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  • Gabby Edlin

Period Sex: all you need to know

Menstruators have on average 450 periods in their lifetime. That’s a lot of days when you’re bleeding.

For some, periods can be the cause of extreme discomfort, and as a result, menstruation can impact all aspects of their lives, such as work, relationships and their physical and mental health.

Exercise is practically a write-off, and sometimes, social plans, dates and anything that demands interaction with another human is avoided at all costs. 

During menstruation, it’s common to experience both physical and mental symptoms, such as cramps, back pain, mood swings and more. Out come the “never-quick-enough” painkillers, scorching hot water bottles and the “run-me-a-bath-now” demands that can be the make or break of any relationship.

But why should menstruation only be synonymous with discomfort, shame and displeasure? Shouldn’t we have a right to feel pleasure and joy at our most vulnerable time? Hang on, is it even possible to feel these happy things on your bloody period? Is it? IS IT?!

Yes, it is. And it’s called “period sex”. PERIOD SEX.

As your period sex guru, I’m here to debunk any myths or false information fed to us and to reassure you that IT’S OKAY to have sex on your period.

Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

You will need:

  • Supportive, open-minded partner or lover

  • Contraceptive method of choice

  • Red or dark towel (optional)

  • A whole load of feel-good sexy vibes

Do I need to use protection? Err, yeah.

If your sex education at school was as poor (and barely there) as mine, then you may have gone through life in blissful ignorance, making the misguided and totally inaccurate assumption that sex on your period without contraception protects you against STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

WTF. This ain’t true. 

In fact, studies have shown that you are more susceptible to catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if you have unprotected sex on your period. This is because the cervix is more open during this time, which allows the blood to pass through.

As for pregnancy, ovulation can sometimes overlap with menstruation. And if you have short or irregular cycles, then you’re more at risk.

Mess-free period sex

Sustainable brands and innovators such as Flex are creating menstrual products that enable mess-free period sex. Visit the website for more information on the materials used, product details and how to insert Flex safely.  

It’s important to remember that these are menstrual products and NOT forms of contraception. So make sure to use alongside your chosen contraceptive method to protect against unwanted pregnancies and STIs. 

Your blood = natural lubricant

Nothing else to say here.

Period sex is an effective cramp remedy

It’s official: orgasms can relieve cramps and may even reduce PMS-related symptoms. Vaginal penetration can actually increase your pain threshold by 75%, which means that sex can help dramatically reduce cramps. 

Dr. Lorna Pender explains the science behind it in more detail. She says: ‘the nerves don’t communicate period pain when women orgasm via vaginal stimulation.’

No-mess shower sex

If you’ve just washed your bed sheets and would rather not bloody the cream carpet in your rented flat, then the no-mess shower (or bath, but, tricky) option might give you that aaaaaahhhhhh without the ‘oh god, the blood, it’s dripping all over the place’ post-sex trauma.

Blood sisters

Shout out to all the lesbian lovers who want to have sexy time on their period. There are plenty of ways to enjoy period sex together, including masturbation and finger teasing. If your partner would rather avoid the vaginal canal area, you can try grinding, sex toys and playing with any of the seven erogenous zones. On Autostraddle there's loads of ideas and tips on lesbian period sex.

Single sex and masturbation

Going solo? Masturbation works and you may find that you orgasm much quicker on your period. This is because testosterone levels rise a few days into your cycle, which is why women are more likely to feel turned on midway through their flow.

If you’d rather not get your hands bloody, then try a vibrator and keep your tampon or menstrual cup inserted to avoid leakage.

Top tips:

  • Avoid heavy days

  • Lay down them towels, friend

  • Keep tissues or toilet roll at the ready (to avoid a post-cum bloody surprise)

  • Use dark bed sheets (if you have them)

  • Make sex toys your BFFL

So, fellow menstruators of the world, it’s time to embrace pleasure and sex while on your period. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, it can be bloody. But, it can also be Bloody Good and Bloody Fucking Hot.

Finally, if you want more PERIOD SEX talk, then the Millennial Love period sex podcast episode is full of funny, honest and frank discussions around periods, sex and love.


Period sex is not for everyone. People should do what feels comfortable to them and not feel pressurised into having sex on their period.

Despite the many benefits of period sex, sometimes, a hot bath, a nice, cold beer and a good book will suffice.

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