Q&A: Is Period Sex Safe?

A: As long as you aren’t afraid of doing laundry and showering afterwards, proceed onward and earn those red wings! All jokes aside though, there very are some important facts you should know concerning sex during menstruation.

First of all, every woman has their own unique cycle which can vary greatly from month-to-month. Not every woman has a set in stone 28 day cycle. Women who take hormonal contraceptives are more likely to have a set menstrual schedule, since their hormones are regulated from an external source such as pills, shots, a patch or an IUD.

By far the most common misconception about period sex is: women can’t get pregnant while on their period. This is far from the truth. While it is less likely for a woman to conceive a child during her time of the month, it certainly happens. Part of the reason why this is possible stems from the fact that sperm can stay alive inside of a female’s womb for several days. This means when her menstrual cycle is complete, she could ovulate directly afterwards while there are still viable sperm inside of her.

Oftentimes, women can have “spotting” which is just what it sounds like. Small drops of blood leave the body near the time of ovulation. This can me misinterpreted as a light period, or the beginning of a period. To have unprotected sex at this time would be extremely risky if you are trying to avoid pregnancy. This is yet another reason why the very real possibility of pregnancy exists while a woman is menstruating. As with any other time of the month, it is so important to remember to practice safe sex. Assuming pregnancy can occur at any time in her cycle is the safest and most responsible way to handle the situation, regardless of her period.

Let’s talk about cramps. Whether you’ve experienced them for yourself or not, they are all too real. Having bad cramps can be a tempting excuse to say “no” to sex due to feelings of pain in the lower abdomen, back and breasts. However, orgasms are actually a natural pain reliever because they cause the brain to release pleasurable chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, both of which significantly reduce the pain associated with cramps. Period sex can also be an excellent way to relieve the anxiety and mood swings brought on by PMS. Additionally, the contractions during a female orgasm can actually aid in flushing out any unused uterine lining, making periods much shorter and more bearable.

Finally, while menstruating, the cervix opens up to allow blood to flow out. This makes a woman on her period more prone to infection than at other times during her cycle. Your partner can also be especially susceptible to catching disease while coming in direct contact with your blood. Without a doubt, period or no period, condoms are the best way to prevent the spread of diseases, bacteria and infections. Wearing protection is especially important during these times to prevent STDs, especially HIV. The good news is, period blood will in no way harm the functionality of a condom, in fact it may improve it. Since the number one cause of condom breakage is a lack of lubrication, period blood can actually become a natural lubricant for your condom.

Follow These 5 Period Sex Tips For A Bloody Good Time:

1. Keep it clean– Having sex in the shower is a great way to stay clean. But, if this is not an option, just be sure to have some easy clean up strategies planned out. Paper towels and dark fabric towels work really well. If you’re using a toy during some period-based self-loving sessions, using a condom is a great way to keep clean up time to a minimum. Remember to wash porous surfaces in hot water directly afterwards to prevent uterine bacteria from spreading.
2. Stay safe– Not only will condoms keep both you and your partner safe from an unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of STDs/STIs, they can also really help out with the cleanup process. Simply take it off and toss it. Done!
3. Don’t wear a tampon– This seems like common sense, but if alcohol is involved or you are caught up in the moment, you may temporarily forget you still have a tampon in. Since the tampon and the penis enter the same canal, having a tampon in during sex can result in it being pushed up into the cervix. This will result in the tampon being very difficult and painful to remove. Also, this can put you at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is a very serious and life-threatening illness which occurs when something foreign stays in your uterus or vagina for too long.
4. Don’t douche– Resist the urge to try to “mask” your period from your partner by douching before sexual activity. This can prove to be harmful to you because your vagina has a natural cleaning process that involves a delicate balance and cleaning it on your own could remove essential bacteria. Studies have shown that women who douche have more health problems with their vaginas than those who don’t. Instead, simply clean the outside of your vagina with warm, soapy water.
5. Keep it open– Always tell the other person if you are on your period, since they may have qualms or feel uneasy about having period sex. They deserve to know what is happening so they can make a conscious and well informed choice instead of being surprised. It’s also so important to communicate with your partner before, during and after sex, especially about what does and doesn’t feel good during your period. During menstruation, a woman’s cervix lowers itself to help slough out the uterine lining, so it can get bumped by the penis, which can be uncomfortable. When this happens, don’t be afraid to tell your partner to knock it down a notch.

Just remember to stay safe, stay clean and speak your mind and you’ll be having great period sex in no time!

About Kara

Kara is the Creative Director for the Condom Depot Learning Center, Condoms Fast Blog & the Spicy Gear Blog. She's an FSU alumni with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Studio Art & is as sex positive as they come. She be found swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, reading or playing the drums.

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