Uproar ensued when it was announced that the 50 Shades of Grey director hadn’t even considered including the infamous tampon scene in the movie. People either felt outrage at the missed opportunity to embrace period sex, periods, and women’s bodies or disgust over the scene itself. These reactions reinforced the mystery surrounding period sex so today I’m pulling back the curtain to show why this is something to consider and how to have period sex.
If you didn’t read the book, the tampon scene can be summed up in one sentence: Christian removes Anna’s tampon and has sex with her. There’s more to it than that, and the Daily Dot featured an excellent piece looking at the lack of consent in the scene, but it’s the period sex itself that everyone seems to be focusing on—and freaking out over).
Before I continue I want to say that I get this is a tricky topic. If you just can’t – I understand. If you’re on the fence, keep reading so you can see what the possibilities might be + keep an open mind. And if you are already on board and just want the tips, scroll to the end!
Also, I solemnly swear I will not to use the ‘m’ word (that’s moist in case you’re wondering).
The history of period sex
In ancient/biblical/prehistoric/what-have-you times, the menstrual (moon) cycle was a time of coming together. As you may know, people’s cycles can “sync up” if they spend a lot of time together. While this doesn’t happen as much anymore because of various hormonal birth control methods, in these times it can be assumed that communities of menstruating humans would get their periods at the same time.
One’s period was Seen as something to celebrate
It was a time to gather together to support, celebrate, and uplift one another.
It was considered a sacred sign of fertility that connected all menstruating humans throughout history.
Even those who were through menopause came to these red tents to provide comfort, empathy, and pleasure. Looking to experience something similar? Check out the Woodstock Moon Lodge.
red tents also symbolised society’s fear of menstrual cycles
A fear that continues today.
In most major religious traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, there are restrictions on what people who bleed can do during their periods. Some examples of this include not having sex, touching holy texts, or entering places of worship. Observance of these restrictions today depends on the specific religious community. Regardless, this history informs the idea that people on their periods are dirty, unfit, or not worthy..
No wonder we’re scared to have sex on our periods!
Today, the disgust focuses on the cleanliness factor
a la, “Ewwwww bloood!” While medically-speaking this can be a concern—STIs like HIV and hepatitis can be transmitted via blood—there is nothing about period blood specifically that makes it any more or less dirty than any other bodily fluid. Yes that includes your natural lubrication and semen! As Hanna Brooks Olsen writes for The Frisky:
And if we’re being perfectly honest, sex is kind of gross when you think about how it’s two sweaty bodies bumping into each other until they both emit fluids. So…if you’re OK with sex, you should probably be OK with sex plus periods. [Source]
Benefits of having sex during your period
Given this history, why would anyone want to have sex on their period? There are actually a lot of reasons including these six.
You have extra lubrication.
Lube increases pleasure for both you and your partner. Just because you have this jumpstart, however, doesn’t mean you should skip foreplay all together. When you get aroused your body experiences many different changes that ready it for sex. These include blood flowing to your vulva, your vagina “tenting,” and your cervix moving up and back. Giving your body enough time for these to happen is especially important for period sex.
Read more: Want Better Sex? Slow Down & Savour Foreplay
Orgasms are easier + stronger
Due to both the extra lubrication and the period hormones running through your body, you may be more sensitive and feel each stroke or thrust more intensely. This not only means you should spend more time on foreplay but also that your orgasms may feel different.
Orgasms = fewer cramps + a shorter period.
When you have an orgasm, a few things happen. First, the muscles in and around your vagina contract rapidly. Secondly, your body releases endorphins that not only boost your mood but also provide natural pain relief. The contractions may help push things out more quickly—meaning a shorter but potentially heavier flow—while the endorphins can help relieve cramps, headaches, and a sour mood.
You get to explore and experiment
Though sex has become synonymous with vaginal intercourse, this might not be something you or your sweetie feel like during your period. That makes it the perfect time to explore other sexy time things do you love to do? What do you want to try? Now is the perfect time!
Read More: 3 Ways to Make Sex Fun Again
You satisfy your urges
Some people find themselves more horny during their period. Yes, even if you’re bloated, crampy, etc. This is due to the wonderful mix of hormones coursing through your body. As long as your partner’s game, go for it. When you want it and your partner does too the sex is even sexier + feels better. As a bonus, you or your partner may be even more turned on by the fact that taboo nature of period sex.
Its more intimate
In addition to feeling horny, many people with periods report feeling more loving and ready to receive during their bleed. This can make for sexy time that is extra intimate, special, or intense in the best possible way.
