Grossed out by period sex? Super into period sex? Both are cool. But whether or not you or your partner are grossed out at the thought about having sex while on your period, let’s be real: Chances are you’ve both at least wondered about it. After all, the chances that you and your partner won’t have a day when at least one of you are both feeling frisky and menstruating are ..well, they’re very slim. Which brings us back to, “Is having sex while on your period…good?
Is it healthy? Hugely underrated? Unnecessarily stigmatized? Hey, periods in general are stigmatized, but that’s for another article. And, given the likely potential for some messy post-coital sheets, you’ve likely wondered whether it’s worth it.
To give us a breakdown about what we should keep in mind when it comes to having period sex, we reached out to Felice Gersh, an OB/GYN and founder of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine in Irvine, CA. Here’s what you should know.
What are some common misconceptions about period sex that we can clear up right off the bat?
One potential misconception is that it’s inherently dangerous. It’s not inherently dangerous to have sex while you’re on your period. A menstrual bleed is just sloughing of the uterine lining so there’s no danger just in terms of having sex while you’re having a period.
I think it’s important to point out that a woman may be more prone to acquiring a sexually transmitted disease—and of course potentially transmitting one—to another partner. We know that, for example, women on birth control pills, —because they have an altered hormonal status and altered bacterial environment in the vagina—they have an altered microbiome. They have different amounts of cervical mucus when they’re on birth control pills and are more at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
Therefore you definitely would want to use condoms, particularly if it’s not a long-term monogamous relationship where you know the health status of the partner.
Another misconception is that a woman is completely safe and she can’t get pregnant if she has sex while she’s on her period. And although the vast majority of the time she will not get pregnant if she’s having a normal cycle, it’s not impossible. Maybe you have a 25 day cycle and you happen to have a partner who has very robust, long-lived sperm and it goes longer than the average. You can actually have an overlap where the sperm could still be surviving and you could ovulate, so I would never say that you’re guaranteed safety as far as pregnancy protection.
Is having sex on your period sanitary?
It’s not incredibly sanitary, in that, general speaking, there will be blood that gets onto sheets and it could soak into a mattress. If it’s towards the end of the menstrual cycle and the amount of bleeding is very slight, it’s not going to be particularly messy and a simple towel will probably take care of whatever little mess there is.
Blood, unfortunately, is a vehicle for transmission of blood-borne diseases. If you know your health status and you know you’re not a carrier of Hepatitis B or C, you don’t have syphillis or HIV, then you’re not going to give somebody something, but it’s always good to be aware of. Assuming you’re a healthy individual and you’ve been tested for various transmissible diseases, it’s not going to create any harm. It’s more messy than harmful.
Are there any health benefits to having sex while on your period?
I don’t believe there are any. There’s always benefits to having orgasms; of course you don’t need to have intercourse to have an orgasm. But orgasms can reduce pain. If you tend to have headaches or cramps you certainly might have some temporarily relief of those symptoms.
Are there any new products that make sex while being on your period like easier?
There is a ring device that has sort of a soft stretchy diaphragm that goes across it that will sort of stretch to hold menstrual blood that is disposable. It says it’ll prevent mess and fuss when you’re on your period, and it’s inserted over the cervix and it will catch any blood and not leak.
Is protection necessary while having sex on your period?
If you have any concerns, if you’re not in a long-term monogamous relationship where you know the health status, absolutely.
Can having sex on your period make your period lighter or shorter in any way?
No. There’s no data on that.
Is there anything else we should keep in mind about having sex while on your period?
I think that every woman should do whatever feels comfortable to her!