Sex While Menstruating
To Love or Not To Love....that is the Question
The need for lubrication lessens during your period, and having an orgasm can soothe period-related symptoms, such as cramps. Plus, a study published in Cephalalgia concluded that sexual activity may reduce migraine and cluster headache pain for some women.
Sexual Arousal During Your Period
Dr. Shannon Chavez is a sex therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist, and an expert in all things libido-related. She explained that there are “physiological, psychological, and hormonal changes” impacting why women may be feeling more turned on during their menstrual cycle. “Women are more likely to want sex on the days around ovulation, which occurs around 12 or 14 days before your period starts”. “A woman’s libido is highest during what I describe as her fertility window, which can vary by a couple of days here and there. This usually starts anywhere from two to four days before ovulation and several days after, and is caused by a surge of the hormones that can lead to a stronger desire, especially testosterone,” Dr. Chavez explained.
This all comes back to basic biology, and the fact that we’re all wired and built for one (admittedly prehistoric) goal: Have sex, make babies, ensure survival of our species. “A surge in hormones during ovulation along with pheromones, which are chemical messengers that send out signals to attract a mate, will increase a woman’s drive for sex and desirability for a partner,” Dr Chavez said. And yes, having sex while ovulating increases your changes of getting pregnant.
Period Sex as a Pain Reliever
If you experience symptoms such as cramping, feelings of sadness, or depression during your period, having sex at this time may be beneficial. Dr. Chavez says that because orgasms release endorphins — feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine — in theory they could also decrease some period symptoms. There’s no harm in trying.
Women who have endometriosis, on the other hand, may experience more pain and other symptoms when they have their period. These women also experience pain with sexual activity or orgasm. However, treatments are available, and sex doesn’t have to hurt. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible; the earlier you speak up, the sooner you can feel better and enjoy sex again.
Less Need for Vaginal Lubrication
You’re less likely to need lubricants if you engage in intercourse during menstruation, because menstrual discharge tends to provide enough lubrication. If you do need a lubricant, then “water-based lubricants are widely available and safe both for sex and for condoms,” says ob/gyn James Simon, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Silicone and hybrid lubricants that are water-based and silicone-based are likewise safe for both sex and condoms. Oil-based lubricants, especially mineral oil-based lubricants, can deteriorate condoms — increasing the risk of breakage — and are not recommended with latex condoms,” he says.
Risk of Pregnancy During Your Period
Yes, you can get pregnant when you have your period, especially if you have a shorter menstrual cycle (21 to 24 days) and you have had sex toward the end of your period. Sperm can remain viable in your vagina for up to five days, so pregnancy is possible, and it’s important to continue to use birth control.
Infection Risk From Sex During Your Period
It’s crucial to practice safe sex while you’re having your period because you could still get or transmit an STI, like HIV, during this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus may be present in menstrual blood. Therefore, doctors strongly encourage using a condom to decrease this risk.
Anecdotally speaking, there are two reasons for this risk. “Any bodily fluid can carry HIV or [other] STIs, and [during your period], the cervix opens slightly, which might allow viruses to pass through. My message to women is you’re not off the hook as far as using protection. Read here about STI’s condoms can not prevent.
Mess Free Period Sex?
A menstrual cup can be a great, more environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and pads, but it does come with certain drawbacks. It can be a huge mess to change and women occasionally have problems with insertion and removal.
A reusable menstrual cup is not at all meant to be worn during sex because they’re thicker and more durable. It would be uncomfortable.” This kind of cup can cause abrasions and might hurt your partner also. Unless the reusable cup is marketed specifically as safe-for-sex don’t try it.
But disposable cups like SoftCup, which feel and look like heavy Saran Wrap, are fine to use during sex. These menstrual cups are more likely to move with—not against—your body.
Talk to your doctor if:
- Your periods last longer than seven days
- Your menstrual flow soaks through one or more tampons (or pads) every hour for several hours in a row
- Your periods contain blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
- You’re unusually tired or short of breath during your period