The topic of period sex is still just a little bit taboo. Generally, people who menstruate tend to fall into a few different camps when it comes to their comfort level around sex when blood is involved: those who don't mind it at all, those who absolutely won't do it, and those who will consider it on lighter days.
One of the main reasons people who menstruate tend to avoid period sex? It's a mess, and will probably ruin their sheets. While this is fair, no-mess period sex is achievable—and it may be worth a shot, because it comes with some health benefits, too. We consulted Alyssa Dweck, a doctor and "sexpert" to find out exactly what better period sex entails. Here's what she had to say.
Period Sex Without the Mess
If sheets are what you're worried about, it doesn't get easier than putting down a dark-colored towel and tossing it in the laundry afterward, according to Dr. Dweck. Another creative option? A menstrual cup. "Try the Ziggy Cup from INTIMINA," says Dr. Dweck. "This menstrual cup is perfect to catch menstrual blood for mess-free sex, and is the first and only reusable menstrual cup that can be worn during sex. It has a leak-proof double rim made of FDA-approved and BPA-free silicone to provide up to 8 hours of protection. Once you get the hang of it, mess-free period sex is easy."
Meet the Expert
Dr. Alyssa Dweck is INTIMINA’s Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health expert and a practicing gynecologist at the CareMount Medical in Westchester County, New York. A graduate of Barnard College, she has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University and her Medical Degree from Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, now named Drexel University.
The Health Benefits of Period Sex
If you need one more reason to hop on the period sex train, it actually may come with some health benefits, especially if you tend to suffer from cramps. "Many times, period sex alleviates menstrual cramps," says Dr. Dweck. "Also, orgasms can be more intense during your period, and sex drive might be higher, too."
And if you happen to be someone who practices natural birth control, your period is generally a safer time to have sex without protection. That being said, Dr. Dweck warns that getting pregnant while on your period is possible, so practice caution.
"While it is super unlikely, it is still possible to get pregnant while having sex on your period," she says. "Occasionally for those with irregular menses, ovulation might occur while bleeding is present, so if you really want to avoid pregnancy, I recommend contraception."
What to Do if You Feel Shame Around Period Sex
While learning that period sex is good for you and coming up with an action plan for no-mess period sex are all great, it won't get you very far if the idea of having period sex makes you feel uncomfortable.
If period sex just isn't your thing, don't worry about it. Dr. Dweck assures that a lot of people with periods just aren't that into it, and that's OK. But what if your resistance to period sex has less to do with preference and more to do with shame, or worrying what your partner will think? If that's the case—and if it bothers you—Dr. Dweck recommends talking to your doctor. "It's worth taking a deep dive into this with your gynecologist since education surrounding safety, risks and benefits might be enough to manage these feelings," she explains, noting that there can also be cultural influences and values people are brought up with that make them uncomfortable with period sex. In that case, consider talking to a mental health professional.
And what if your partner isn't into it, but you are? Start talking about it. "If one’s relationship is affected because of discordant views on the subject, I recommend direct and candid communication between partners and enlisting help if needed," says Dweck.
Here's to embracing period sex once and for all, with or without the mess.