What To Do If Your Partner's Afraid Of Period Sex

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 today's topic: tips for having period sex with a partner who is afraid or grossed out by it.

Q: My new girlfriend and I have awesome sex — except for one thing. She doesn't want to have sex when she's on her period because she thinks it's "gross". As a woman myself, I really want to help her get over this, but in a respectful way. She says she's willing to try to reconsider, so what should I do to make sure I'm opening her up to the wonders of period sex in a way that's not pressuring her?

A: Earlier this week, we talked about having a male partner who feels uncomfortable with period sex. So today, I thought it'd be fair to answer your question about about tips for having period sex with a female partner who's uncomfortable with the idea of period sex.

First off, know that all of the tricks and tips I mentioned in my previous article can also work for women who sleep with women:

  • Put a dark-colored towel underneath you to protect your sheets from stains.
  • Have sex in the shower.
  • Keep a box of issues within arm’s reach for quick clean-up.
  • Turn the lights off so you don’t have to see red.
  • Avoid heavy days if you’re particularly sensitive to a lot of blood.

Similarly, many of the tips in this article will be applicable for heterosexual couplings.

1. Communicate Sensitively

Just because your partner shares your same anatomy and has the experience of having a period herself doesn’t automatically mean she’s going to be interested in having period sex. You’re each going to have your own relationships with your periods, but don’t impose those relationships on each other.

When you talk about whether or not to have sex on your periods, don’t say things like, “I feel so disgusting when I’m on my period” or “I think it's stupid you won't have period sex .” Keep your language simple with phrases like, “it’s just not something I feel comfortable with,” or "It's just something I wish we could share together."

2. Talk About The Benefits

If your girlfriend feels hesitant about having sex while you’re on your periods, it’s worth having a conversation about some of the potential benefits. For one, there’s the possibility of more sex. Being in a relationship with a woman can be tricky because you’ve got two periods to deal with. If you live together, it’s likely that your periods will sync up, but there’s still the possibility of being out of commission for half of the month! Similarly, you may have to deal with two sets of PMS. Having period sex can help decrease period-related symptoms. Orgasms can lessen headaches, menstrual cramps, and digestive issues, and even improve your mood.

3. Give The Vaginal Canal A Rest

In general, women who have sex with women tend to have broader definitions of sex. Whereas many heterosexual couples have the tendency to get overly focused on intercourse, most bi and lesbian women appreciate the fact that women get off in different ways. If she wants to steer clear of the vaginal canal when she's menstruating, you can still enjoy grinding against each other, using fingers or vibrators on each other’s clits, teasing your nipples, or having anal play. You can also try rubbing or grinding with your underwear on, or masturbating together.

4. Use Barriers

If one of you feels uncomfortable with having direct contact with blood but you still want some digital penetration, you can always put on a latex glove before fingering your partner. Individual finger condoms work too.

If you want to have oral sex, you can use a dental dam or a cut-open condom to protect your mouth from coming into contact with menstrual fluid.

5. Work Around A Tampon

Another super-simple solution is to have her keep her tampon or menstrual cup in, and work around it. She can even tuck the string up inside her body if she's feeling bashful. If she’s using a tampon, you can run your finger or a small vibrator around the opening of her vaginal canal. You can also keep your oral adventures limited to the clitoris, and rely on a tampon or menstrual cup to keep the menstrual tide at bay. (Just don't aggressively finger her while she has a tampon in.)

6. Use Dark-Colored Toys

If you and your partner use harnesses and dildos as part of your usual repertoire, you may want to consider investing in black or red colored toys. Menstrual fluid won’t stain a black harness. (Most harnesses are black anyways, so this won’t require much extra effort.) Menstrual fluid won’t look nearly as obvious on a red or black dildo as it does on a flesh-covered one. Or try playing with a black glass toy.

7. Keep Her On Her Back

If she's grossed out by seeing her blood on you, know that during sex, you can keep most of her menstrual fluid contained by having your partner lay on her back. You can even get in positions where her legs are in the air. For example, have your partner crouch in front of you and rest her ankles on your shoulders. This can be an especially useful tip during heavy-flow days, or if you’re really worried about your sheets.

The Bottom Line

If either one of you simply isn’t open to the idea of period sex, she can always take your monthly “time out” as an opportunity to focus on you. You can reciprocate during your period. It can feel really nice to lay back and just receive, without having to worry about anything other than enjoying yourself. Then again, you might end up getting so turned on that period sex might start to seem like not such a big deal after all.

Either way, it's up to you to respect her boundaries about period sex if she says she doesn't want to push them anymore — and to decide for yourself what's a deal-breaker for you.

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