We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: what do do if your boyfriend is scared of period sex.
Q: My boyfriend and I were pretty inexperienced sexually before we met each other. We have a very active sex life now, but my problem is that I hate being out of commission when I’m on my period. My period lasts seven or eight days, and that is way too long to go without sex! I’ve never actually had period sex before, but it doesn’t sound bad to me. Unfortunately, my boyfriend refuses to have sex with me when I'm on my period because it grosses him out. How can I convince him?
A: Thanks for your question! Period sex really doesn’t need to be a big deal, but it gets turned into one far too often. Here are nine tips for dealing with a partner who isn’t down to go with the flow.
(An important note: my next column will be about what to do if your girlfriend won't have period sex, since the approach is slightly different.)
1. Give Him A Reality Check
I wasn’t clear from your question why your boyfriend doesn’t want to have sex when you’re on you’re period, but I’m really hoping that body-shaming isn’t involved. Having a period is one of the most normal, natural parts of being a woman. If your boyfriend is making you feel “icky” or “unclean,” that’s not OK. Ask him to explain his reservations to you. If the word “gross” comes out of his mouth, it might be time for you to reconsider this relationship.
If, on the other hand, your boyfriend is reacting more out of inexperience or naivete, there are some easy ways to help him realize that period sex isn’t that big of a deal. Here’s a simple period sex reality check:
- You only lose only a few teaspoons of menstrual fluid a day (the exact amount varies from woman to woman). Try actually measuring out two teaspoons of water and showing him how little that is! And keep in mind that that’s over the course of an entire day.
- By refusing to have period sex, he’s essentially ensuring he has 25 percent less sex. Sometimes putting the math out there can be enough to change someone’s mind!
- Many women are hornier during their periods. Another reason that being open to period sex can translate to having more sex.
- Menstrual fluid acts as natural lubrication, making sex feel more pleasurable for both of you.
That should be more than enough to convince him that it’s time to get over his squeamishness! Now let’s talk about ways to minimize the fuss during the act itself.
2. Skip The First Few Days To Ease Him In
To be clear, there’s nothing for you to be ashamed of, even on the heaviest of heavy days.
But if you have an extremely heavy flow, you can always skip having sex during the first day or two, at first. By the tail end of your period, there’s hardly any menstrual fluid getting released. If your boyfriend is feeling shy or embarrassed about his lack of period sex experience, this can be a great way to ease him into it.
3. Turn Off The Lights The First Few Times
Don’t want to see the evidence of your period shenanigans? Keep the lights off! Seriously, it can be as simple as that. Plus, turning off the lights can heighten your other senses. Once again, this shouldn't become a permanent thing, since it might end up feeling shaming for you if it's always necessary.
4. Put Down A Towel
Even the biggest period sex enthusiasts would rather not get blood on their sheets. There’s another easy fix here: put a dark-colored towel down over your sheets and try to stay on top of it.
5. Do It In The Shower
Having sex in the shower is great because it washes away menstrual fluid before either of you even has the chance to register that it’s there. Plus, shower sex can be a novel way to shake up your usual sex routine.
6. Use A Soft Cup
Unlike tampons, which absorb your menstrual fluid, menstrual cups like the Soft Cup, the DivaCup, and the Mooncup, collect your fluid into a little cup that sits around your cervix. Soft Cups can actually be used during intercourse. Empty it out beforehand, reinsert, then go to town.
You can also keep your eye out for Soft Tampons. They’re not available in the U.S. yet, but they’re another product designed to be used during period sex. Hooray for period innovations! (Please note that you should never have intercourse with a regular tampon inserted.)
7. Make Cleanup A Breeze
Have a box of tissues within arm’s reach to wipe up as soon as you’re finished. If you’re on a heavier flow day, you may want to position a handful of tissues below your vaginal opening as he pulls out, to minimize the chances of spillage. You can also keep a small bottle of stain remover nearby in case you get a drop of blood on your sheets. Once again, nothing to be ashamed of here, you're just trying to ease him in.
8. Consider A Compromise
Keep in mind that there are still plenty of ways for the two of you to have fun when you’re on your period. Sex should never be about penetration only. He can finger your clitoris or use a toy on you, you can watch each other masturbate, you can have anal sex, you can read erotica together ... the possibilities are endless!
9. Be Respectful Of His Boundaries — But Examine Whether It's A Deal-Breaker
There are legitimate reasons to not want to have period sex. Some people are very squeamish around blood, even to the point of having a phobia (in other words, he’s not grossed out by you menstruating; he’s just got a thing about blood). Some are concerned about the possibility of increased STI transmission risk during menstruation.
At the end of the day, we all get to make decisions about what we want to do with our own bodies. If your boyfriend isn’t body-shaming you, is open to hearing your thoughts about period sex, and still isn’t comfortable with the idea of period sex, that’s his prerogative. And it’s your prerogative to decide whether or not it’s a deal-breaker for you. Only you can decide.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: Bustle; Giphy