Why Some People Are Into Period Sex
Our society has destigmatized many things over the years, but period sex isn't one of them. Fear, disgust and dirtiness have, historically and culturally, been associated with menstruation since Biblical times. In the 19th century, women were told to avoid dancing, shopping and attending parties while on their period. While norms have changed a lot since then, menstruation is somehow still considered taboo. Maybe that's part of the appeal of period sex and why it feels hot to do something that society still finds filthy.
But besides being turned on by bodily fluids, doctors have come through (for people like me) and explained the benefits of period sex for all participants. Erica Smith, a Philadelphia-based sex educator, explained that having an orgasm, or engaging in really any sexual activity, can work for relieving period cramps. “There's taboo around it but period blood isn't any ‘dirtier’ than other fluid exchanged during sex.” So she encourages people to go for it.
Other benefits of period sex can include:
Lubrication: Sex on your period means your body has an abundance of natural lubrication— just in a slightly different hue. Additionally, estrogen levels are at their highest leading up to a period, meaning the vagina is more lubricated because more cervical fluid is produced during this time. Since I'm often found reaching for the lube, I take all I can get with natural fluids. If you aren't interested in staining your bedsheets, shower sex provides an easy clean-up.
Pain relief: Cramping on your period occurs because the uterus is contracting to shed its lining—aka blood and tissue. Having an orgasm releases endorphins and oxytocin (all the good stuff) and decreases pain. Therefore, cramps are slightly relieved. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine found being sexually active mid cycle decreases levels of inflammation.
Moreover, having an orgasm is known to improve cluster headaches, according to the Journal of Neurology. As a chronic migraine sufferer, sex is one of the few activities that solves my pain, which typically occurs because my hormones are going haywire during my period.
Higher libido: Dutch researchers found that when people are on their period, they feel a surge of arousal because of the increase of genital blood flow during ovulation. A study in the Journal of Sex found that many women initiated sexual experiences while on their period, rather than waiting for a partner to approach them. Many people report feeling hornier on their period, so why repress that feeling?
Oh, period sex also just feels good.
Seattle-based sex and relationships writer, Ryn Pfeuffer, 47, explained that before her cycle begins, she craves “constant clitoral play and penetration.” She said if she can’t get it through sex, she masturbates. “I love the surge of sexual energy I experience during my period. My breasts are tender. My nipples, extra sensitive. Every physical sensation is heightened, and it feels good to connect with my body in a pleasurable way, whether it’s partnered or solo. I don’t mind making a mess,” she said.
Pfeuffer explained that she swears by all of the benefits of having an orgasm for her mental and physical health. Pleasuring herself alleviates cramps and mood swings, too.
Are you interested in taking the crimson plunge?
Some people worry about creating what looks like a crime scene during period sex. Pfeuffer’s advice? Invest in a washable blanket that absorbs liquids (which can be used for semen and other messes as well). The average amount of blood released during menstruation is only about four tablespoons. It’s a lot less blood than you may think, meaning that most of the time, your bedsheets aren’t going to end up looking like they were taken from a slaughterhouse. If you are a heavy bleeder or you're still worried about the mess, experiment with shower sex or take a hot shower afterward.
When discussing period sex with a partner, communication is key. Smith’s advice for folks is to open up a dialogue about what their thoughts are on period sex. “This is also an important time to discuss the technical aspects like safety (condoms, barrier methods) and cleanup,” she said.
For over twenty years, once a month, blood has been coming out of my vagina. It’s not gross or unnatural. I personally find that period sex is the best sex. Nevertheless, I’m aware that bloody, goopy and messy sex isn’t for everyone. We all have our limits and preferences. Call me a Biblical leper, but it'll be hell or high water before I let my own body's fluids get in the way of a climax.