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Bloody Good Time: Period Sex

By: Lisa Finn

Babe Blog:Exploring Period Sex

For a lot of folks, menstrual cycles are a regular part of life- coming and going every 28-ish days in cycles that can often last anywhere from 3-8 days (on average, though there are many differences and irregularities that can happen within menstruating bodies, but that’s a topic for our OBGYN friends). What we’re here to talk about today is getting down during that “time of the month” – because being on your period doesn’t need to mean staying abstinent until it passes. In fact, period sex can be its own totally unique experience, and worth checking out. 

First things first: every body is different. Some folks experience discomfort during their periods in the vulvar and vaginal areas that may make sex (most commonly, penetrative sex) during their menstrual cycles difficult or even painful. Some folks will also have discomfort or high sensitivity in other body parts like tender nipples / breasts, headaches, severe cramps, and so on that can also affect how we experience sexual activity. Recognize your body’s signs and signals and listen to its needs – if one way to play isn’t working, you can try something else if you’d like. Remember – if it’s not feeling right for you, or if you simply don’t want it - you can always stop or say no. 

Why have sex on your period? 

Other than the perk of expanding your sexual calendar into the days of your cycle, period sex has some physical benefits as well: 

Babe Blog: Exploring Period Sex

  • Relief from cramps: Sex relieves tension, and that includes physical tension. Menstrual cramps are a result of contractions in the uterus (to help shed lining) – and when you have an orgasm, those same muscles are included in those that contract and release at climax. That release can help alleviate some of that tension causing your cramps. 
  • Lessens migraines: Arousal can help with other kinds of pain too! Orgasm also helps with the relief of headaches – beyond that release of tension, orgasm releases chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Low dopamine levels can often correspond with headache and migraine symptoms, so the surge of this chemical during play helps to explain why we can feel that relief post-O. 
  • Different sensations: Your hormones fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle, which can change up your libido as well as how you physically experience sexual pleasure – meaning that even getting down the same way you do when you’re not on your period can feel completely brand new when you are! 

Is period sex safe?

Short answer: yes – with that, there are a few things to consider, as you would with any partnered sex, period or not! 

  • Yes, you can get pregnant during your period. Though the odds may be lower than when you are at different times in your overall cycle, it’s still possible – Moreso if you have a shorter period. So, if you’re not actively trying to have a baby, a condom is always a good idea. 
  • You can still transmit + contract STIs. Alongside the usual STI precautions that come with vaginal sex, some viruses (like hepatitis) can live in menstrual blood. Being aware of your status and communicating with your partner for risk assessment is always important. 

Won't it be messy?

It absolutely can be, but that can also be a big part of the fun! Menstrual blood can play many roles when it comes to sex – it can act as a natural lubricant, you can incorporate it into some roleplay (hello, sexy vampire cunnilingus), and some folks simply love the look, smell, or taste of it. Feel free to embrace the mess and have a bloody good time. 

But if making a mess isn’t your idea of a sexy time – there are plenty of ways to keep things tidy while having period sex. 

  • Use barriers: Easy cleanup and protection all in one! Condoms are great for penetrative play (you can even put a condom over your toys to keep them clean as well), and dental dams – which are designed to be worn over the vulva – will help keep blood off mouths and fingers during oral sex and external / clitoral play.
    • Lorals are a brand of wearable barriers – basically, they’re fashionable dental dams in the form of cute underwear! Lorals come in a set of four individually packaged undies and are available in bikini-style or shorties and have a very light vanilla scent to them. Made of natural rubber latex, Lorals are FDA cleared as STI protection devices – so they’re perfect not only for period play, but any kind of external play – cunnilingus, rimming, and so on – where you want to play safer.
  • Babe Blog: Exploring Period SexLay down a towel or blanket: Grab a towel or blanket – a clean one – and lay it down on the surface that you’re going to be playing on to help prevent staining sheets or other materials.
    • There are even blankets designed specifically for messy sex – like the Liberator Fascinator Throw – which is made of plush and cozy microfiber with an inner moisture barrier that gives extra protection. Not only is this great for period sex, but also for squirting, using lots of lube, or simply for making any surface into a clean and protected sexual destination. (Machine- or hand-wash your throw, towel, or sheets in cold, since hot water makes blood stains set.) 
  • Hit the showers: Shower sex is a great way to avoid mess – running water not only will help to rinse away menstrual blood as it happens, but the added sensation of the shower and the unique positions you can create in a bathtub can inspire makes this kind of sex a whole new adventure.

You can play above the belt, too. 

As mentioned earlier, not everyone enjoys vaginal (or even anal) play when they’re on their period – but that certainly doesn’t mean you have to forgo sex overall. Sex and sexual play can take many forms beyond penetration, and you don’t even need to get the vagina or vulva involved at all! 

Babe Blog: Exploring Period SexExperiment with other hot spots – other areas can be super sensitive with these hormone fluctuations, like the nipples. Use fingers, mouths, teeth, and even toys – vibration can feel sensational on the breasts/chest, and the opening of clitoral air pleasure toys can also fit over most nipples! 

Get into some sensation play and / or BDSM. Get a little kinky with it, and explore things like bondage, impact play, erotic massage, and other ways to discover erogenous zones across the body beyond the bikini area. You may find a hot spot you never knew was a huge turn-on for you! Read more about exploring BDSM here. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things. 

Maybe period sex isn’t for you – and that’s totally okay! You don’t have to ever do anything you don’t want. But if you are interested or curious about exploring play while on your menstrual cycle, don’t let nerves hold you back – experiment by yourself through some menstrual masturbation, bring in a period partner, and discover new sensations and experiences to add to your monthly calendar! 

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