Period Sex: Can You Have Sex On Your Period?

It’s normal to have sex during menstruation. In fact, period sex may come with some added health benefits like better mood, less pain and more. Read on.

By D Tejaswi
12 Jul 2022

You are not alone if you feel more aroused when you are menstruating. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having sex on your period as long as you feel safe and comfortable with it. For some couples, sexual intercourse during menses is both acceptable and pleasurable, for others it may be undesirable or unacceptable. One needs to keep in mind that period sex is solely an individual’s choice. What's important is that you listen to your body and give it what it needs.


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Period sex myths and misconceptions


1. Period blood is dirty.

Menstrual blood is not harmful. Menstrual blood is a complex body fluid composed of endometrial and immune cells shed from the uterus, vaginal fluid, and blood. In fact, analysis of menstrual blood published in Mol Cell Proteomics, 2012 finds a distinct subset of 385 menstrual blood proteins in menstrual blood.


2. Sex during periods is messy.

Period sex probably isn't as bloody as you'd think. If you are someone with a light or medium period flow (when you collect between ten and 25 ml of blood in your menstrual cup or use two to five regular pads fully soaked), it may not be messy at all. Even if you have heavy period flow, get busy on a towel or use an old bedsheet. Keep tissues handy, and rinse the area on bedsheet with cold water to remove stains. If that doesn't work, rub the blood stain with lemon or soak it in a little hydrogen peroxide. Alternatively, you can also have intercourse in the shower to avoid any cleaning time.


3. You cannot get pregnant by having sex during your periods.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, "there is no "safe" time of the month when you can have sex without contraception and not run the risk of getting pregnant." Although the chances are lower, sex during periods can result in pregnancy. Dr Savitha Shetty, senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru says, “Though the odds of getting pregnant from sex during periods is low, unprotected sex during your periods can raise the risk of severe infection of genital tract.”


4. Sex during periods increase cramping.

Having sex during periods does not worsen your cramping. On the contrary, sex can help relieve cramps because orgasm releases endorphins, a hormone which helps lessen pain and alleviate other PMS symptoms such as headache, writes California based Sherry A. Ross, MD, OB/GYN in her book "She-ology”.


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Can you have sex during your periods?

The short answer is yes but it depends on various aspects such as libido, arousal, health and overall comfort of the couple. As long as proper care is taken to cover risks by using contraceptives, period sex can be pleasurable for both. So, if you and your partner are comfortable and due precautions are taken, then sex during your menstrual cycle can be a good way to explore and spice up your love life. Let's look at the advantages of sex during periods below.


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Benefits of period sex


1. Lessens menstrual discomfort

Sex in the period helps release feel-good hormones called endorphins. Both orgasm and vaginal stimulation have pain-suppressing effects, confirms the paper Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology, 2016.


2. Alleviates migraine headaches

According to a research in Cephalalgia, 2013, period sex reduces the frequency of migraine headaches. The study found that having sex during periods significantly reduced discomfort in majority of women who frequently experienced migraine headaches during their periods. The headaches had subsided either entirely or partially.


3. Acts as natural lubrication

Vaginal lubrication is one of the primary components of physiological sexual arousal in women, finds Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 2021 and blood acts as a natural lubricant to help you orgasm.


4. Shortens your period

With every orgasm you have, you experience pelvis contractions that include the contraction of the uterus, says the paper The female orgasm: pelvic contractions. So it makes sense that each contraction causes the uterine lining and blood to be expelled faster than usual. Thus, periods may be cut short as a result.


5. Increases your sex drive

One of the key benefits of having sex during periods is the attainment of key sexual excitment, the orgasm. And, the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a key motivating factor for sexual satisfaction, notes Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2016.


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Risks of period sex


1. Endometriosis

A study published in July 2019 in the International Journal of Fertility & Sterility says that there is an association between period sex and endometriosis. “The occurrence of endometriosis in women who stated they had vaginal intercourse or non-coital sexual activities, leading to orgasm during menstruation, was significantly higher compared to those who stated they did not,” notes the paper.


2. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or mycoplasma genitalium are the main causes of PID, finds NHS, UK. Due to the increased risk of STIs during period sex, you should also screen yourself for PID from time to time.


3. Increased risk of STIs

The risk of sexually transmitted infections is significantly increased when having sex on your period. The vagina naturally maintains a protective acidic pH on a period-free day, which aids in preventing the spread of some STIs. According to research published in 2021 in Diagnostics, the vagina can generally range in pH from 3.8 to 5.0, but when you're menstruating, the vagina becomes more alkaline, making it easier for microorganisms to survive and pass on. Additionally, the cervix opens slightly during your period to let blood escape from the uterus. When this occurs, germs and viruses may enter the uterine cavity and upper cervix.


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How to have safe sex during periods?


1. Use contraception

Use male latex condom to efficiently decrease chances of STD transmission while having sex in the periods. If you have latex allergy, use synthetic, non-latex condoms. But it's important to remember that compared to latex condoms, these condoms break more frequently.


2. Get comfortable with your position

While there are no hard-and-fast guidelines for the optimal position during period sex, go with what feels right for you. Pull your legs up into a squat while resting on your back if you experience pelvic floor tension. On the other hand, if you experience cramps, take on a side position.


3. Know your STD status

Get screened for STIs. If you enjoy having sex in your periods make sure you and your partner are regualrly screened for STIs It is simple to identify and treat many STDs. If you or your partner are infected, you must both receive treatment at the same time to prevent contracting the illness again, notes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


4. Take off the tampon

Here’s a no brainer: take off your tampon in advance because during period sex, a neglected tampon may be pushed further into the vagina and increasing the chances of infection.


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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is period sex unsafe for a couple?

A: No. Period sex is neither bad for a male nor for a female. But, to reduce the chance of conception and to avoid STIs, it is suggested to use condoms or other contraceptives. Moreover, to avoid any infections such as yeast infections it is required to clean the couples private parts both before and after the act.


Q: Why do I start my period after having sex?

A: Due to the act of sexual penetration or orgasm, uterine gets contracted which can cause the period to start. But, it only happens if the period date is very near.


Q: Is it safe to have penetrative sex in periods?

A: Yes. As long as proper care and precaution is taken, not only is penentrative sex safe but can be enjoyable for both.


Q: Is it safe to have oral sex in your period?

A: Yes. Remember to keep tissues or a towel handy.


Q: What are the other safety precautions to be taken while having sex in periods?

A: Every safety and hygiene precaution taken during normal sexual intercourse has to be carried during period sex. Some common good sexual hygiene tips include peeing after sex to avoid UTI and cleaning sex toys after every use.






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