Still TBD…
And the Ladies?
Women are 2x more likely than men to be unwilling to have sex with a new partner due to their period.
Again – not a shocker, however much we might wish things were different.
Society teaches us that our periods are embarrassing and that our bodies should look like Heidi Klum post-baby-pre-surgery-circa-1999. Things might be getting a little better in recent years, but we still have a long way to go. Here’s some commentary we got from a survey participant:
The good news is, despite period sex being uncomfortable to talk about or being perpetually known as unsexy, people DO want it.
We’re making progress.
What’s Really the Problem?
So, what actually sucks about period sex?
Is it the embarrassment and stigma – or something else?
According to our period sex survey, it’s the cleanup.
So we did something about it: We made a period product you can wear while still having penetrative sex – and skip the towel or the black sheets. With Flex Disc, period sex is mess-free.
Wait. How does it not get in the way?
Flex Disc sits in your vaginal fornix, the widest part of the vaginal canal right beneath your cervix. So it catches menstrual blood with a nice, leak-proof seal surrounding your cervix. And it doesn’t block the important bits (a.k.a. your vaginal canal).
Moral of the story? Period sex isn’t the problem.
The problem is our perception of things unknown. As it pertains to sex, that could mean our attitude toward anal, gay/lesbian, swinging, domination, voyeurism, etc. As it pertains to life, that could mean our attitude toward religion, race, gender, politics, trying new food, etc.
If there is something you’ve never done because you’re scared or embarrassed or (worst of all) set in your ways just because, I urge you to do it. Or talk to someone who has done it. Explore a new perspective.
For you, I hope that’s period sex.