Having sex on your period? Yes, that’s entirely possible and no problem at all. But there are some things you should keep in mind. So if you’re planning on sailing the Red Sea together, read these three tips first.
1. Only do what you feel like
Making love on your period. Some women adore it and have a higher libido during their menstruation. Others rather spend those days eating chocolate ice-cream and lounging on the sofa with a hot water bottle than getting naked and dancing the horizontal tango. Same goes for men; some get extra aroused (menstruation sex is even a special genre in the porn industry), while others are already afraid of a drop of blood when they’ve cut their finger and thus don’t fancy it at all. Moral of the story: only do it if you both feel like it.
Definitely tonight, honey, I have a headache
Thinking about having sex during your monthly period? Here’s the good news: blood is a natural lubricant and orgasms can relieve menstrual cramps. Sex can even help against headaches, as was discovered in an observational study among migraine patients and people suffering from cluster headache by researchers of the University of Münster (Germany). Of the migraine patients who had experience with sexual activity during a headache attack, 60% reported an improvement of their symptoms. In the people suffering from cluster headache this figure was 37%. Unfortunately there were also people who reported a worsening of the headache when having sex. Still, worth a try and more enjoyable than taking a painkiller.
2. Prevent a mess
Loads of blood stains on those freshly washed white sheets? Not necessarily. Avoid the heaviest days of your period (for most women those are the first few days) and keep a towel nearby. It’s also a good idea not to change positions very often. The missionary position (man on top) is in this case better than the cowgirl (woman on top), which could cause blood flow because of the gravity.
Want to keep it clean? Do it in the shower
Want to completely avoid a mess? Use a (female) condom, sponge tampon or a Softcup. Or just do it in the shower, that way you can wash away possible blood stains. In any case, it’s not dirty; menstrual blood is basically sterile. Plus: a study by Peter de Jong and Charmaine Borg of the University of Groningen (Holland) shows that sexual arousal overrides the natural disgust response, also in women. In other words: if you’re turned on, you won’t be grossed out by the mix of sweat, sperm and menstrual blood anyway.
3. Think about protection
Because you can get pregnant. Yes, also when you’re on your period, although the chance is smaller. Unfortunately not everyone knows this. Research commissioned by pharmaceutical company Bayer HealthCare shows that in Thailand and India over 25% of the respondents think that sex during menstruation is an effective form of contraception. In Europe these figures are lower, but still shocking: 15% of the young European men and women who were surveyed believed that having sex during the women’s period is a reliable way to avoid pregnancy.
Washing helps against infections, but not against STDs
Another reason to use a condom: the risk of infections and HIV is slightly higher on your period. Washing afterwards (without soap because of your vagina’s pH) helps to avoid infections. But no matter how thorough you wash, it of course doesn’t do anything against sexually transmitted diseases. Because the HIV-virus is transmitted through blood, the chance of transmitting this disease is slightly higher if you’re HIV-positive and on your period. According to Public Health England (PHE), there are about 18,100 people in the UK who are unaware of the fact that they are HIV-positive. So if you don’t want a child or an STD, use a condom, also when menstruating.