How to have safe period sex
While the benefits of period sex are many, there are some negatives too. The good news is that all of these are super easy to take care of.
- It can be messy. We feel like this one is pretty obvious…
- You can still get pregnant. Protection, whatever that means for you, is still important if you aren’t looking to start a family right now.
- Your risk of infection is higher. The reason for this is three-fold. First, your cervix is more open to allow blood to pass through; therefore, it is easier for bacteria and viruses to get further into your pelvic organs. Secondly, HIV and hepatitis are both blood-borne pathogens. In other words: they “travel” better in blood than the lubrication your body makes during the other weeks of the month/your cycle. Lastly, blood increases the pH of your vagina, making it less acidic.This acidity is a natural protection process (shout-out: your vagina is a wonderful self-cleaning being) and at a less acidic state means that some of that protection is lessened/compromised.
Using a condom during period sex can help with all of these. It keeps blood off your partner’s bits while protecting both of you. Win-win!
How to enjoy having period sex
You’ve made it this far (or perhaps you skipped ahead to get to the “good” stuff). You and your partner are totally on board with having period sex. What now? With a few sex hacks (like life hacks but obviously better) you can quickly be on your way to having fantastic and intimate sex.
Discuss it with your partner
When talking about sensitive topics like period sex, it can be helpful to use an article like this as a jumping off point. We also recommend avoiding yes/no questions (e.g. “Do you want to try this?”), using words you feel comfortable with, and deciding on your limits in advance (e.g. only wanting penetration if htey’re wearing a condom, no oral sex, etc). From there you can negotiate.
Here’s an example:
“Hey honey I was reading this article about period sex and I was wondering how you feel about trying that?”
Read more: How to Talk to Your Partner about Sex
Prevent a mess with this waterproof throw
While many people will throw down an old towel, we don’t think that’s particularly sexy. It also doesn’t do a great job of protecting your sheets or furniture. Instead, we recommend this waterproof blanket.
In addition to preventing period blood and other fluids from ruining your favourite blanket, The Throe is machine-washable. It also has two sides—one satiny and one cozy microfiber—for different sensory experiences.
Be mindful of your position
Obviously, go with whatever feels good. However, if you’re looking to reduce any mess, stay on your back or side. Think positions like missionary or spooning. Mix it up by varying your leg positions and speed.
Listen to your body
The general recommendation is to take it slow and gentle when having period sex. That’s because your cervix sits lower in the vagina so the risk of hitting it increases. For some people, this feels awful. For others, it feels amazing. So screw the rules, and follow your body’s lead about what will actually feel good for you.
The shower is your friend
Want to avoid mess all together? Get it on in the shower. Try it standing up or doggie style with you leaning against the wall or the side of the tub.
Alternatively, it can feel great before or after sex to soothe your muscles and clean up.
So are sex toys
Maybe you are craving the feeling of penetration but your partner isn’t totally on board. Use a toy while your sweetie kisses, strokes, and stimulates you in other ways.
We also adore Lorals for sex on your period. These ultra-thin latex undies transfer every lick, touch, and tease. This makes them perfect for mess-free period oral.
Have other forms of sex
Pop in a menstrual cup, disc, or tampon and experiment—undies on or off.
- Use a wand vibrator like this on the clit over your undies
- Give or receive a rim job
- Have a steamy makeout session
- Use a butt plug
- Have your partner give you a sensual massage
- Share a sex fantasy
- Focus on pleasuring your partner only
- Explore sensation play
- Try other forms of kink
Read more: What is Kink?
Only do what you’re comfortable with
The decision to have period sex, whatever that looks like, comes down to you and your partner. Your brain is your biggest sex organ so if either you or your partner is uncomfortable it will show. You won’t get as aroused, sex won’t feel as good, and you won’t be able to let go and fully experience freedom in pleasure. Figure out what you both are comfortable doing and give yourself permission to enjoy them. You may decide you don’t want to have period sex and that’s 100% okay too.
The things that make period sex great, apply to sex all the time
Period sex can be incredibly fun + intimate. Ultimately, it isn’t all that different from “regular” sex either. Olsen once again has the perfect quote:
Period sex is just like regular sex except with a little bit of a different hue to it. But the moral of the story if that if you’re into and your partner is into it, there’s no reason for you to abstain for a week while you derive pleasure solely from frozen desserts and reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy.” You’re still a human person on your period. You can still do all the human person things you enjoy. [Source]