Uproar ensued when it was announced that the 50 Shades of Grey director hadn’t even considered including the infamous tampon scene in the movie. People either felt outrage at the missed opportunity to embrace period sex, periods, and women’s bodies or disgust over the scene itself. These reactions reinforced the mystery surrounding period sex so today I’m pulling back the curtain to show why period sex is something to consider and how to do it effortlessly.
If you didn’t read the book, the tampon scene can be summed up in one sentence: Christian removes Anna’s tampon and has sex with her. There’s more to it than that, and the Daily Dot featured an excellent piece looking at the lack of consent in the scene, but its the period sex itself that everyone seems to be focusing on (and freaking out over).
Before I continue I want to say that I get this is a tricky topic. If you just can’t – I understand and encourage you to pop back next week or check out my latest sex toy review. If you’re on the fence, keep reading so you can see what the possibilities might be + keep an open mind. And if you are already on board and just want the tips, scroll to the end! Also, I solemnly swear
I am up to no good I will not to use the ‘m’ word (that’s moist in case you’re wondering).
History of Period Sex
In ancient/biblical/prehistoric/what-have-you times, the menstrual (moon) cycle 1 was a time for women to gather together to support, celebrate, and uplift one another. One’s period was something to celebrate, a sacred sign of fertility that connected all women throughout history. Even women who were through menopause came to these red tents to provide comfort, empathy, and pleasure. Looking to experience something similar? Check out the Woodstock Moon Lodge.
These red tents also symbolized society’s fear of women’s bodies and the menstrual cycle that continues today. In most major religious traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, there are restrictions on what women can do during their periods. For example, they cannot have sex, touch holy texts, or enter places of worship. Observance of these restrictions today depends on the specific religious community. Regardless, this history informs the idea that women on their periods are dirty, unfit, or not worthy..
No wonder we’re scared to have sex on our periods!
More recently the disgust focuses on the cleanliness factor a la, “Ewwwww bloood!” While medically-speaking this can be a concern—STIs like HIV and hepatitis can be transmitted via blood—there is nothing about period blood specifically that makes it any more or less dirty than any other bodily fluid. Yes that includes your natural lubrication and semen! As Hanna Brooks Olsen writes for The Frisky:
And if we’re being perfectly honest, sex is kind of gross when you think about how it’s two sweaty bodies bumping into each other until they both emit fluids. So…if you’re OK with sex, you should probably be OK with sex plus periods. [Source]
Benefits of Period Sex
Given this history, why would anyone want to have sex on their period? There are actually a lot of reasons including these six.
- You have extra lubrication. As I’ve written in the past, lube increases pleasure for both you and your partner. Just because you have this jumpstart, however, doesn’t mean you should skip foreplay all together. When you get aroused your body experiences many different changes that ready it for sex. 2 Giving your body enough time for these to happen is especially important for period sex because…
- Orgasms are easier + stronger. Due to both the extra lubrication and the period hormones running through your body, you may be more sensitive and feel each stroke or thrust more intensely. This not only means you should spend more time on foreplay but also that your orgasms may feel different (in a pleasurable way!).
- Orgasms = fewer cramps + a shorter period. When you have an orgasm, a few things happen. First, the muscles in and around your vagina contract rapidly. Secondly, your body releases endorphins that not only boost your mood but also provide natural pain relief. The contractions may help push things out more quickly (meaning a shorter but potentially heavier flow) while the endorphins can help relieve cramps, headaches, and a sour mood.
- You get to explore and experiment.Though sex has become synonymous with vaginal intercourse, this might not be something you or your sweetie feel like during your period. That makes it the perfect time to explore other sexy time things do you love to do? What do you want to try? Now is the perfect time!
- You satisfy your urges. You might find yourself super horny during your period (even if you’re bloated, crampy, etc). This is due to the wonderful mix of hormones coursing through your body. As long as your partner’s game, go for it. When you want it and your partner does too the sex is even sexier + feels better. As a bonus, you or your partner may be even more turned on by the fact that taboo nature of period sex.
- Its more intimate. In addition to feeling horny, many women report feeling more loving and ready to receive during their period. This can make for sexy time that is extra intimate, special, or intense in the best possible way.
