7 Reasons To Have Sex on Your Period, Because The Health Benefits Certainly Outweigh Any Mess
Sure, period sex can sometimes be a messy situation. Although you may not find yourself covered head-to-toe in blood as if you’ve just bathed in an entire vat of it, the activity can still wreak some heavy-duty havoc if you don't take precautions to keep the collateral damage to a minimum. (You know, like towels.) But as we learned back in September, when Maureen O’Connor wrote about the topic for New York Magazine, period sex is a thing that people are doing. And a lot of dudes are into it — like, really into it. And I say good for them! But why are people still so hesitant to have sex on their periods?
“Some people are hesitant to have sex on their period, but believe it or not, having your period can make sex even better,” Lauren Schulte Wang, CEO of The Flex Company, tells Bustle. “There are many reasons to enjoy sex whenever you feel it’s right for you. Your period is completely natural and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
While it might not for the squeamish, there are some surprising pros to having sex while you’re in the midst of menstruating. (And no, not getting pregnant is not one of them, because you can totally get preggers while on your period.) So, whatever you do, don't rule it out, and don't let yourself feel ashamed of it.
Here are seven reasons to get it on when you have your period.
1. It Helps Alleviate Cramps
Obviously, this one also goes for when you're PMS-ing. If you suffer major cramps during your period, then an orgasm can help nip those in the bud. When we orgasm, the body releases oxytocin and dopamine, along with other endorphins that can ease any period-related pains.
“Period sex can be messy but, there are significant benefits to having sex while on your period,” reproductive endocrinologist and founder of Generation Next Fertility Dr. Janelle Luk tells Bustle. “Sex can significantly lessen menstrual cramps and pelvic pain by releasing endorphins that work as pain and stress relief."
You may think popping ibuprofen or your favorite over-the-counter pain reliever will do the trick, and it can to a degree, but nothing is quite as powerful as an orgasm when it comes to alleviating pain.
“While taking medication can help alleviate menstrual cramps, having an orgasm is a more natural way to relieve pain from menstruation,” Dr. Anna Klepchukova, MD, chief science officer at Flo Health, tells Bustle. “This happens because endorphins. Dopamine and serotonin are released during sex and can change pain sensitivity, providing some relief from cramping.”
Whether it’s sex with a partner or sex with yourself, that orgasm is going to deliver.
2. There's Less Need For Lube
If your vagina is on the dry side, or have a difficult time producing enough lubrication naturally, then period sex will likely be a welcome break from needing lube. But before you start thinking the whole "ew, blood" thing again, think about this: Yes, you're bleeding when you menstruate, but most of what you're seeing is actually the shedding of your uterine lining.
“The hormonal fluctuations that occur during the period cycle can cause women to have a higher sex drive and many women find period sex more enjoyable because there is no need for additional lubricant,” Dr. Luk says. “Even though lubrication may not be needed during period sex, women should still use protection because there is still a chance that you could become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease while on your period.”
On average, women lose between two to three tablespoons of blood each month. But not all of what you see is blood, as there are other fluids in there as well. Because of what an overpowering color red is, it looks like there's far more blood than there actually is. If you can rationalize just how minimal the blood is and focus on the positive — the extra lube — you may find it more enjoyable.
3. You Probably Won't Actually Find It Gross
A 2012 study proved what anyone who's been in the heat of the moment during their period already knows: Everything besides having sex becomes secondary. Researchers in the Netherlands found that sexual arousal overrides the natural disgust response, which means that once you get started, the fact that you're on your period may not even enter your mind.
“Your hormone levels are perfectly suited for a high sex drive during your period,” Schulte Wang says. “Progesterone is known to lower libido, and since that hormone is the lowest at the beginning of your cycle, you may feel more in the mood compared to other times of the month.”
