Period sex: Your guide to getting it on all month long

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“While period sex is still culturally stigmatized by some as ‘bad’ or ‘dirty,’ nothing could be further from the truth.”

IN THIS ARTICLE

Everything you could ever want to know about sex during your period

It’s your period and you can f**k if you want to. 

Yes, we mean that. No, it’s not unsafe. And yes, it may actually make your period end faster

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. 

Rather than avoiding intimacy every time your cycle kicks into gear, read through our tips and tricks to go from period-sex-afraid to period-sex-champion. Buckle up, bleed heavy, grab a pen, and take note.

intimacy during menstrual cycle

First things first: Can you get pregnant during your period?

Yes. You can get pregnant during your period – and, although it’s relatively rare, you should continue to use your preferred method of contraception during menstruation (unless 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. 

Long story short: Don’t chance it! Use contraception during period sex if you don’t want to get pregnant. 

While we’re on the topic of things that can happen during period sex: You can still get STIs, as well. Stay safe out there and remember to use protection during any sexual encounters with new or untested partners. 

What’s so great about period sex?

While period sex is still culturally stigmatized by some as “bad” or “dirty,” nothing could be further from the truth. 

Period sex is no different from regular, non-period sex in terms of its health benefits (which are many). And it may even make some of the unpleasant effects of your period less noticeable – i.e. reducing cramping, pain, and fatigue.3 4

Plus, you may find yourself especially “in the mood” 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 libido.5 So why waste that? 

If you’re someone who usually relies on lube to make sex more enjoyable, well… period sex may just be your new BFF. Your menstrual fluid serves as a natural lubricant, making penetrative sex even more enjoyable for some. 

Some other health benefits of sexual activity include a stronger immune system, improved sleep quality, a reduction in emotional stress, and even lower blood pressure.6

Oh, and it might make your period end a little sooner, so you can get back to enjoying a cramp-and-stress-free life.7

How to have (& enjoy) period sex

There are a few tricks to enjoying period sex – number one of which is making sure you (and your partner) are comfortable! In other words, don’t attempt it if your cramps are already so bad you can barely stand up straight. 

If you’re feeling generally up for period sex but aren’t sure how to get in the mood, here are a few fun, easy steps to help you get there:

1. Get out of your head

Ditch your to-do list. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. Find some space. Whatever it is you need to do to clear your mind and set yourself up for orgasmic success, do that.

If you’re short on ideas, here are a few of our favorite ways to wind down before you turn up.  

Journaling: Sounds corny, but journaling is actually incredibly helpful when it comes to getting in the mood (even if your goal is orgasming solo). First, jot down any overpowering thoughts holding you back. Then try writing about your fantasies or the things you’ve always dreamed about trying with your partner. 

Meditation: Studies show people who meditate have hotter sex lives. Say no more (literally). Choose your favorite meditation app – Headspace and Calm are great options – or dive into this ten minute sensual meditation to immediately up your pleasure game. 

Tantric yoga: Tantric Yoga is known for reducing stress and improving your sex life. Um, sign us up. If you’re wondering WTF Tantric Yoga even is, check out this YouTube video. If you just want to do some regular yoga to limber up your body and stretch away those aches and pains, check out these period yoga flows from some of our favorite yogis. 

Sip some tea: Tea and periods go hand in hand (ginger tea, for example, is great for cramps). But if you’re looking to boost your libido, snag some Damiana tea online or at your local health food store. Damiana is a medicinal plant with a long-standing reputation as an aphrodisiac – plus, it has a calming effect that’ll help you get more restful sleep after your sexual escapades.8

2. Choose an understanding partner

You may feel a bit nervous the first time you have sex on your period. That’s totally normal. These steps are meant to help ease your anxieties, but choosing a respectful and caring partner will go a long way. 

Here’s the list we’re shooting for:

  • Doesn’t mind trying something new (hello, pegging!)
  • Really isn’t that afraid of blood bc they’ve seen so many Grey’s Anatomy reruns 
  • Educates friends on the power of period sex
  • Asks what you like, keeps the line of communication open
  • Makes post-sex nachos (extra guac)
  • Penetration isn’t the only thing in their repertoire
  • Asks about your sexual fantasies and helps you live them out
  • Raves about you behind your back
  • Talks dirty (even at inopportune times)
  • Not afraid to help destigmatize periods via open conversations 
  • Eager to please you all month long
  • Realizes you are royalty and treats you as such 

Can’t find the perfect mate? Fear not. Dildos and vibrators are extremely courteous. Never underestimate the power of toys when it comes to turning up the heat.

Need a place to start? Grab your credit card and head to Babeland for all the tools you need to make your wildest masturbation dreams come true – then read all about the benefits of joining the Menstruation Masturbation Club. You’re welcome.

3. Get (un)dressed

Now that you’ve gotten your brain out of work/school/productivity mode, it’s time to channel your inner Cardi B with an outfit (or lack thereof).

