Having sex on your period is absolutely safe. The myth that it’s dangerous originates largely from religious texts. Many people wrongly believed that women were “dirty” or “unclean” while menstruating, and for this reason, contact with menstruating women was limited or forbidden entirely. In fact, some religions still adhere to these practices; however, medically and secularly speaking, there is no reason not to have sex on your period.
In fact, sex while you are menstruating can help ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Many women say that orgasms can ease their cramps and the orgasmic contractions of the uterus offer a soothing internal massage. Also, orgasms release endorphins, natural painkillers and mood enhancers, which can help soothe the cramps, headaches, mild depression, and irritability sometimes associated with periods. Many women enjoy sex more when they are menstruating because of increased feelings of fullness in the pelvic and genital areas, which offer a head start on arousal.
There is one caveat, though: Safe sex is even more crucial during your period. Your risks of sexually transmitted diseases and infections are higher than normal during this time because the cervix opens to allow blood to pass through. Unfortunately, this creates the perfect pathway for bacteria to travel deep inside the pelvic cavity. You are also more likely to pass on blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis to a partner during your period and more likely to develop yeast or bacterial infections because the vagina’s pH during menstruation is less acidic. Finally, there is still a chance that you could get pregnant during your period (unless you’re on the pill), so don’t assume it’s safe to forgo contraception.
Here are some tips to have safe, enjoyable sex during your period:
No muss, no fuss. If you are worried about staining your sheets, you can lay a towel down underneath you. You can also take things to the bathroom and have sex in the shower or the bathtub. Not only will it be a sensuous and exciting change from the norm, but it will also help to wash any blood away.
Try other activities. If you aren’t in the mood for intercourse, don’t give in to pressure. However, you can still reap the feel-good benefits of orgasm through masturbation. You can even enjoy oral sex during your period; it’s perfectly safe and healthy although, as I said above, it’s very important to practice safer sex techniques (like using a dental dam).
Maintain your sex appeal. Sometimes when that time of the month rolls around, all you want to do is throw on your old sweats, lie on the couch, and gorge on feel-good snacks like ice cream and brownies. Unfortunately, foods such as these will only serve to make bloating and cramps worse, and lead to lethargy that will only add to your bad mood. Instead, commit to maintaining your sex appeal during your period. Some women claim that they feel sexy and powerful during their periods, so tap into that side of yourself and go out for a night of dancing. Getting active will help to keep your mind off your cramps, and your partner won’t be able to resist your sensual moves.
Remember, your period doesn’t have to slow down your sex life!
By Laura Berman, PhD