Newsflash: Just because you’re riding your crimson wave doesn’t mean you need to stop having sex. It’s not called your “special time of the month” for nothing: you’re often hornier and slightly more sensitive, and getting down (and dirty) has a stack of health benefits.
For the expert lowdown, we chatted with a sex-ed expert Row Murray and sexologist and couples therapist, Isiah McKimmie, to smash the stigma that sex is reserved for just three quarters of the month.
If period sex is not your thing, we get it – sometimes women just don't feel their sexiest and tend to be a little bit less prone to whipping their knickers off and getting into it. But we want to break down the stigma – you shouldn’t be ashamed.
While it doesn’t happen to every woman for every cycle, your libido is on the rise thanks to an increase in your testosterone, and your progesterone and estrogen levels are rising after hitting rock bottom on day one of your cycle.
Sexologist and Couples Therapist, Isiah McKimmie says there really is nothing to be ashamed about.
“It’s so great to see women recently feeling more empowered about their bodies and their periods,” she told us. So make the most of your extra energy, check in to see if your partner is on board, and hop to it.
To put it nicely, Row Murray, sex-ed expert and author of "For Foxes' Sake” , explains that having sex on your period can be “absolutely ricochet.”
“It can get everywhere,” she said. “It can look like the second coming of Carrie's prom.” So yes, it can be untidy, but don’t worry – you’ve got options.
If the shower is a little too slippery for you, throw a dark towel down, or better yet, invest in a waterproof bed protector so you can have some fun without worrying about the mess.
Whilst technically you are less likely to get pregnant when on your period it is still possible. Irregular periods are difficult to track so you may be ovulating when you don’t even realise, plus sperm can stay alive in your body for up to five days, so play it safe and always use protection.
We get it, it’s often more tempting to reach for a couple of painkillers than get down and dirty. McKimmie says orgasms are analgesic, and trigger a big rush of feel-good hormones (oxytocin and dopamine) and endorphins,“ this means that if we have sex - particularly to the point of orgasm during sex - any period pain we might be feeling can be reduced.”
While research hasn’t confirm this yet, experts believe that having sex on your period may shorten the length of your periods. Dr Dee Fenner , director of gynecology in the department of ob-gyn at the University of Michigan, explains that it’s “likely” that menstrual blood in the uterus is squeezed out during orgasm.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that blood is indeed wet, but for some, it’s not a lubricant at all and can actually dry very, very quickly. Murray recommends using lube: “Yes, you'll be a little bit wetter and a little bit messier, but a lot more comfortable.”
If you’re feeling a little frisky but also a little hesitant, talk it over with your partner. Change your mindset and start just by having sex and not being weird about it.
McKinnie, who is an experienced sex and relationship experts, explains that many women prefer slower, more relaxed sex while they’re bleeding.
“Your uterus will also sit lower at this time of the month, so deep penetration may feel uncomfortable during this time,” she explained. “You may need to adjust your position so penetration isn’t as deep.”
The best sex positions to try are spooning and scissoring.
Of course, it's easy to talk to experts about anything sex related – but the reality of what people are doing can be different. So I reached out to three of my friends and asked them how they approach sex when its that time of the month.
My friend Laura, who has been in a long-term relationship for three years, tells me that she and her boyfriend often have sex when she’s on her period: “we just stick to positions when he is on top – missionary is our usual go-to.” For another friend, Alex, who is relatively new with her beau, she says she and her partner normally hop in the shower: “It saves me stressing about my sheets.”
And lastly my girlfriend Lucy, (who finds day three and four when she “feels the friskiest,”) she wants to quit the stigma. “I honestly don’t understand what everyone is worried about, I’ve never had any guy say no...in my experience they aren’t even phased.”
If you have your period and you’re feelin’ frisky, don’t shy away. Have some fun.
Ultimately, it’s an issue of boundaries and communication, so talk to your partner about how you feel, and be open to them saying they’re not into it as well. Having sex on your period is mostly just an issue of comfort and potential clean-up – if you’re OK with both, you’re good to go.