Period Sex 101 – What are the Benefits and Risks?

The taboo about having sex during periods has been around for centuries. Many cultures consider it dirty or dangerous. Because people don’t talk about it, you may have many questions about period sex. Can you have sex during periods? Is it healthy? Will it feel good, or will it hurt? Can you get pregnant if you have sex during periods? Read on as we answer all your questions about period sex.

Can you have sex during period?

Yes, having sex on your periods is fine, as long as you and your partner are comfortable with it. The taboo of being sexually active during menstruation is unfounded; there is nothing dangerous or dirty about menstrual blood.

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Though sex during periods is safe, it can get messy. Lay a towel on your bet to avoid dirtying your sheets. You can avoid the bed altogether and get creative in the shower with your partner. Inform your partner in advance to avoid catching him off guard.

What are the benefits of period sex?

1. Helps alleviate period cramps

If you suffer from menstrual cramps, having an orgasm can help relieve the pain. Your body releases oxytocin and dopamine, along with endorphins during orgasm, which helps to ease pain during periods. During orgasm, your pelvic muscles contract and release, which reduces the pain of period cramps. Sex also helps to distract your mind from the pain.

2. Less need for lubrication

If you find it difficult to produce natural lubrication during sex and usually need a personal lubricant during sex, period sex is a welcome break. Menstrual blood acts as a natural lubricant, which can make sex more pleasurable for both the partners.

3. Shorter periods

Your uterus contracts during orgasm, and this helps to push out the contents of the uterus faster. This process helps to shorten the length of your period.

4. More pleasurable

Hormonal changes cause a change in libido during menstruation. Thanks to changes in the libido, many women report having more pleasurable sex during menstruation than other times of the month.

5. Helps to reduce stress

The endorphins released during orgasm are fantastic at reducing stress levels (1). Studies also show that couples who have sex more often have lower blood pressure spikes and can handle stress better.

Your body also releases prolactin hormone during orgasm. This hormone helps you to get more calming and restorative sleep.

6. Reduced headaches

Some women get migraines during their period. You may think it is best to avoid sex during these attacks, but the opposite is true. Studies show that sex during periods can help reduce migraines and cluster headaches (2).

What are the downsides of period sex?

While sex during periods has many benefits, it can have some downsides too.

1. It is messy

Having sex during periods can be messy. There is a good chance you’ll get blood on your sheets or each other during sex. Many women feel unclean and are not in the mood for sex during their periods. Many men also find sex during periods a turn off as they think it may turn messy.

2.  Higher risk of STIs

Vaginas have a naturally protective acidic pH, which protects against certain STIs. However, when you are menstruating, your vagina becomes more alkaline and less acidic. This makes it easier for microbes to survive and thrive.

Bacterial infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea become more dangerous as they can turn in pelvic inflammatory disease. Period blood can also spread diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Wearing condoms can help reduce the risk of catching an STI.

3. It can get smelly

Period blood can have an unpleasant smell, which can put off your partner.

4. Limited positions

Women-on-top positions during sex can make women feel uncomfortable as it may increase the flow of blood. Side by side, missionary, or spooning may be better options.

5. Tampon trouble

Always remember to take out your tampon before having sex. A penis can push the tampon high into the vaginal canal and make it hard to retrieve. You may have to visit your doctor to get it out. Tampons pushed against the cervix can also cause bruises and lacerations.

How high is the risk of getting an STI through sex during period?

You can get two types of infection from sex during periods. These include –

  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Infections caused by a change in vaginal flora like yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis

Hormonal changes during periods can make you more vulnerable to getting a yeast infection.  Unprotected sex during periods can also cause STIs like chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, herpes, and HIV. Using condoms and dental dams can reduce the risk significantly.

Some women are also more prone to getting a UTI after intercourse. The bacteria can travel easily to the bladder with intercourse, though this can happen any time during the menstrual cycle.

Can you get pregnant during a period?

It is a common myth that you can’t get pregnant during your period. Though the odds of getting pregnant on your period are low, they are not zero.

You are more likely to get pregnant during ovulation, which happens 14 days before your periods. You can get pregnant on your period if your ovulation cycle changes and you ovulate early or if your period lasts longer than five days.

Women who have a shorter menstrual cycle have a higher chance of getting pregnant on their period. Another aspect you must consider is the lifespan of the sperm. Sperm can live in your body for up to seven days. If you have sex right near the end of your period, the sperm will still be present when you ovulate.

If you are not trying to conceive, it is good to use protection, whether you are on your period or not.

Period sex tips

Follow these tips if you want less messy and more comfortable period sex.

1. Talk it through

Share your feelings about period sex with your partner. Be honest about how you feel. Ask your partner about how his feelings. If either of you is uncomfortable, this is the time to share your thoughts.

2. Use a towel

If you’re worried about staining the sheets, you can spread a dark-colored towel on the bed.  Use wet wipes to clean up after sex.

3. Try shower sex

This certainly is a mess-free way to have sex during periods. Unlike regular days, menstrual blood provides the right lubrication during sex in the shower. You don’t even have to bother cleaning as any blood that is there will be washed away.

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4. Remove your tampon

Don’t forget to remove your tampon before sex.

5. Use birth control

Use birth control methods like condoms to prevent pregnancy and STI.

Final thoughts

Having sex during your periods is safe though it can be messy. With a little bit of planning, you can avoid the mess. Period sex is beneficial for women as it can help prevent menstrual cramps, shorten the length of the period, and reduce stress and headaches. However, you must use protection as you have a higher risk of developing STIs when you have sex during periods.

The changes of getting pregnant during periods are low, but they are not zero. So, if you are not trying to conceive, it is a good idea to use protection.

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