One of the very first comedians I saw in a club on the Upper West Side in NYC told a joke about period sex. He took the girl home, didn’t care, looked down at the sheets, and said “I think I’m starting to care, my mom’s going to be pissed.”
At the time, my 16 year old boyfriend and I didn’t care either. We put a towel down and left it alone. Over the years, I was fortunate enough not to run into a single guy who wanted to avoid performing any sex act on me during that time of the month.
Surprising? Maybe. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t be having amazing period sex with your partner, regardless of their gender. Your body, and everything that comes with it, is beautiful, and of course, your period also tends to send your hormones spiking and make you even more turned on than you might usually be.
There’s No Shame in Period Sex
We spoke to the experts about how to have the cleanest, most confident, most satisfying period sex of your life, and how to have any—er, sticky—conversations that come up along the way. Because they will. You can’t hide it, no matter how dark the bedroom.
First of all, where did all of the bad mojo come from? According to Prudence Hall, MD, having sex on your period is not really different than having sex at other times during your cycle.
Note: This means you must be using any contraception that you normally use…no excuses!
However, she says, some religions brainwash women into thinking it is somehow not “right or acceptable” while in other religions, it is considered to be an “auspicious and favorable time; men being enlivened or blessed by our blood.”
“Putting aside the ways society can shame women, there are some practical considerations. Blood can be pretty messy. I suggest inserting a menstrual cup which catches the blood during sex. Purchased in any drug store as an alternative to tampons or pads, simply pop it in vaginal and after sex rinse it off,” says Dr. Hall. “Making love in a bath or shower bypasses the whole issue, as the blood is simply washed away.”
One thing to note if you have cramps, though, is to try to avoid positions in which penetration is incredibly deep, as that can aggravate the cramps. All bodies are different, so feel free to explore!
Know Your Body, Empower Your Sex Life
Sarah Forbes, author of “Sex in the Museum” and as the former curator at the Museum of Sex, said that understanding not only what is normal for your own body as well as for menstruation in general will only make you feel empowered. Shame and empowerment are enemies, and knowing what to expect when it comes to changes in your own body can help you figure out what feels good, what doesn’t, and how to experiment.
“During your period there is increased blood flood to your genital, parts of your body may feel more sensitive and tender. All bodies respond differently, but being communicative with your partner is the best sex tip anyone can give you,” she said.
Sarah Noble, DO, a psychiatrist at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, said that the reason men have been “so freaked out for years” and have created their own rituals and myths around our periods is because it’s a reminder of our amazing power to bring life into the world.
This is understandable.
“The ancient Greeks created the word hysteria, which means traveling uterus, to describe mental health problems specifically in women. All over the world and in many diverse cultures women are banned to menstrual huts during their menstrual cycle,” she said.
Fortunately, times have changed, and if your partner is male and isn’t “woke” already, it’s time to fix that.
How to Have the Period Sex Conversation With Your Partner
It can be a tricky convo to start, so, said Noble, it should be done in a non-threatening way. The use of “I” statements is always beneficial as is picking the right time and place.
“It’s best to talk about this in advance of sexual play, so that if there are any questions or discomfort it doesn’t get tied up in the feelings of the play itself,” she says. “As with any sexual play, make sure you and your partner have been tested for STDs.”
Forbes agrees that having a conversation about a topic outside of an intimate moment may help it feel less emotionally charged for everyone involved.
“It’s always good to understand the “why?” behind someone’s feelings on a topic, be curious without being pushy. When it comes to bodies and sexually, consent is essential, and its important to remember we are come to the topic of sex with a lot of preconceived idea, most of which aren’t true.”
Have More Period Sex….or Don’t
GiGi Engle, writer and sex educator, said that, simply put, there is nothing gross about period sex.
“You may or may not feel like having sex on your period. That is totally up to you. The point is, you should make that choice for yourself and not feel the need to limit yourself,” she says. “If your partner doesn’t want to have sex with you on your period because he or she thinks it’s ‘gross,’ have an open, honest discussion about it,” she said.
“For some women, they may not think that’s a big deal. For others, having sex on their periods is important to them. Your partner should never make you feel gross for having a normal bodily function. Fifty percent of the population has a period. You really have to decide how you feel about being with someone who doesn’t want to engage in sexual activity during your period. That feels pretty shame-y. Plus, you’re going to bleed 5 days of every month, so that means no sex for those full five days.”
So, all systems are a go, and you want to make as little mess as possible. Engle suggests getting a set of designated “period towels.”
“You can buy some cheap red towels on Amazon and grab them whenever you’re looking to have sex on your period. This has been my go-to for years,” she said.
How to Have Period Sex
In a pinch or by preference, dark brown, navy blue, or black also get the job done. Also, many companies, from specialized organic brands to generic drug-store strains make feminine wipes for easier cleanup and freshness, which are super handy to keep on the nightstand. Or kitchen counter. Or Coffee table.
And, remember to be safe—you can get pregnant just as easily during this time of the month.
In terms of position, are some more satisfying than others? Engle echoes Noble’s sentiment about cramping.
However, since sex can actually soothe cramps, Engle suggests the spooning position as a comfortable option, since you don’t contract your abdomen, and that while oral sex could be messy, inserting a tampon or a menstrual cup while your partner focuses on the area around the vagina, and especially on your clitoris, is a pretty mess-free option.
“Live your life. Periods are a part of life and as women, we should empower each other to embrace our periods,” Engle said. “Make choices out of empowerment. If you feel like a chunky slob on your period, that’s fine. Do your thing. If you’re horny as hell, get on it.”