If you’ve ever gotten “I want to rip his clothes off even though we are in the middle of the grocery store” horny, precisely halfway through your period, you’ve had the debate. Is it worth the blood bath—and the clean-up—to have sex on your period? Well. Yeah. It is.
Unless you’re considering doing it unprotected or with an ex, sex is pretty much always a good idea. So, why should that time of the month change a thing? (Don’t even get me started on this whole idea that men get treated to “blow job week” while you’re menstruating. Oh. Hell. No.) Look, if you’re craving it while you’re surfing the crimson wave, you aren’t alone. Here, the case for period sex—as well as what you need to know about just doing it.
Who’s Into It?
According to one published study, a quarter of women say they regularly get it on during that time of the month. They may be benefiting from the fact that when you’re horny AF, you’re less likely to even be grossed out by the fact that there’s blood involved.
If you’re still not sold on the whole idea, you’re not alone. Teresa Hoffman, MD, a board-certified OB/GYN at Baltimore, Maryland’s Mercy Medical Center, tells Berry that most women are a whole lot hornier when they’re ovulating, or around the middle of their cycle, when the body is most fertile.
But some women even report the vaginal area is more sensitive during their period, Hoffman says. That’s because of the blood flow to the area, which can make sex a whole lot hotter. And while you can actually get pregnant during your period, too (sorry, ladies), the reduced risk that comes with Aunt Flo’s visit can be a major turn on for some women and their partners.
OK, but is it safe?
Of course. You still need to use protection if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy because it can happen, no matter what you learned in the locker room in 10th grade. STDs can also still be transmitted during menstruation—although the jury is still out on whether the risk of transmission is actually higher during your period than the rest of your cycle.
Which brings us to the good news…
The benefits of banging while bleeding
One study out of Yale claims having sex while you’re menstruating can actually reduce your risk of endometriosis. The rationale: All that spasming from orgasm will help flush out the uterus.
Futhermore, researchers in multiple studies have linked sexual orgasms to pain relief. A woman’s pain tolerance thresholds increase by about 40 percent with vaginal stimulation and climbs to about 75 percent when we achieve climax. So, getting busy during your period could actually help relieve those wicked cramps.
Managing the Mess
You can try putting in a fresh tampon shortly before sex and removing it when you’re ready to bang. If you’re lucky, it will evacuate a good load of blood, and you’ll have a lot less mess to contend with.
There is one major drawback with that option, Dr. Hoffman warns: It’s going to dry you out. So, make sure you have lube at the ready.
Or you can try a menstrual cup.
These little rubbery cups have been around since the 1930s and are meant to be placed over the cervix to capture the blood as it leaks out of your uterus. They’re not only trendy RN, but they can make for bloody good sex—you know, without the blood.
Menstrual cups sit at the base of the cervix, where they collect blood just like a tampon. Unlike a tampon, however, it’s not absorbing anything, so when you remove a menstrual cup or disc, you’ve got a cup full of blood that you have to dump in the toilet. It’s recommended that you dump a cup right before sex, but it will collect anything that’s flowing south while you’re doing it.
One brand of soft disposable cups, the Flex, even advertises right on its site that their cup is great for “mess-free period sex.”
“We learned from early users that many couples avoid intimacy during a woman’s cycle for a variety of reasons—cultural, religious, general embarrassment, fear of mess, lack of knowledge—and the response to the possibility of a product that could help them overcome some these obstacles was staggering,” Flex company co-founder Erika Jensen tells Berry. “We had to address it.”
Soft menstrual cups are perfectly safe during sex, notes Dr. Hoffman. But she’s quick to caution that nothing is 100 percent perfect. “Intercourse tends to be a little bit rugged,” she says. “It can get dislodged, so there has to be a certain expectation that it can get messy.”
So, when all else fails: Keep those towels handy.