Can you even say the words without singing it in Rachel Bloom’s voice?! We can’t. Even if you aren’t a Crazy Ex Girlfriend fan, period sex is one of the most divisive sex acts. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re curious to try it or you want to take your period sex game up a notch, here’s everything you need to know about enjoying yourself while riding the crimson tide.
A quick note about language: as a company that values holistic sex education and wellness, we take an expansive view of sex. That means, when referring to sex below, we’re talking all about the different ways people can have it. Not everything applies to each type or to every body.
BENEFITS OF PERIOD SEX
1. Extra lubrication. Letting yourself free bleed? If so, and you decide to enjoy vaginal penetration, you’ll enjoy increased lubrication—and the associated boost in sensation and pleasure that goes along with it. Note, though, that just because you have this jumpstart doesn’t mean you should ignore foreplay. It has so many benefits beyond starting lubrication.
2. Pain relief. When you experience orgasm, your body releases a variety of endorphins that also happen to the body’s innate pain killers. That means, if you’re dealing with cramps, body aches, of headaches, you may get some extra relief.
3. An energy boost. The same endorphins that can reduce pain may also help clear brain fog and boost your energy and mood. HELL YES.
4. Increased sensitivity—which may mean your experience of orgasm is easier, stronger, or otherwise different. Between the extra lubrication and the period hormones running through your body, you may feel each press, stroke, lick, and thrust more intensely. This can lead to fun things like experiencing a stronger orgasm, experiencing orgasm more quickly or from a different body part or type of sensation, and more.
5. A shorter period. Anecdotally, some people who bleed report that experiencing orgasm causes their periods to be shorter but heavier. It’s thought that the muscle contractions in and around the vagina and uterus that can occur during orgasm may be responsible for this.
6. Deep intimacy and trust. Given that negative messages about periods, people who bleed, and period sex abound, choosing to enjoy this type of sex can be a radical act of saying NO to societal BS and YES to yourself as well as your pleasure and your partner’s, if you have one (or more). Doing something like that together can lead to deeper intimacy and connection.
7. Exploration, experimentation, adventure, and fun! Period sex can be the perfect time to explore sexy time things you love to do that don’t involve vaginal penetration. What else do you want to try? Give it a go! What types of sex maybe don’t get as much attention otherwise? Let them be the main event!
DOWNSIDES TO PERIOD SEX
There are many valid reasons why period sex might not be your jam. The fluids, for one. Though, Bloom offers the perfect solution: “Put down a towel, party till it’s dry.”
You might also not feel your best, from cramps to bloating to increased sensitivity to touch, smell and sensation. Of course, any reason you don’t want to have sex is valid.
Here are some downsides to period sex. The good news? They all have fairly easy solutions.
1. It can be messy.
2. You can still get pregnant. It may not be as common or likely, depending on how early in your cycle you will ovulate in any given month (remember: it changes month to month), but it is.
3. Your risk of infection is higher. There are a few reasons for this. 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.
4. It may hurt more. Because you’re more sensitive, you may also notice that certain positions, types of play, etc., are too much.
5. Every cycle is different so you can’t fully know what to expect.
10 WAYS TO MAKE PERIOD SEX THE MOST FUN
1. Use the right tools. If you find that you’re more aroused during your period but still aren’t quite comfortable with blood, consider using a menstrual disc, which sits far enough up in your cervix to catch blood and enable you to have sex. (And bonus points for the Cora Menstrual Disc, which is reusable, and we’re all for more sustainable period products!)
2. Forget PIV. Use your monthly moon as an opportunity to explore and play with forms of sex that don’t involve vaginal penetration. Think hand jobs, using an external vibrator, making out, outercourse, butt stuff, role playing, kink—the options are practically endless.
3. Use protection. As mentioned above, the risk of pregnancy and STIs still exist. Using barrier methods like an internal or external condom during period sex can help with all of these. It also can keep blood off your partner’s bits.
4. Let unnecessary fears go. there’s nothing more or less dangerous or “dirty” about period blood than any other bodily fluid, like spit, semen, or vaginal lubrication. It’s only society’s misogynistic narrative that makes us think this way.
5. Lay down a dark-colored towel. Protect your sheets, cushions, furniture, wherever!
6. Slow down! The general recommendation is to take it slow and gentle. Your cervix sits lower in the vagina so the risk of hitting it, something that feels either amazing or painful, is heightened. Of course, if you prefer it hard and fast and that feels ok, go for it!
7. Try shower sex. No worries about the mess or cleanup plus the warm water can feel soothing. Try standing doggie, using the wall of the shower for support.
8. Choose the right position for you. Positions on your side or back, like spooning or missionary, help minimize the risk of a mess and are more passive, which might be great if your energy is low. Mix up your leg positions and speed to add variety.
9. Partner not on board with period penetration? Using an insertable toy can give you the sensations you play. Let them do it for you, make them watch, or try out some mutual masturbation.
10. Check-in throughout. Because each cycle is different, and your sensation is heightened, it’s extra important during period sex to check in with yourself and each other. This can be as simple as “how does that feel?” or be more specific like, “on a scale of 1-10 how does that feel?”
Your period doesn’t have to mean a pause in your sex life
If you’re into it and your partner is too, there’s no reason to abstain.