The truth about period sex

Happy couple in love lying on bed

There’s no reason why you should have to miss out on a week of sex just because you’re bleeding. In fact, having sex during your period is actually good for you and might even relieve some of your period symptoms, like cramps and migraines. We’ve put together a guide on some of the most frequently asked questions about having sex during your period.

Can you have sex on your period? Is it safe?

Yes! As long as you and your partner are both free from any STIs – including HIV – and consent (most people don’t have an issue with having sex on their period, so don’t feel self-conscious), it’s totally fine. Just remember to always practice safe sex, as you can still get pregnant and contract STIs if you have sex during your period. As long as you are taking the usual precautions, period sex is safe and there are actually a lot of benefits to having period sex (see below.)

How do I have period sex?

The same way you have sex at any other time of the month! Just make sure you’ve removed your tampon or menstrual cup first. Use a dark towel if you don’t want to stain your sheets (it also means less clean-up after) or try having sex in the shower so you can wash away any blood as it comes out.

Do I have to remove my tampon during sex?

Absolutely. Keeping a tampon in during sex is a very bad idea, as any penetration can actually push the tampon further up inside you. It can’t get “lost” (there’s nowhere for it to go), but it can make it difficult to remove. You never want to have a tampon in for more than eight hours, so if you’re approaching that time limit and you’re really struggling to get it out, seek professional help from an urgent care centre, a doctor, or go to A&E. Don’t feel embarrassed – they’ve seen it all before.

Is it safe to have sex on my period?

If you’re still practicing safe sex (using a condom, getting tested regularly), then having sex during your period is just as safe as having sex when it’s not your time of the month.

Is it gross to have sex on your period?

Having sex during your period is not more or less gross than any other kind of sex. Period blood is a bodily fluid, and there are lots of other bodily fluids already involved in sex, even when you’re not on your period. If it really bothers you, you can try having shower sex to minimise any mess.

Can you get pregnant on your period?

Yes, you can get pregnant at any time of the month. You may have heard the urban legend that you can’t get pregnant if you have sex on your period, but that’s simply not true. While you’re at a lower risk of getting pregnant if you have sex when you’re on your period as opposed to if you have sex when you’re ovulating (your most fertile time of the month), it’s still possible.

The possibility of getting pregnant is likely to be even greater for those with irregular cycles, as they might confuse spotting for their period, and end up having sex at a time when they’re actually very fertile. This is why you shouldn’t have unprotected sex on your period. Unfortunately, your period isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to contraception and safe sex, and STIs are still as much of a risk during your period as they are when you’re not menstruating.

Are there any benefits to having sex on your period?

Having sex on your period actually has lots of benefits. Firstly, menstrual blood acts as a lubricant, and there are a myriad of health benefits linked to sex on your period. Having period sex can actually help with period cramps, migraine relief, increase sex drive, and even potentially shorten your period. Given these benefits, isn’t it a shame that society has raised women to think that period sex isn’t the norm?

What are the risk factors of having sex on your period?

Aside from more mess (and depending on you and your partner’s level of comfort, it doesn’t have to be a “risk” at all), having sex during your period has the same risk of pregnancy and contracting an STI as sex when you’re not on your period, so as always, ensure you use proper protection.