What is period sex?
Period sex is what it says on the tin. Sex during your period. It is not any more complicated than that. Of course, period sex will introduce some new factors into the game.
The main factor is blood and there are not many ways to avoid it (although there are some). So before we go any further, if you have a fear or phobia of blood, period sex might just not be for you. However, if you do not mind blood but get freaked by period blood keep reading.
Why your period can be great for your sex life…
Sex during your period should not be any shock to anyone. People with periods can spend up to 7 days a month on their period. It should hardly shock any of us that we might want to have sex during that time. It is odd to assume that for a week every month people with periods lose all interest in sex and should just accept that. Secondly, sex can be fab on your period. Your hormone changes can actually make you more likely to want to have sex than at other points on your cycle.
My view is that if someone wants to have sex on their period they should be able to and if they do not want to then there should be no pressure to do so. It is as simple as that. However, if you are not having period sex because of external pressures then that is something we can question together. A great way to start, can be spending time reflecting and asking yourself, is this my feelings and decisions or someone else’s. What is it about period sex that is freaking me out? Am I worried about my partners reaction? Is it feeling self-conscious about myself? Is it that I find periods icky?
How can you address these misconceptions or fears?
There is not enough time in this blog to dive into all of this but I hope to plant some seeds of thought that you can explore yourself.
A key and to me a really important way of understanding more about your attitudes to sex is communication. Either with yourself or your partner. If you are worried of your partners reaction, express that to them. It does not have to happen right away or as bluntly as you might think. Ask about their thoughts on periods in general to get an initial insight. Write them a letter. Send them a text. Communication can be tricky, especially when it comes to sex. It is important to remember that communication (although clear for both) can be in whatever form works best for you so do not feel like you have to set an agenda style meeting. Do what works. Mhairi and Alison dive into period sex in their latest episode of the Time of the Week Podcast- listen here.
Tips for coping with the mess of period sex….
If your fear or barrier is the mess then lets chat blood. I am not going to deny that there is a chance period sex will be slightly messy. But it probably will not be as bad as you think. Here are some tips for containing the mess if this is one of your barriers to trying it out.
- Shower sex (Caution advised): Sex in the shower can be an easy way of avoiding mess. Please be careful for slips and maybe give the shower a clean after to avoid any flat mate or house member conflict.
- Towel: The towel on the bed can be an easy way to try and avoid any bedsheet stains. Although the chances of it moving are pretty high it might provide you with a little reassurance. For lazy people like me who are thinking well now I have to wash a towel, just leave the towel and wash your sheets after (cold water to remove blood stains!)
- Menstrual discs: So we chat a lot about menstrual cups but have you heard of the disc? The disc is similar to the cup but is placed higher up your vagina at the base of the cervix. Rather than using suction it just uses gravity and pretty much blocks the blood from moving down the vagina canal. It collects blood like the cup and is emptied and reused. A selling point of the disc is that because it sits high up in the vagina near the cervix, the vagina canal is empty. This can mean you can wear it during sex- make sure to chat this through before you try and decide if it will work for you and your partner. More info here.
- Who cares attitude: The easiest way to enjoy period sex is chat, be open about your worries and the fact it could get messy and just go for it.
Lilypads disclaimer: Period sex is great, remember to still wear contraception to avoid STIs or unwanted pregnancy. Although your chance of getting pregnant is small during your period there is still a chance.
No one should be made to feel ashamed during sex on during your period and yes you guessed it during both. Too often women and people with periods are made to feel gross and our feelings are neglected. By reflecting on why we have strong feelings against period sex we can better understand the forces at play which want to control or shame our bodies. Being open, honest and clear with your sexual partners about those feelings can be great way to learn and feel more confident, whether you want period or sex or not.