Curious to know more about sex during periods? If you’ve always thought having your period meant hitting the pause button on your sex life, it’s time to rethink.
From navigating the conversations around periods and sex to the practicalities of getting intimate when your body is cramping, we’re here to answer your questions and remind you that you can keep the sparks flying while menstruating.
Let’s talk about period sex
You can have safe, enjoyable sex at any point during your cycle, even if you or your partner is bleeding. If you’re into it, period sex is something you shouldn’t avoid. In fact, there are a few benefits to getting intimate at this time in your cycle.
Muscle contractions during orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps (more on that later) and expel the uterine contents, potentially bringing about the end of your period faster. Some people also report increased sex drive during menstruation, so it’s good to know they can enjoy sex during their periods.
Your period sex questions answered
There are lots of concerns and questions around period sex — Can you get pregnant during your period? Does sex help period cramps? Do guys like having sex while on your period? Are girls into having period sex? Let’s take a look at some of the common ones.
Can you get pregnant during your period?
For most people who have periods, the days around ovulation are their most fertile. Because you generally ovulate 14 days before the first day of an upcoming period, the odds of falling pregnant during your period are lower. However, you can fall pregnant any time during your cycle, including when you’re menstruating.
So yes, it’s definitely still possible, and contraception is a must if you don’t want to fall pregnant. Always practise safe sex, and use condoms or dental dams during this time.
Can having sex start my period?
Having sex can’t make your period appear out of thin air (your menstrual cycle is responsible for the timing of your period). But the question of ‘Why do I start my period after having sex?’ is one we hear often. Sex and relationship expert Isiah McKimmie explains how sex can jumpstart your period if it’s coming.
“When you reach orgasm, your uterus contracts. So there is some evidence that shows if you’re really close to getting your period, an orgasm can essentially force out blood. But that is only when your period is close to starting.”
Can I use lube on my period?
Certainly! Just be discerning about the type of lube you use.
“Vaginas usually need to be slightly acidic to keep a really healthy balance,” says McKimmie. “But when you are bleeding, that changes the pH. If you’re having sex with someone who ejaculates, that also lowers the pH. Therefore, some people might notice they’re more prone to infections during that time. So keep in mind to always use a lubricant that’s supportive of vaginal health.”
Does sex help with period cramps?
During your period, your uterus contracts to release its lining, which can cause that cramping sensation. During an orgasm, those same muscles will contract and release. Some people find that releasing those muscles can lessen the cramping sensation. An orgasm has other benefits too — it triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
“When we experience touch with someone else, we’re releasing a neurochemical called oxytocin that can help us feel relaxed,” adds McKimmie. “It can also help us better deal with pain. And an orgasm has a slight kind of analgesic effect. So that’s why it can actually be helpful to have sex when you’ve got a mild headache or period pain.”
Tips for having period sex
If you’ve avoided having sex during your period in the past, what do you need to do?
Communicate with your partner
If you’re unsure if your partner likes having sex while you or they have their period, just ask! Share your feelings about period sex, and ask your partner how they feel.
“Communication is one of the most important factors to having great sex at any point in your cycle,” says McKimmie. “You can be more sensitive when you’re on your period, so it’s really important to share that. Some people might need something a little bit softer or slower than usual.” Share those needs with your partner.
Prepare yourself and the bed
McKimmie reminds us that period blood isn’t dirty, but period sex can get messy. “You want to be kind to your sheets as well, so it can be really helpful to put down some towels and have some paper towels on hand so you’re not getting messy. And again, your regular safe sex practices apply here as well.”
If you do have a period spill on your bedding or pjs, remember period blood is easy to remove if you act quickly.
Kimmie also advises having a shower beforehand if you’re feeling self-conscious. “But remember, menstruating is totally normal and totally natural. Sex can still be so enjoyable for both you and your partner, so do whatever makes you feel good.”
Got more questions?
There’s no reason why your sex life should be put on hold when you or your partner is menstruating. But if period sex is a concern at this time, talk to your partner about other ways you can enjoy each other.
Got more period-related questions? Stay informed and find out more on our blog. And remember, we design our range of period undies to give you confidence and protection whatever you’re doing, alone or with a partner.