If you're someone who menstruates, then it's possible you could spend nearly 10 years — or about 3,500 days— of your life on your period. And unless you want to give up a decade of getting it on, then chances are you're going to have sex on your period at some point. Period sex is totally harmless, safe, and natural, and since orgasms release oxytocin, they can even help relieve menstrual cramps. If you've never tried it and are wondering what you should know about period sex, then I've got some expert tips for how to make it as pleasurable and mess-free as possible.
Not everyone wants to get down and dirty when they're menstruating, and that's OK. "Some vulva owners get super horny on their periods and others don't — it depends on your comfort level, as well as your hormonal levels and response," Gigi Engle, a certified sexologist and the author of All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life, tells Elite Daily. "Do whatever works for you, but don't shy away just because it's messy. We should enjoy our bodies, no matter the time of the month." Yes to that. Here's some expert advice for how to approach period sex.
1. Address The Mess
Whether you have a heavy flow or a light one, mess is part of the territory when you have sex on your period. Embrace it, friends. "The first step is accepting this fact," says Engle. "Talk to your partner about the period sex situation before you have it. Once you've been open with your lover about the realities, you can form a game plan for execution."
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep the mess at bay. Dr. Angela Jones, OB/GYN, author, and podcast host, recommends using a towel or blanket that you don't mind potentially staining with menstrual blood. "Use something that is dark in color if you don't want to see the 'aftermath,'" she tells Elite Daily. And if you're rather not stain your linens, then you may consider investing in a period mat.
According to Megwyn White, certified clinical sexologist and director of education for Satisfyer, menstrual cups are also great for period sex, as they can move further up into the vagina and out of the way for penetrative sex while capturing any blood. Her recommendation: Satisfyer Feel Good menstrual cups.
2. Hop In The Shower
Another way to combat bloodstains is with shower sex. Since water from the shower washes away your body's natural lubricants, having shower sex on your period can actually be more enjoyable, as your menstrual blood acts as a natural lubricant. As White tells Elite Daily, "Shower sex is the perfect space to have period sex with less mess, and the warm water relaxes the skin and eases menstrual tensions and inflammation factors within the body."
White says the best position for reducing the mess and increasing pleasure while having shower sex during your period is the "shower single leg up" position, where you can use a shower foot stool to help support the non-standing leg and face towards the wall as your partner penetrates you vaginally from behind. "This allows the blood to drain down and away from you and your partner, while also allowing you to stretch and release tensions in your hip and back," White says. "You can also angle your body so your back is close to where the water is coming out for added relief."
3. Ask Your Partner's Status
Though it's always essential to know your partner's STI status, it's especially important when having sex on your period. As Dr. Jones explains, "Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be more readily spread during period sex — things like hepatitis and HIV come immediately to mind." Practice caution, and if you're not 100% sure that you and your partner are STI-free, then use a condom.
4. Get Some Good Vibes
Whether you use them for solo play or incorporate them into sex, vibrators can help alleviate pain from cramps. As White explains, vibrators help bring more blood flow and oxygen to the pelvic area, and if you would rather avoid vaginal penetration on your period, then there are toys that can help you achieve orgasm in other ways. Her personal faves are the Satisfyer Purple Pleasure and the Satisfyer Wand-er Woman.
Of course, if you are using vibrators and other sex toys during your period, it's best to stick with toys that are darker colors and made from ABS plastic. "Most high-quality toys won't stain, even if they're made of body-safe silicone, but it's better safe than sorry," says Engle. "I love the Zumio E for period sex because it's for external use (usually a plus of a period-sex toy) and it is black — no staining possible with this toy."
5. Don't Neglect The Clitoris
Sex doesn't have to be just penetrative. As Dr. Jones points out, period sex may require you to think outside the box. "Clitoral stimulation can take a front seat for those looking for alternatives," she says.
A surprisingly effective tool for clitoral stimulation, especially during your period: ginger root. "Skinned ginger can be a wonderful addition for self-stimulation of the clitoris if you'd like something to help relax the body and ease improve blood flow to the sexual organs," explains White. "It can help to boost desire, and it also creates a warm tingling effect. You can introduce it to your foreplay as a way to help boost sexual energy and sensations to the clitoris."
6. Turn Up The Heat
Just as heating pads are a great way to potentially relieve menstrual cramps, introducing heat into period sex can also help ease any potential discomfort. While recommends trying a sex position called the "pillow boost," where you position yourself on your back with a small pillow under your sacrum and lower back with an optional heating pad underneath you. "The pillow helps support the lower back, which relaxes the pelvic floor by helping to widen the sit bones. The heating pad will help release the tension in the lower back muscles, a common pain point during menstruation," she says.
White also suggests using warm, wet towels to wipe the body down after period sex. "Not only is it a great way to clean up any residual mess, but it's also a super-sexy way to stay intimate post-climax," she explains. Incorporating a warm, wet towel into a post-coital massage (along with your favorite therapeutic essential oils) can also make period sex hotter than ever. As White explains, "The warmth will ease tensions, and the smells can give your body a healthy boost." Pro tip: lavender is proven to help in reducing menstrual cramps, so consider investing in some lavender essential oils for your after-sex rub-down.
7. Enjoy Yourself
As Dr. Jones points out, period sex can be some of the best sex imaginable, so be sure to have fun with it. "The extra lubrication that results from being on your period only helps to enhance pleasure, and orgasms can actually help decrease period cramps due to that release of endorphins that come with reaching your 'high,'" she says.
Having your period doesn't have to suck, and having A+ period sex will definitely make that time of the month a little more enjoyable.
Gigi Engle, certified sexologist and the author of All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life
Dr. Angela Jones, OB/GYN, author, and podcast host
Megwyn White, certified clinical sexologist and director of education for Satisfyer