Between a heightened sense of tolerance for things that you’d usually find pretty gross and an increased libido, it’s safe to say that the whole blood factor just might be very far from your mind. Especially once you add in the fact that sex during your period is amazing for cramps — far better than any pill — and the lubrication factor. For women who experience painful sex, either due to friction or not being fully aroused, the extra slickness that comes with having sex while menstruating can make intercourse more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.
And after a few minutes, you'll be too busy enjoying yourself and too aroused to even care that blood is part of the equation.
4. It Can Shorten The Length Of Your Period
"During orgasm, the uterus contracts, and therefore blood may just get pushed out faster and the flow may seem a little bit different," Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB/GYN, Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and author of V is for Vagina, tells Bustle. "And [orgasm contractions pushing out] prostaglandins may have a role; they are secreted chemical compounds responsible for menstrual cramps."
What this also means is that you don’t have to have sex with another person to shorten the length of your period. Masturbation, one of the best ways to kill time and enjoy yourself, can also contribute to shorten your period — as long as you orgasm, of course.
But not only will sex and masturbation, thanks to orgasms, shorten the length of your period, but it will also flush out the compounds within the uterus that are causing all that cramping and pressure in the first place. Granted, it’s not a guaranteed way to shorten your period, just like there’s no guaranteed way to make your period come faster. But it for sure doesn’t hurt and there are those remarkable natural pain relievers that come with it, no matter what, so that’s something worth considering.
5. It Can Create Greater Intimacy
Although a January 2019 consumer study by The Flex Company found that 85% of women are less likely to be intimate during their period, it doesn’t have to be that way. When you're willing to open up the floodgates and have sex on your period, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability, even if it’s something you’re not 100% comfortable with, can make relationships stronger.
"It can bring up a lot of fear and anxiety to be open and vulnerable with your partner…,” licensed psychologist, Jaclyn Witmer Lopez, tells Bustle. “Vulnerability is a huge contributor to intimacy and connection so one must fight the urge to shut it down.”
In other words, having sex on your period is also opening the doors to deeper intimacy between you and your partner. The more intimacy in a relationship, the better the connection and communication. Having period sex is basically saying, "I wouldn't let just anyone be this wrapped up in my blood and I can’t imagine you’d do this with just anyone either."
6. It Will Break You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you're a missionary-in-bed-only type of sex-haver, period sex may change that. You may decide to try new positions, or opt against intercourse in favor of other sex-related activities. According to Dr. Dweck, sex in the shower is an option that some of her patients choose when a partner is menstruating. Not just because it can save a beloved set of 1000-count Egyptian sheets, but spare a possible mess, although likely minimal, as well.
But, it should be noted that shower sex works better in theory than in practice. Without the right footing, sex in the shower can be downright dangerous. For those who don’t want to risk shower sex, The Flex Company makes a disposable menstrual disc that works similar to a period cup in that it collects menstrual fluid, but it's worn at the base of the cervix, leaving your vagina open for business.
7. Because You Know You Want To
People with periods tend to be pretty damn horny both right before and during their period. The reason for this is that the pelvic area and genitals get really swollen, building arousal.
"There are some women who love to have sex during their period, and no wonder, our estrogen is usually at its lowest at the beginning of our period,” sex educator and intimacy coach, Elle Chase, tells Bustle. “During our flow our estrogen AND our testosterone rises making us feel more sexed up. Plus, increases in blood flow can make our vulva and vagina more sensitive while we're menstruating... so there's that. A heightened horniness and pleasure can become associated with period sex, intensifying sexual desire.”
But not only is there the desire, but with it comes pleasure. Lots of it. For some people, there’s a deep urge to have sex while they’re menstruating and to indulge in that deep urge makes sex even better. It’s like finally giving in and scratching that annoying mosquito bite: it feels like absolute heaven.
"Many women experience more pleasurable sex during their period because of changes in libido that occur naturally throughout the menstrual cycle," Dr. Klepchukova says.
So if you have the desire to have sex, then why on earth let a little blood stand in your way? After all, it's not like you let your period stop you from doing anything else.
This post was originally published on January 15, 2015. It was updated on June 24, 2019.