The Ultimate Guide to Period Sex
Written by Alice Child, Somatic Sexologist
Sydney-based Somatic Sexologist and Sex & Intimacy Counsellor Alice Child explains some of the surprising benefits of period sex and gives her top tips for making it as pleasurable as possible.
"Period sex can be the hottest sex of your life, and it can even reduce your period cramps!"
Period sex is still really misunderstood. In a survey by Bodyform, only 20% of people said that period sex ‘doesn’t both them at all’, with a huge 78% saying the idea of it was either ‘disgusting’ or ‘not great’.
But what you might not realise is due to the changes in hormones and blood flow it can be some of the hottest sex of the month! It is completely safe and hygienic, and having sex while on your period can even help with some of your menstrual side effects!
So here are some of the ways to make getting down and dirty between the sheets as hot as possible - even when you’re on your period.
🌟What are the benefits of period sex? 💥💫
Due to the powerful hormones and neurotransmitters that get released during sex the numerous benefits of sex during your cycle might surprise you.
Ever noticed that you feel even more in-the-mood when you’re on your period? You’re not alone!
There is evidence to suggest that your sex drive spikes during your period due to your hormone levels. Oestrogen promotes libido and desire, while progesterone suppresses it. At the beginning of your period, your oestrogen levels are low. But after 2 or 3 days it starts to rise again and keeps on building. At the same time, your progesterone levels are at their lowest.
So progesterone is low, and oestrogen is growing, and voila, you feel ready for action!
🌟Period sex can relieve menstrual cramps:
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests sex and orgasms are an effective form of pain relief. For example, a 2020 study on period pain and masturbation, found that 90% of women would recommend masturbation as a way to reduce menstrual cramps and pain.
Endorphins are known as the body’s natural pain relievers. It has been shown that their presence makes pain far more tolerable. In the context of period cramps you can see why sex could be a fun, natural form of pain releif.
Plus, period pain is the result of your uterus contracting to release its lining. When you have an orgasm, the muscles in your uterus and pelvis contract and then release. It has been suggested that this ‘release’ can bring a moment of much needed comfort., and even make the period shorter!
🌟You are more sensitive on your period
There are lots of reasons why period sex can feel extra pleasurable. Increased lubrication, increased libido, and increased blood flow within the vulva might all contribute to feelings of increased sensitivity and pleasure.
However, as always, every body is different. Some people find that sex during their period is actually more painful. This is especially true for people who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as endometriosis. As always, listen to your body, communicate to your partner, and do what feels best for you.
🌟The naughtiness might be turn on
Plus, Sex Therapist Dr Jack Morin explains that anticipation and naughtiness factors are huge aphrodisiacs when it comes to sex and erotisicm. This means that when we feel we can’t have sex, or that we think it’s ‘taboo’ or ‘forbidden’ we crave it even more. This might sound frustrating and counter intuitive, but have you ever been turned on by a long distance lover or partner? Or been driven absolutely crazy by somebody we can’t have?
If that sounds familiar, this denial might become a huge (sub-conscious) turn on! The more you feel you can’t get off, the more you may want to.
🌟Sex helps with our mood
The cocktail of hormones released when we feel pleasure can have a whole heap of positive side effects during your time of the month. The hormone dopamine (also known as the happiness hormone) is released during orgasm, and is what makes us feel desire, pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. This is especially beneficial if you suffer from mood swings or anxiety during your period.
We also experience a surge in oxytocin after sex, which is what gives us feelings of love, connection and attachment.
How exactly do I have great period sex?
It’s starting to sound like periods and sex can be perfect together after all. Here are our top tips for making the experience as hot as possible for everyone involved.
🌟Listen to your body:
Remember you are the master of your own body and only you know what feels fun, sexy, and hot for you.
Although period sex in the shower might sound like a great idea for one person (no messy bed sheets!), the idea of standing upright in a slippery, brightly lit room with cramps could be another person’s idea of hell.
For example, many people feel more sensitive in your vulva due to increased blood flow. This could feel amazing (more sensation!), or could mean gentler stimulation feels better. Plus the cervix tends to sit lower at the end of your cycle as your womb is heavier, which means deeper penetration may feel uncomfortable during your period.
Listen to your body, and ask yourself what you are craving.
🌟Talk to your partner:
How you feel about period sex might be very different to how your partner feels, and it takes empathetic communication to make sure you are both on the same page.
According to a 2011 study, published in Feminism & Psychology exploring attitudes towards period sex, people who got periods attributed their nervouness about period sex to partner discomfort and the emotional implications of dealing with that discomfort. Basically, people were too nervous about what their partner would think.
Even if you’re both totally cool with it, it’s often a good idea to let somebody know that you are bleeding if you can help it to stop any unwanted surprises.
As with anything, it’s better to be as clear and transparent as possible, and keep a curious and open mind to your partner's feelings and perspectives. If they are unsure about it, explain why it’s not a big deal. If you are unsure, explain what’s worrying you. In return, listen to each other's perspective and respect your boundaries.
Some people will find it easy to talk about their cycle with complete openness, while other people won’t. But practising normalising the conversation is a great start. Generally speaking, euphemisms don’t help as they can lead to misunderstandings.
As with anything, consent is vital. So remember if your partner is uncomfortable, you shouldn’t make them do anything they don’t want to do. But open, empathetic, sex-positive communication is a great first step to understanding their concerns and creating a happy, consentual environment where you can both explore.
🌟Towels or drop sheets:
For many people, laying down a dark towel onto the bed will be all that it takes to enjoy period sex without worrying about the mess.
Even though it may feel like more when you see blood in the shower, the average person only loses 2 to 3 tablespoons of blood over the course of their 4-7 day cycle. A couple of towels or a drop sheet should be enough to save your bedding!
🌟Use waterproof toys:
If either you or your partner are struggling with the idea of period sex for any reason, introducing a toy like a dildo or a vibrator could help.
They are many that are completely waterproof and very easy to clean, meaning you will be completely ready for round two!
🌟Consider alternatives to V penetration:
If - for whatever reason - you are not vibing penetrative period sex, remember that “sex” doesn’t ever need to involve penetration. You can get all of the same pleasure benefits from a mutual masturbation session, a sensual massage, or external clitoris stimulation with your fingers or fave sex toy.
Plus, for those that enjoy anal sex, your period is a great time to enjoy that too!
If you’re really worried about making a mess, options that don’t involve vaginal penetration are also great because you can still enjoy them with a tampon, cup, or pair of period undies on. Just lie back and enjoy.
Remember to never wear a tampon during penetrative vaginal sex - it could get lost, which can be really dangerous.
Even though we might feel super wet and slippery down there, period sex is still enhanced by using lube.
This is because we might be a little bit more sensitive, and blood doesn’t have the same lubricating qualities that the vagina naturally produces during sex.
In addition, lube always makes outercourse, cliteral stimulation and sex toys feel much better, and is always essential for any form of anal play.
🌟Switch up the position:
Finally, consider what position might make period sex feel best for you. Slow sensual positions will likely work best.
Missionary is a great one, as gravity helps keep things from getting too messy! Spooning is also a great option, as it feels cosy and comforting, and doesn’t involve too much deep thrusting which might be uncomfortable.
Good luck and enjoy!
Alice Child - Somatic Sexologist, Sex Therapy & Sex Counsellor - helps people achieve happier and healthier sex lives through 1:1 sex coaching, couples sex counselling, hens parties, and workshops. Book a session here.