Having sex on your period has some great benefits.
Period sex can be messy, but it actually has its benefits — like reduced stress and period cramps due to endorphins. If you're new to period sex or just want to brush up on the basics, we've asked sex and health experts for their top tips.
As always, get consent
Period sex can be intimidating for beginners, said sex educator and chief brand educator at CBD intimate product brand Foria Kiana Reeves. Be open and honest with your partner, and discuss which activities you're comfortable with — before you get in the bedroom.
"If you’re curious about period sex, this is a great time to open up the lines of communication with your partner," commented certified sex counselor, Dr. Alex Bertucci, doctor of physical therapy (DPT) at pelvic physical therapy service Origin. "Even if you ultimately decide to pass, one huge positive is learning to communicate better about sex."
Consent and communication are key, echoed Dr. Ashley Rawlins, DPT, another physical therapist at Origin.
Then, consider protection options. You can still get pregnant on your period, so use your preferred birth control method. It's also possible to contract an STI during period sex, so keep that in mind as well. If STIs are a concern, use a condom if your partner has a penis. If they have a vulva, Reeves recommends Lorals, latex underwear that blocks the transmission of bodily fluids and is FDA-cleared for STI protection. Dental dams are effective in preventing STIs, as well.
Dark towels, lube, and more
Especially if you and/or your partner are on a heavy day of your cycle, place dark towels down on your bed to prevent staining.
Remove tampons before penetrative sex, as it can move to a location that's too deep to retrieve later, said Rawlins — and it won't be comfortable no matter what. If you don't want to free bleed during intimacy, some internal devices like the Nixit are safe to use during penetration, the company confirmed to Mashable. Nixit is a disc; it's similar to a menstrual cup in that it's placed inside the vagina, but doesn't have a stem.
While period blood can act as natural lubrication, you may feel dry, especially if you use tampons. Have lube readily available, said Reeves. If you're using a condom, use water-based or silicone-based lube, not oil-based as that can degrade the condom. If you're using a silicone sex toy, use a water-based lube, because silicone on silicone can damage the toy.
Keep in mind that anatomy and position of your cervix change during your cycle, Bertucci said. Penetrative sex may feel different depending on where you are in your cycle, so you may want to experiment with different positions or depths.
If you're uncomfortable with penis or finger penetration during this time, explore outercourse and focus on the clitoris, said Rawlins. Should you want to go down on someone on their period, they can use an internal device or wear a pair of Lorals — or, if neither of you care, don't use either.
Post-period sex cleanup
Your usual post-coital routine should suffice on one's period, said Rawlins, because there's nothing dirty about your period. The vagina is self-cleaning, she continued, so cleaning inside the vagina not only isn't necessary, but using douches or soap internally can increase your risk of irritation or infection because it disrupts the vagina's natural bacterial balance.
For external skin, like inner thighs, use warm water and mild, unscented soap. For the inner labia and tissues of the vaginal entrance, use warm water only with your hand or a soft washcloth.
Reeves recommends taking a warm shower with your partner after sex, as it will clean you both off and act as "a nice way to continue intimacy before beginning or ending your day."
Whether you have sex on your period or not, pee after sex, commented COO and co-founder of vaginal wellness brand Cheeky Bonsai, Catherine Nguyen. Some people have an increased chance of getting a UTI on their periods, likely because of hormonal and microbiome changes, she continued. Urinating can help prevent UTIs as it "flushes" out bacteria.
Nguyen summed it up, saying, "My best tips are to just throw down a towel, remember to use cold water for any stains, and find yourself a partner who's happy to jump your bones wherever you are in your cycle."
With a few added considerations, period sex can be just as fun and intimate as sex any other time of the month.