Head to your closet and put on whatever makes you feel sexy and desirable. Maybe it’s the lingerie set you only take out on special occasions. Or the flirty red jumpsuit you bought via Instagram. Or maybe it’s your favorite shade of dark lipstick. TBH, it might just be your birthday suit. Even better. 

Now, stand in front of the mirror and loosen up a bit. Shake it out. Strike a pose. Take a deep breath. Feel your confidence pulsing through you as you stare yourself down and say “PERIOD OR NOT, I DESERVE TO FEEL PLEASURE.” Manifest that O, baby. Turn on WAP if you need some inspo. 

4. Set the mood

It’s time to turn down the lights, grab the necessities, and turn up the heat. Riding solo? Grab your phone and check out this Girls Gotta Eat podcast episode, “Thank U, Sext”, featuring sex coach Gigi Engle and take your sexting game to the next level.  

Turning up the tunes? Remember, not all period sex playlists are created equal. Here’s a link to our favorite playlist to climax to. If you’re making your own, be sure to throw in The Weeknd, Rihanna, and Usher to really get things going.

Looking for extra inspo? Listen to Sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly deep dive into seduction, foreplay, and dirty talk tips on this episode of the Sex Talk With My Mom podcast. 

5. Get down to get dirty

Period sex can be messy—we won’t pretend it’s not. But if crime scenes aren’t your thing, there are ways to make this experience far more cleanly.

Let’s talk tools: Tools are your friend. Consider laying a dark-colored towel on the bed beneath you. Or investing in some patterned sheets that can hide any odd stains that may occur. If you want to avoid mess altogether, try the Flex Disc. It’s a menstrual product that sits above the vaginal canal (in the vaginal fornix) and allows for mess-free period sex. Yep, no clean up necessary.

(PS: Trying to remove a menstrual disc immediately after sex might be tricky for some. Why? Because sexual activity can actually cause your cervix to shift position and make your vaginal canal double in length – making that disc 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?) 

Position is key: When you’re on your period, it’s likely your body will feel different in the standard sex positions you know and love. We’ve curated a list of the best sex positions for all phases of your cycle, so you never have to wonder if now’s a good time to get it on. Sex in the shower is also a fantastic, mess-free option.  

Get wetter together: Yeah, we said it. Shower sex is on the table any time of month, but (depending on your bathroom setup in your home or apartment) it can be especially helpful during your period. It’s also a great way to introduce a slightly blood-shy partner to period sex, since any collateral damage washes right down the drain. 

Any of these tips and tricks will help ease your mind so you can focus on things that really matter right now—like giving your 15,000 clitoral nerve endings the ride of a lifetime. 

6. Embrace foreplay

As every great athlete knows, it’s all about the warm up. Don’t sleep on foreplay, lube, massage oil, or your favorite vibrator. All of these will add to the pleasure experience for both you and your partner, and put you in a state to deeply enjoy the wonders of sex on your period. 

Oh, and if you’re looking to take it up a notch, consider exploring your C-spot. Yes, cervical penetration is a thing and yes, it’s best after a little extra foreplay. Want to take it up a notch and go after the *very real* full body orgasm? Spend some time working on your G-spot. Read more tips and tricks here

7. Switch up positions

If you’re equipped with a Flex Disc but still worried about staining the sheets, we suggest sticking to missionary or doggystyle— they’re the least likely to lead to spillage. But if you could care less about a little blood or you’re armed with a set of towels, go wild and try out a few different positions until you find something that feels amazing

Want full control? Go ahead and climb on top (cowgirl is a great way to stimulate your G-spot, located on the front wall of the vaginal canal). Rather take it slow? Ease into penetration in spooning position (it gives you easy access to manual clitoral stimulation, too). 

If none of these ideas are making you feel any better about the situation down under, don’t forget: There’s always anal. If it’s your first time, take it slow, use lube, and make sure you feel completely comfortable before letting your partner explore the back door.

Accidental spillage? NBD – here’s how to remove period stains from your sheets

If you get caught up in the moment and have period sex sans bed-protecting-equipment (or if you’re still learning how to make Flex Disc work for your body and experience a little bit of leakage), 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 & 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!

Now that you have all the tools you need for success, there’s pretty much no excuse for avoiding period sex (that is, of course, unless you experience severe period pain that takes sexual activity off the table – in which case it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you haven’t already done so). 

Period sex is a rite of passage that can open the doors to finding complete freedom within your body. We hope that this Ultimate Guide to Period Sex will encourage you to jump on the pleasure train all cycle long. 

Whether you’re getting intimate with one person, several people, or nobody but yourself, don’t let your body’s natural rhythm hold you back from complete satisfaction. And if all else fails, turn up the Jaws theme song and bleed your way through it. 

What’s that? Time for a pants-down party? I thought so. I’ll leave you to it. 

References (Click to open/close)

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Alcaraz-Meléndez, L., Delgado-Rodríguez, J., & Real-Cosío, S. (2004). Analysis of essential oils from wild and micropropagated plants of damiana (Turnera diffusa). Fitoterapia, 75(7-8), 696-701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2004.09.001