Downsides to Period Sex
While the benefits of period sex are many, there are some negatives too. The good news is that all of these are super easy to take care of.
- It can be messy. ‘Nough said
- You can still get pregnant. Protection, whatever that means for you, is still important if you aren’t looking to start a family right now.
- Your risk of infection is higher. The reason for this is three-fold. First, your cervix is more open to allow blood to pass through; therefore, it is easier for bacteria and viruses to get further into your pelvic organs. Secondly, HIV and hepatitis are both blood-borne pathogens. In other words: they “travel” better in blood than the lubrication your body makes during the other weeks of the month/your cycle. Lastly, blood increases the pH of your vagina, making it less acidic.This acidity is a natural protection process (shout-out: your vagina is a wonderful self-cleaning being) and at a less acidic state means that some of that protection is lessened/compromised.
Using a condom during period sex can help with all of these. It keeps blood off your partner’s bits while protecting both of you. Win-win!
Tips for Enjoying Period Sex
You’ve made it this far (or perhaps you skipped ahead to get to the “good” stuff). You and your partner are totally on board with having period sex. What now? With a few sex hacks (like life hacks but obviously better) you can quickly be on your way to having fantastic and intimate sex.
- Discuss it with your partner. Try this: “Hey honey I was reading this article about period sex and I was wondering how you feel about that. Is it something you’d be willing to do?” Or how about this: “Did you know in 50 Shades they have period sex. How do you feel about that?” Use words you feel comfortable with and decide on your limits (maybe oral sex is out but penetration with a condom is in).
- Lay down a dark colored towel. I highly recommend the Liberator Throe. This amazing blanket absorbs fluid, is machine-washable (woot!), and has two different sides (one satin and one microfiber). There’s no need to worry about anything leaking through to your sheets or to ruin your favorite fluffy towel. Like to take a nap after sexy time? Use the Throe or keep a second towel by nearby to clean up.
- Be mindful of your position. If you’re worried about making a mess, staying on your back or your side is the best idea. For vaginal intercourse, stick with missionary or spooning. Mix it up by varying your leg positions and speed.
- Listen to your body.The general recommendation is to take it slow and gentle. Your cervix sits lower in the vagina so the risk of hitting it, something that feels either amazing or painful, is heightened. That being said, if you want it hard and fast, go for it!
- Take a shower. Feel the need to freshen up before or after sexy time? Hop in the shower! Better yet, have sex in the shower. Try it standing up or doggie style with you leaning against the wall or the side of the tub.
- Have other forms of sex. Pop in a menstrual cup or tampon or keep your panties on and pulled down or to the side. Focus on the clit or try anal play (massage, spanking, rimming, or penetration). Fantasize about what you want to be doing and share that with your sweetie. Make it all about pleasuring them.
- Use a toy! Maybe you are craving the feeling of penetration but your partner isn’t totally on board. Use a toy while your sweetie kisses, strokes, and stimulates you in other ways.
- Don’t worry about the smell. We’re actually less sensitive to tastes and smells during sex. I’m pretty sure this handy little trick of nature is the reason morning sex is so fabulous.
- Only do what you’re comfortable with. The decision to have period sex, whatever that looks like!, comes down to you and your partner. Your brain is your biggest sex organ so if either you or your partner is uncomfortable it will show. You won’t get as aroused, sex won’t feel as good, and you won’t be able to let go and fully experience freedom in pleasure. Figure out what you both are comfortable doing and give yourself permission to enjoy them. You may decide you don’t want to have period sex and that’s 100% okay too.
Period sex can be incredibly fun + intimate. Ultimately, it isn’t all that different from “regular” sex either. Olsen once again has the perfect quote:
Period sex is just like regular sex except with a little bit of a different hue to it. But the moral of the story if that if you’re into and your partner is into it, there’s no reason for you to abstain for a week while you derive pleasure solely from frozen desserts and reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy.” You’re still a human person on your period. You can still do all the human person things you enjoy. [Source]
Your Partner in Passion,
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- As you may know, women’s cycles can “sync up” if they spend a lot of time together. While this doesn’t happen as much anymore because of various hormonal birth control methods, in these times it can be assumed that communities of women would get their periods at the same time. ↩