Period sex: How and why to have it
“While period sex is still culturally stigmatized by some as ‘bad’ or ‘dirty,’ nothing could be further from the truth.”
IN THIS ARTICLE
The ins and outs of period sex (yes, even mess-free)
Sex is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but for some reason, many of us forego it during our periods. But the truth is, it may make your period end faster.
To put it into perspective, menstruators, on average, will bleed approximately 450 times (around 2,280 days). That’s SIX years of great sex you might have been missing out on.
This guide will share hard science on why to love period sex and tips to improve it.
First things first: Can you get pregnant during your period?
Yes. You can get pregnant on the days of your period – and, although it’s relatively rare, you should continue to use your preferred method of contraception during menstruation (unless of course, a pregnancy is something you’d welcome).
If you’re wondering how the heck sperm can fertilize an egg if your uterine lining is actively being shed, well, we had the same question. It has to do with the following facts:
I. Sperm can live for up to five days in the reproductive tract. 1
II. Most individuals with uteruses have a fertile window of about six days: the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. 2 Ovulation typically occurs a little more than halfway through the menstrual cycle.
III. Some individuals have irregular menstrual cycles – and if your cycle is on the shorter end of the spectrum (i.e. 25 days or less), your period, plus the five days sperm survive, could overlap with your fertile window.
Bottom line: don’t chance it—use contraception during period sex if you don’t want to get pregnant and always practice safe sex (oral or penetrative). Unprotected sex can also lead to the spread of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) which can be transferred through blood and fluids. Using contraception, such as barrier protection can help prevent the spread.
Other ways to reduce your risk:
- Communicate with your partner
- Regularly test for STIs
- Use condoms (or dental dams if practicing oral sex)
- Wash or use a new condom between vaginal & anal sex (bacteria & viruses can travel between the two increasing risks)
- Get vaccinated against HPV
- Be honest with your doctor about your sex life & practices
- Get regular exams & cervical cancer screening
- Seek treatment
What’s so great about period sex?
Wondering if it’s bad to have sex on your period? The answer is NO. While period sex is still culturally stigmatized by some as “bad” or “dirty,” nothing could be further from the truth.
Having sex during menstruation is no different from regular, non-period sex in terms of its health benefits. And it may make some of the unpleasant effects of your period less noticeable – i.e. reducing menstrual cramping, pain, and fatigue.3 4
Plus, you may find yourself “in the mood” more during your period – while there’s no hard evidence as to why this happens, some scientists speculate that the natural increase in testosterone you experience during menstruation may boost your sex drive.5
If you usually rely on lube to make sex more enjoyable, well… period sex may just be your new BFF. Your menstrual blood and fluids serve as a natural lubricant, which may make sex even more enjoyable.
Some other health benefits of sexual activity include a stronger immune system, improved sleep, a reduction in emotional stress, and lower blood pressure.6
Oh, it might make your period end sooner too.7
How to have period sex
Get down to get dirty. Period sex can be messy, but there are ways to make it cleaner (if you want).
Let’s talk tools: Consider laying a dark-colored towel on the bed beneath you or investing in patterned sheets that can hide any stains that may occur.
If you want to avoid the mess altogether, try Flex Disc™. Unlike menstrual cups that sit in the vaginal canal, menstrual discs sit above the canal (in the vaginal fornix) and allows for mess-free period sex™. Always use clean hands and insert a new disc (or a freshly washed Reusable Disc before you get down. Remember to wear a condom as menstrual discs aren’t contraceptives and do not protect against STIs.
P.S.: Sexual activity can make your vaginal canal double in length. Wait about thirty minutes to an hour after sex before removing a menstrual disc.
Position is key:
When you’re on your period, your body may feel different in the standard sex positions you know and love. There’s no shame in switching up positions. So, we’ve curated a list of the best sex positions for all phases of your cycle.
If you’re equipped with a Flex Disc but still worried about staining the sheets, we suggest sticking to missionary or doggy style— they’re the least likely to lead to spillage.
Get wetter together: Sex in the shower is on the table any time of the month, but it can be especially helpful during your period. It’s also a great way to introduce a slightly blood-shy partner to period sex.
Embrace foreplay: Don’t sleep on foreplay, natural lube, massage oil, or your favorite vibrator. These will add pleasure to your experience, so you can go deep and fully enjoy the wonders of period sex.
Accidental spillage? NBD – here’s how to remove period stains from your sheets
If you’re learning how to use a Flex Disc or trying period sex au naturel and happen to stain sheets or 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.
- Baking soda & vinegar: Pour baking soda over the stain, spray with white vinegar, leave for 30 minutes, then dab with a wet towel to remove.
Period sex: Lean into it!
Is it safe to have sex during your period? Yes, although, you’ll still want to practice safe sex by using contraceptives to protect against pregnancy or STIs.
Now that you have the tools, there’s pretty much no excuse for avoiding period sex, unless you have severe period pain (you’re not alone—talk to your doctor asap).
Remember, the best sex is period sex, and the best period sex, is safe sex. So next time your mensesAnother term for menstrual flow (commonly known as your period). come around, show your vagina some love and give period sex a try!
This article is informational only and is not offered as medical advice, nor does it substitute for a consultation with your physician. If you have any gynecological/medical concerns or conditions, please consult your physician.
© 2021 The Flex Company. All Rights Reserved.
References (Click to open/close)
- Sperm: How long do they live after ejaculation? (2020, August 11). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/expert-answers/pregnancy/faq-20058504
- Wilcox, A. J., Dunson, D., & Baird, D. D. (2000). The timing of the “fertile window” in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 321(7271), 1259–1262. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7271.1259
- Juang, C., Yen, M., Horng, H., Cheng, C., Yuan, C., & Chang, C. (2006). Natural progression of menstrual pain in nulliparous women at reproductive age: An observational study. Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, 69(10), 484-488. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1726-4901(09)70313-2
- Durain, D. (2004). Primary dysmenorrhea: Assessment and management update. Journal of Midwifery & Womenʼs Health, 49(6), 520-528. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1526-9523(04)00390-3
- Basson R. (2010). Testosterone therapy for reduced libido in women. Therapeutic advances in endocrinology and metabolism, 1(4), 155–164. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042018810379588
- The Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life. (2021, May 1). OSHU Center for Women’s Health. Retrieved from ohsu.edu/womens-health/benefits-healthy-sex-life
- Fratangelo, N. (2018, January 22). The one thing you can do to make your period shorter is actually so satisfying. Revelist. Retrieved from revelist.com/dating/shorten-period-orgasm/11302