Q: Is it safe to have penis-in-vagina sex while I’m on my period?
A: The brave warrior fears not the bloody battlefield! We see this question a lot and it makes us very proud of all you brave warriors out there.
BUT– there is one important thing you should know, in fact, it should become your mantra when it comes to safe sex: it’s always safest to assume that you can get pregnant every day of your cycle. It’s unlikely, but never assume that you can’t be that 1 out of 100 that does.
The Family Planning or the Rhythm Method may be a popular form of contraception, but it should never be relied on. While it’s great to know your cycle, it can vary month-to-month depending on a lot of things–stress, exercise, even the medication you’re on. One of the best ways to help yourself towards a routine cycle is by taking some forms of hormonal contraception.
Sperm can stay alive for several days inside the body. Many have shorter cycles than the average 28 days, so it is entirely possible to have sex on your period and then ovulate only a few days later, which could lead to conception.
It’s also possible to have breakthrough spotting or bleeding close to or during ovulation. Many women assume this is just just an early period. Not so. If you thought you were in the clear and had unprotected sex, you could very well be putting yourself at a very high risk for pregnancy.
Finally, while on your period, your cervix is open to let the blood flow out of your uterus, which makes it more prone to infection than at other times during your cycle. Your partner could also be especially prone to disease while in contact with your blood–the blood from the uterine lining carries a lot of bacteria. Wearing protection is especially important during these times to prevent STDs, especially HIV.
As we’ve said over and over again, condoms are the best way to prevent the spread of STDs. And no, period blood won’t rip, tear, or permeate condoms. In fact, it even works as a great natural lubricant.
So is it safe to have SAFER penis-in-vagina sex during your period? Totally. Safe and awesome.
If you don’t mind the mess, period sex can be an excellent way to relieve menstrual cramps and settle the tension brought on by PMS. The contractions your uterus has during orgasm can also flush out your unused uterine lining, making your period shorter and more bearable. Many women even report a great spike in their libido during their periods.
Here are some tips to make period sex enjoyable for you and your partner:
- Keep it clean: Doing the dirty in the shower is a great way to stay clean. If you’re afraid of slipping or would just rather keep things horizontal, make sure you have lots of towels and tissues on hand. It will get messy. Lighting some candles can help diffuse the bloody smell if you’re afraid of that ruining the mood. If using a toy during some period-based self-loving sessions, using a condom is a great way to keep clean up time to a minimum. Remember to wash anything thoroughly afterwards to prevent bacteria from spreading the next time you use it.
- Keep it safe: Not only will condoms keep both you and your partner safe from an unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of STDs/STIs, they can also help with the cleanup process. Many women also report success while using diaphragms under these circumstances.
- Don’t wear a tampon: Believe it or not, we see this question a lot. Don’t do it. It’s a terrible idea. The tampon and the penis go in the same place, so having a tampon in during sex can result in it being pushed too far into the cervix. That’ll make it very difficult and painful to remove, and can put you at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, a very serious, life-threatening illness that happens when something that shouldn’t be up there stays up there too long.
- If you’re worried about your partner’s reaction to your uterine lining, you can buy a vaginal softcap. Softcaps can be used to keep yourself clean during period sex, but they ARE NOT approved contraception so don’t rely on them like you would a diaphragm or condom.
- Don’t douche: While it may be tempting to buy a flowery-smelling douche kit from the store and attempt to make yourself somewhat clean before getting dirty, it’s actually a bad idea. Your vagina has a natural cleaning process that involves a delicate balance of chemicals, and cleaning it on your own could remove important bacteria. Studies have shown that women who douche have more health problems with their vaginas than those who don’t.
- Instead, you can clean the area around your vulva with warm water and a mild soap, just like you would in the shower. Be careful not to get soap inside, otherwise you can also run a risk of infection.
- Keep it open: It’s always important to communicate while having sex– especially about what doesn’t feel good. While you are on your period, your cervix lowers itself a little to help slough out the uterine lining, so there’s a chance that your partner could bump it with his penis. Sometimes that can be painful, so just let him know if you need to dial it back.
- It’s also very important to talk before sex and let your partner know what the situation is. Not everyone is up for period sex for obvious reasons. Some cultures and religions are even against it, so if your partner isn’t comfortable giving blood to the blood god, there’s always you-time.