So You Want to Try Period Sex? Here's What You Need to Know
DEAR DR. JENN,
I've never had sex while on my period, but it's when I tend to feel the horniest so I want to give it a go. At the same time, I'm a little freaked out. What do I need to know about period sex? — Flo Rider
Period sex is hot. That said, it is a little taboo (many world religions have historically restricted what women can or "should" do during that time of the month, and that stigma kind of sticks around). Having sex while menstruating shows total acceptance of a woman's body and bodily fluids. This is probably why Fifty Shades of Grey fans were so pissed when the infamous "tampon scene" was cut from the film. Not a fan? Well, Christian Grey is so overcome with lust he pulls out Anastasia's tampon in order to have sex with her. (I wouldn't recommend that unless the tampon-wearer has fully consented, but if she's on board, go wild!)
In a survey about period sex on Stylecaster, 80% of respondents reported engaging in period sex. Not too surprisingly, younger respondents were more likely to partake. The group most grossed out by the idea were straight people in the 40 to 49 age group. But they're missing out.
On average, a woman will get her period 450 times in a lifetime. Each period averages three to five days long. If you figure the math that means you will have your period for 1,800 days or almost five years. Who would want to miss out on five years of potentially great sex? You might be asking if it's even that great to begin with — I assure you, it is. But more about why in a minute.
First, let's talk about the typical concerns. People tend to overestimate the amount of blood that comes out. Typically most women lose three to four tablespoons of blood over the course of that three to five days. This usually occurs in a slow drip throughout the cycle. Granted, there are some women who have super heavy periods for a day or two during their cycle that can be particularly rough, and if that's you, you can decide how to proceed and when. But you need to know that period sex can be amazing sex.
The Upsides of Period Sex
Your hormones are raging, in a good way. During and right after your period, progesterone, which suppresses the libido, drops. At the same time, estrogen, which raises sex drive, increases. While a study in Hormones and Behavior found that most women's hormones are at an all-time high during ovulation, many experience friskiness during their period, most likely due to the rise in estrogen.
It can reduce cramps. It has been estimated that 80% of women experience period cramps in their life. When you orgasm, your body releases dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, which can reduce that pain.
It can shorten your period. The contracting of your uterus during orgasm can expedite the release of blood and uterine lining. By the way, solo play does the job here, too.
You can have better orgasms. The increased blood flow during a period can make your parts more sensitive, which will mean you experience orgasm more intensely. If you find it hard to orgasm on your period, the biggest roadblock here may be your feelings about this particular act. If you're freaked out about the blood, it is likely going to prevent you from having an earth-shattering experience. Try to let this self-sabotage go.
Natural lube. Menstrual blood acts as a natural lubricant and can make sex feel more enjoyable. You know how shower sex usually sucks because the water washes away your natural lube? Red dawn is time a great time for a shower foray.
But what about the mess?
* Put a dark-colored towel or towels under you. If you are really freaked out you can always get plastic sheets.
* To reduce the flow try, a menstrual cup, contraceptive sponge, or the female condom.
* Keep in mind great sex is not always penetrative. You can keep a tampon in and receive oral if your partner is using a dental dam. Or try toys (solo or together) and focus on clitoral stimulation.
* Try positions that are more flow-friendly like missionary, on your side, or doggy style.
* Again, shower sex.
One of the most common myths about period sex is that you can't get pregnant. Not the case. Sperm can live in the body for up to five days. If you are not super regular and familiar with your ovulation cycle this can lead to pregnancy. Others think that period sex is dirty and that they will pass on an infection to their partner. That's not the case, either; menstrual blood isn't germy on its own, unless you have an actual infection. Last but not least, keep in mind that you can contract or pass on an STI having period sex, since they can be transferred through blood and fluids.
Now, go ahead and be safe, be messy, and enjoy the perks of the crimson tide.
In Hump Day, award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sex and relationship questions — unjudged and unfiltered.